Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The 10 Best Decisions a Single Can Make: Embracing All God Has for You

Bill and Pam Farrel, the authors who brought us Men Are Like Waffles—Women Are Like Spaghetti released a new book for singles this year, The 10 Best Decisions a Single Can Make: Embracing All God Has for You (Harvest House Publishers).

Instead of a “life on hold” this married couple offers 10 ways to wake up to the significance of your life and improve your relationships. Here are the chapters:

1) Decide to Be Decisive
2) Decide to Walk with Jesus
3) Decide to Celebrate
4) Decide to Live in Peace
5) Decide to Wait
6) Decide to Define Relationships
7) Decide to Live the Good Life
8) Decide to Be an Influencer
9) Decide to Be a Communicator
10) Decide to Be a Competitor

Check it out!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Peace and rest when you're tired and stressed

When you're tired or stressed, take time for peace and rest. Seriously.

Whether it's physical tiredness or an emotional marathon that's depleted you. Value rest. Take it. And feel the replenishing power of a well-rested body and soul come back to life again.

Rest isn't just laying on the couch or a comfy hammock, although it can be. Rest is ceasing from work...laying aside for a time that which you MUST, and in it's place choosing what you need.

What does rest to you? How do you get replenished?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Confidence Restored by Truth

One thing that causes lack of confidence after a breakup is a distorted perception of yourself. Sometimes, how you see yourself is fuzzy and imprecise, and often untrue.

You may think you are not enough, or you don't measure up. But maybe you need a new set of lenses from which to view your circumstances.

When I was in eighth grade I got my first pair of eyeglasses. I remember the first time I looked out the window and noticed how clearly I could distinguish each individual leaf on the trees. With the clarity the glasses provided, blurry green blobs on a stick transformed into majestic maple and oak trees.

Who'd have known?

Sometimes we don’t see ourselves clearly either. The lenses through which we’ve been viewing our lives have been distorted by the constant criticism of a parent, the degrading comments from a co-worker or by the downright mean way someone has treated you.

Jud Wilhite said, “Distorted images are not only shaping your perspective but are also hindering your possibilities.”

In Eyes Wide Open, he explains, “If you see yourself as insignificant long enough, you’ll start to act accordingly. If you see yourself as ugly or worthless, it will affect how you relate to your family and friends, your God and your world. Rather than grow and change as you could, you’ll be tempted to give in or give up or stay in a holding pattern of self-destructive behavior. Rather than make your own unique contribution in the world, you may pull back and settle for mediocrity. But this is not the real you.”

We need God’s better-than-20/20-vision to gain a clearer vision of who we really are, to come out of hiding, to be courageous, and to see ourselves as He sees us. “The real you emerges as you see differently, biblically. You see yourself in light of who God says you are in His written Word,” said Wilhite.

Plant seeds of truth and as they grow, you will be better able to take hold of your true identity—what God says about who you are.

Rooted in God’s love, you can stand firm when you feel like your self worth is being washed away by the strong winds of someone else’s unkindness or how your hair turned out that day.

When your roots go deep into the source of life, the water of God’s word you stay fresh and growing. “He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.” (Psalm 1:3)

Walk away from the mirror, and what other people say. It’s time to find your true worth and value in the truth.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mother’s Day and the Single Woman

So today is Mother’s Day. I have never been married, but how would the man in the Info Booth at church know that when he smiled and said, “Happy Mother’s Day” to me as I walked by.

Really? You think I’m a mother.

I suppose he was just being friendly, but it gave me pause to think. While my friends have been getting married and having babies, I’ve been “birthing” books. I’ve never known the joy of holding a newborn infant of my own in my arms, but I have known the thrill of opening the box of books from my publisher when my first book came out in 2007.

Power Prayers for Women (Barbour Publishing) is my firstborn. She’s grown and out of the house now. Oh, she’s doing great! In fact, more than 200,000 readers worldwide are finding help, hope and healing through the power of prayers.

My second was delivered in 2010, a helpful book on getting over a relationship breakup called, When Love Ends and the Ice Cream Carton Is Empty (Moody Publishers). She’s in that transition time of moving from infant to toddler. I pray for her as she grows. She has so much potential to transform lives!

And, I’m due October 1 with my third. Yep, it’s another book on prayer but this time on hope for hard times. Everyone has challenges and difficulties in life, and there are stories to tell, and prayers to be written. Pray that all goes well in the gestation and delivery.

I think of the hope and hardships of my close friends who’ve delivered babies, and known the sorrow of babies that never came to full term. My friend Nicole had a pre-mature baby last fall, born at 1 lb, 2 oz. So tiny! And today she is nearing 10 lbs. She is still on oxygen but we’re hopeful that will soon cease. The other baby, a twin, did not make it. She was named, buried and remembered.

Being a mother is not without heartache.

My friend Laura, now a mother of eight-year-old twins suffered the loss of her baby in the womb at eight months, almost to delivery.

Tammy was told she had a very slim chance of ever getting pregnant and today she has the cutest three-year old ever (I can say that since she in my godchild) Now she is pregnant again—and adopting internationally.

Everyone has a story…yours may or may not include motherhood with actual children. Maybe you are a “mother” in other ways. Maybe you have other callings.

Either way, God sees. He knows. And He cares about your place in life.

You still belong.

And you are still well loved.

On that, you can rely.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

After a Breakup: Restoring Confidence and Self Esteem

Some people don’t know how to get into a relationship, while others don’t know how to get out of one-—how to detach and move forward.

In relationships, learning to bond and to separate are essential skills. As you get to know another person you share more about yourself and you develop deeper levels of closeness. You connect.

Henry Cloud says that bonding is one of our most basic and foundational needs. He affirms that we are relational at our very core and God created us with a hunger for connection and relationships.

“Bonding is the ability to establish an emotional attachment to another person,” says Cloud. “It’s the ability to relate to another on the deepest level.” When we feel more connected to others, whether it’s a romantic or other kind of relationship, we are happier and healthier.

The other side of the coin is learning how to separate and keep your sense of self intact in the process, whether you are in a relationship or not. “Separateness is an important aspect of our human identity,” says Henry Cloud. “We are to be connected to others without losing our own identity and individuality…to master the art of ‘being me without losing you.’”

When you retain your sense of self and the man keeps his identity intact, you will be a better couple. In essence, when each person’s sense of “me” is solid, there is a better “we.”

For instance, think of two circles side by side—one is yellow (representing you) and the other is blue (representing the man). When a couple first meets, the circles touch on the outer limit; their lives have not yet intersected. Then as they get to know each other, the overlapping part that represents them as a couple becomes increasingly green (because yellow and blue make green).

If they marry and become one, the two circles mesh to form one circle that is entirely green. The point is, each person must retain his or her sense of self in order for a healthy couple to exist; he must keep his blue-ness she must retain her yellow-ness otherwise green won’t happen.

Don’t let your pain or your past define you. It is a part of who you are, but it’s not the entirety of what makes you the unique individual you are. Who you once were, or who you are now can be transformed as your identity comes from your security in Christ.

When your identity is rooted in the soil of God’s truth, your confidence grows.

So when you run into the guy who dumped you, or the girl he is with now, it won’t shatter your self esteem. Sure, it may shake you up a bit at first, but you bend; you don’t break.

As you learn to accept your strengths and your weaknesses, you build confidence that you are worth being loved well.