Miracle for Jen: A Tragic Accident, a Mother’s Desperate Prayer, and Heaven’s Extraordinary Answer

Miracle for Jen A True Story by Linda Barrick

The Barrick family was your average family, and Jen was your average teenager who spent her time cheer leading, with friends and focusing on her relationship with God. After one night a tragic accident left the family injured and torn apart trying to find their way back together. Jen was left in coma, unresponsive and unsure of the possibility of her recovering. As the community pulls together in prayer miracles continue to happen for the Barrick family, while Jen struggles to hold basic conversations she has the ability to speak clearly and praise God.

Linda Barrick shares the struggles and triumphs that her family went through because of a tragic accident and how her family and community across the nation pulled together to do what God has called this family to do. This book will give you a glimpse of how what no one ever expected or how many would have blamed God challenged a family to praise Him even more.  This book is full of miracle after miracle as Jen recovers and discovers a calling and answer to prayer she could have never imagined.

I was provided this book complimentary from Tyndale Publishing in exchange for an honest book review. All opinions are my own.

-Elle

Jericho By: Trevor Morgan

This is one of my new favorite songs, I love the message behind it and wanted to share it with everyone. It is called Jericho performed by Trevor Morgan who is currently opening for Third Day and Matt Maher

 

-Elle

52 Weeks 52 Verses: He is jealous for me

“You’re cheating on God. If all you want is your own way, flirting with the world every chance you get, you end up enemies of God and his way. And do you suppose God doesn’t care? The proverb has it that “he’s a fiercely jealous lover.” And what he gives in love is far better than anything else you’ll find. It’s common knowledge that “God goes against the willful proud; God gives grace to the willing humble.”

James 4:4-6

Everyday we make a choice to focus on something other than God. We love ‘flirting with the world’ thinking about the latest Iphone, computer, car, gadget, house, the next sized television. Instead of focusing on God and keeping Him at the forefront of our mind we let the world control our thoughts. We turn the simplest things into idols, things that are not lasting, that will die when the newest version comes out in a few months and allow that to be the focus of our thoughts. Or for some maybe it’s not the latest gadgets, but the latest relationships, the newest crush, the trendiest fashion we are so quick to change our minds and turn our focus onto things that will never last. The one thing our minds should turn to is God. He is EVERLASTING. God will never go out of style, He will never need an upgrade, and He will never leave you, even when you try to flee from Him.

Our God is a jealous God. He wants all of us, not just part of us, or just on Sunday mornings at church. He wants all of us all the time. When we concentrate our thoughts on earthly things we are creating distractions that keep us from staying in close relationship with our God. We let the enemy convince us that the things of this world our better than a relationship with God, that we can put God on a back burner until the next meal time prayer or small group of 2 minute devotional reading. He is a jealous God. He wants all of us. Sometimes we tell ourselves that we are chasing after Him, but we don’t have to chase! He is already there with arms open wide. He is the one following after us, not the other way around. This week lets remember to focus on Him every chance possible and not let the world get in the way of our relationship with the Savior.

-Elle

 

52 Weeks 52 Verses: Giving into Fear

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline”

-2 Timothy 1:7

I am afraid. I fear many things, failure, starting a new job, not making friends, making friends, making the wrong choices, making an error, saying the wrong thing, being alone, being surrounded by people, not fitting in, being misunderstood, not being able to accomplish something and therefore not trying. I let my fear get to me on a regular basis, I attempt to hide that it is there, convince those around me everything is fine, but for the most part I give into my fear. I don’t push myself far enough before I let my fear get in the way and therefore do not accomplish what I want.

We were not given a spirit of fear. Although at times it feels like I was, my fear is not what defines me, God does not want me to give into my fear He wants me to conquer my fears. He does not want me to be timid. God wants me to have a spirit of power and love, of self-discipline. But fear? Nope. How many times have we heard a verse that starts with the words ‘Fear not’ or ‘Do not be afraid’ or some other alteration. This year I want to get past my fears, to face them head on and actually accomplish something. Funny thing is it makes me all the more afraid.

-Elle

Chasing Sunsets and other Random Thoughs

I love sunsets. They are one of my parts of the day, sunrise and sunset. There is just something about them, different every single day. Today I left work later than usual which allowed we to chase the sunset all the way home, you know those days where everyone is posting pictures or commenting about how beautiful the sunset once, those days where the colors are vibrant and extravagant? Today was not one of those days, today there was this subtle beauty that we can let slip by us because we are so used to looking at things and immediately have a reaction to them. Tonight was different, it was one of those sunsets that made you think that just maybe God put it right in front of you just for you to see, and that you were the only one that could see past the cloudy skies and find that quiet beauty that seems to sneak up on you when you least expect it.

I love everything about sunsets. Sometimes I am almost positive that it is one of the reasons I moved to Oklahoma, because everyday God paints a new masterpiece in the morning and at night as a reminder of His power. Oklahoma sunrises and sunsets were definitely a factor to me moving to this state. So was the wind. And trains. I love the sound of trains, and although people hate getting stuck at railroad crossings, I only hate it when I am not in the car closest to the tracks, I love watching the trains go by.

