It’s My Book’s Birthday!

img_0189 It’s my book’s birthday!

A year ago, “Reclaiming Hope: Overcoming the Challenges of Parenting Foster and Adopted Children” hit the shelves. What dream-come-true that moment was!

I had spent much of a lifetime preparing for that book. Then I lived much of it for about ten years. I never planned on penning that story… but when the time came, this is the book that came out.

The story of the many ways we haven’t figured out how to do this adopting/fostering thing in a mess-free, pain-free, beautiful way… but we keep pursuing hope anyway.

I’ll be honest… while I knew that I wanted each chapter to end with hope, there were many chapters where I just plain didn’t have any. I had to dig deep. Go back to our original “why” for entering this parent-child relationship that has both exhilarated us and, at times, devastated us.

rhHundreds of people have purchased the book, either in print or kindle format. Okay, that’s not a NY Times Best Selling number, but it’s that many hundreds of people who’ve found and recovered and been encouraged by the message of hope in the book.

I’ve also been asked to speak on a number of occasions related to the topics of the book. In fact, on November 19 at 11:30 PST, I will be part of a radio talk show. You can listen in on the Independent Talk 1100 KFNX Radio station, the God and Country Show. I’ll be sharing the air with my editor and his wife (the talk show hosts), an author who recently published a fictional book on these themes, and a woman who works with Foster children in Arizona. What a gift!

God has opened many wonderful doors of opportunity, and in return, has filled my own cup with such encouragement.

Finally, since the publishing of “Reclaiming Hope,” I’ve begun five other projects. My debut picture book is due the end of THIS month (November seems to be a GREAT publishing month for me). A second picture book will be on the tail of the first. In the next week or two, my first journal, “Castle Quest Adventure Journal” will be available. Meanwhile, I’m finishing another non fiction novel while revising a young adult novel. Whew!!! The Lord has filled my heart and time with excitement for these projects.

I suppose I should mention that I’ve also been hired by a handful of people to edit and help publish their own books. Yes, more on that to come! I’m just finishing up a fantastic book by a local missionary, and about to begin editing a work that I know will be a loud voice in an industry that needs some strong voices.

If you want in on helping me choose titles, book covers, and other insider tips for my upcoming books, make sure to sign up for my newsletter and follow me on Facebook.

Happy Birthday, Reclaiming Hope!!!

From Betrayal to Healing- Keep Walking

I have the great pleasure of featuring a guest blogger today! Lynn Cherry and I are both featured authors with published chapters in “Becoming Women of Worth: Stories of Hope and Faith,” so I already know that I love her writing. Her story is powerful. And I’m so grateful that, rather than living in defeat (which, if you read her story, was a completely valid option), she has chosen to be a voice of hope, redemption, and truth. And you know I love hope! Without further ado, welcome Lynn Marie Cherry!

cherry-aI laid in bed staring at the ceiling fan, watching the spinning of the blades punctuated by the rhythm of the shadow they cast above them. Our bedroom felt enormous, vacuous space engulfing a small and shrinking me.

The fan was spinning. My head was spinning. The entire room began to rotate around me. It was hard to breathe. 

My husband and I had been to our first couples’ therapy session that day.  At the conclusion, we were each handed a survey. There was a graduate student observing our class and collecting data for his thesis. My marriage, my life had become a statistic. The form was optional, but encouraged for the sake of science.  It seemed a noble thing to do, like donating your organs.

I only remember one question on the form. In the bottom right-hand corner were the instructions, “Circle One” with two words to choose from  “Betrayed or Betrayer.”

I knew I wasn’t the Betrayer but that other word startled me. It had never occurred to me in all the years I spent coping with my husband’s use of pornography. He didn’t have an affair. He hadn’t cheated on me. He just had this porn problem, this ongoing issue that whittled away at me until I felt like a completely insignificant version of myself.

I had been betrayed.

I had been betrayed.

I had been betrayed.

With that word ringing in my ears, the Holy Spirit sorted through the file folders in my mind and pulled out a familiar phrase, “on the night he was betrayed.”  Those words spoke solidarity.

Jesus had lived this moment. He had suffered this pain. I wasn’t alone in this feeling or this experience. Jesus was right there with me.

This shared suffering sent me running to the Savior I had loved but hadn’t ever before so desperately needed. I read my Bible not because I should, but because I need a promise to carry me through each day. The Word delivered promise after promise that helped me take step after step that brought me through to the other side.

When you pass through the waters,
    I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
    they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
    you will not be burned Isaiah 43:2 NIV

Betrayal cuts deep but God heals deeper. 

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There is an other side.

There is a way through.

Put one foot in front of the other and Keep Walking.

Lynn, thank you so much for sharing this piece of your journey. This is a topic close to my heart for many reasons (one of which you can read about if our next “Becoming Women of Worth” book on sexual addictions makes it to the printer!)

Check out her newly published book, “Keep Walking: 40 Days to Hope and Freedom after Betrayal.” I know you won’t be disappointed.

cherrysbook

Broken but Worth Everything

imagescalyn33j-720x340You know those days…

Or maybe it’s the weeks or months or years.

The ones where your cracked and put-back-together self feels the spotlight shining on all of your splinters and glue.

The ones where your roughly restored edges rub up against and scrape anything within a mile radius.

The ones where you are SO AWARE of how many times you’ve been broken.

And restored.

Over and over.

jug-347327_640But with each new restoration… your ability to see your own beauty and worth fade.

All you see are the lines. The chips. The evidence that this which was once whole and perfect and unblemished… is now one more crash away from the trash bin.

Or, if it’s a good day, then from someone’s mosaic.

I’m a broken jar. I’ve been pieced back together more times than I can count. Rough edges. Chipped corners. Beautiful from only one angle. Seemingly value-less from the other angles.

But oh, how I delight in the treasure we have in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us! (2 Corinthians 4:7)

If my value rested in what is visible… oh boy.

But instead:

broken-jar

We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.

2 Corinthians 4:10-12 (emphasis mine)

Praise the Lord, oh my soul, oooooh my soul! Worship His holy name! I am not defined by my cracks or my tears or my wounds or my broken places.

NO!

I am defined by my contents.

Bandaged up as I may be, fractured as I may appear, damaged as my exterior is… it is HIS life in my jar that makes me whole.

His light that makes the scars beautiful.

His joy that overflows to water the ground around me.

You are defined by what you carry. By the purpose for which He has prepared in advance for you. Others may see only marred clay or where His light highlights the flaws.

They are blind and broken too.

It’s always, always easier to notice the crags of another’s jar than to look in the mirror and embrace our shattered-and-pasted-together selves. To notice where this piece keeps falling off and needing to be re-attached. To see the stretch marks and wrinkles and gray hair and acne and thick-whatever-we-want-thin. To see our superior attitude and prejudice and negativity and critical spirits and self righteousness and apathy and quick tempers and impatience.

We see our disfigurement and cringe, ashamed and embarrassed and afraid that it’s proof that we truly are worth as little as we feel.

It’s always easier to look the other way and point out the rifts in another’s jar.

When we submit to this “ease” of escaping our own mirrors and the pain we feel… and target the pain of others, we are SHOUTING how much we need the truth of Jesus’ love in our lives.

We paint a banner over our heads to proclaim that we are only worth the quality of our container and at least mine is better than yours. Or at least yours is the one I’m looking at so I can ignore mine.

Ah, but then how we miss the point! How we miss the beauty and the glory and the joy that is ours to take and rest in.

 Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.” 

1 Corinthians 1:26-31 (emphasis mine)

Oh friends, how we know what little boast-worthy material we have when we see our splintered jars.

But this is NOT where your value lies.

It is because of the fragility, the frailty, the weakness of our vessel that we can be strong.

Because our boasting is in the Lord!

And He is beauty. Perfection. Priceless. The Deepest, Truest Love. Justice. Mercy. Grace. Peace. Rest.

THIS is our banner.

That not even though, but because of our blemishes and imperfections, we make the perfect vessel for God’s glory.

You, sweet friend, are the perfect vessel for God’s glory.

And what could be of greater value than THAT?

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