The wind takes its place with sunsets, ever since I was a kid I associated the wind with God. It was always a gentle reminder that He was there with me, in the gentle breeze, or the powerful winds of a thunderstorm. The wind was my reminder that God was always with me. I hear many complaints about the wind, and occasionally I may agree but secretly I just want to stand in the wind and feel God’s love wrap around me and remind me that He is always present in the strong storms, the gentle breezes, and every morning and evening when I watch the sun rise and fall on a new day
-Elle

Hanging out in a holding pattern

“Waiting can paralyze us. It can cause us to do nothing until our hopes are realized, or until it’s clear that it won’t be. But I want to be like Abraham, who was actually strengthened as he waited, because he chose to believe God’s promises. He and Sarah waited 100 years for a son. But they trusted God’s plan, because His plan is trustworthy.”

I went to e-mail this article to a friend this morning, since we have a habit of sharing articles about being Christian and Single only to remember she is no longer single, so instead I am going to share it with all of you.

Singleness and Contentment

“So don’t fight against waiting. It’s a tool God uses to grow our character.”

Sometimes I hate waiting…ok Most of the time I hate waiting, we are so spoiled (at least I am) in getting what we want immediately. I want to watch my favorite show when I can’t sleep at 3 am No problem that’s what DVR’s are for! (Not that I would even know how to use one) Hungry and not in the mood to cook? Fast food here I come? Microwaves meals? Text Messages? E-mail? Everything is so easy for us especially in the United States, everything is given to us in a form to have it on the go, we want immediacy so when the time comes to wait and wait and wait we get antsy we don’t know what to do and don’t care  to learn anything during the process.

I spent my last two years applying to a new job, and applying and applying and every few months I would get an interview and go back to applying. It frustrated me beyond belief, I got to the where I felt stuck that maybe the job I was in was the only thing I would get, that I would be the one to fail, stuck in the dead-end job instead of taking the time like I should have and learned and listened for what God was teaching me during that time.

There’s still other things I wait for and in those moments I want to also be strengthened like Abraham during the wait. I need to look past how long it’s been since I started waiting, and embrace this time and season. Ok so waiting might mean I’m the only single bridesmaid…again, but right now I am alright with that. God knows my hearts desires, He knows and has plans beyond what I could even imagine.

So for now I wait. And I learn. And I share and connect with others. I know I am not the only one that feels I am constantly waiting, but maybe I can use what I learn as part as my ministry as a way to connect with others and build stronger relationships.

-Elle

Quit Going to Church By: Bob Hostetler

Bob Hostetler has startled us all with his latest title ‘Quit Going to Church’ don’t be thrown off by the title though, this book will take your beliefs to a new level. Those nicely packaged ideas and beliefs of what you should and should not do will be turned on its side and emptied out through each chapter. Just like the title, each chapter will give you a shock and sometimes make you apprehensive to continue reading, do not let that be a reason to stop you. With chapters titled Quit Going to Church, Quit Volunteering, Quit being Nice, and Quit Enjoying the Worship you will be challenged in each chapter realizing that we have allowed culture to define Christianity and fallen into a habit of how we believe we are supposed to act.

Hostetler tackles each chapter head on, you will laugh at his wit and humor that is thrown in the most unlikely places, be convicted realizing you’ve let yourself turn your faith into a habit, and grow in your faith because of this book. Hostetler uses scripture to support each statement and turns to the Bible to answer questions. Hostetler approaches each chapter sharing his own stories and experiences and shares ways to help us refocus and turn our eyes onto the Jesus of the Bible, not the Jesus we have squished into a box to fit into what we want Him to be. This is a very informative read that you will find relatable without feeling condemned. I highly recommend ‘Quit Going to Church’

-Elle

This book was provided to me complimentary from the author in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

52 Weeks 52 Verses: God cares about me

“If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think He’ll attend to you, take pride in you, and do His best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way He works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how He works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.

Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes”

-Matthew 6:30-34, The Message

I don’t know if I really have a reason behind choosing this verse, it truly speaks for itself and the point where I find myself in most of the time, wondering why God would be concerned with me, or why He would ever take pride in me? It baffles me. But I know He will always take care of me.

 

-Elle

When are we called to lead?: 1 Peter Graduated Blog Tour Week 9

It’s been 9 weeks since starting this inductive Bible Study on 1 Peter by Sue Edwards, and wow have I learned a lot. Sometimes we get so caught up in our lives and what we have to get done that we read the Bible to check it off our list, to get another thing done and don’t think twice about. This Bible study has reminded me to slow down and really consider what we are being taught, and how to apply them to our lives daily.

Week 9 covers the final chapter of 1 Peter, chapter 5 which is aimed at speaking to the elders and the young people, and also touches a lot on leadership and how one can help the other.

I feel that very often we hear about leadership, we’re asked to step up into a position, to become a leader, to help out those younger than us. Sometimes I feel the church (I use this term loosely, and refer more to is always searching for leaders to take on more responsibility, to be a role model to the younger generations.

I often forget that sometimes being asked to lead does not mean I should say yes, that sometimes I am just not read to lead, or God is does not want me to lead at the time, or in that position. Sometimes we get over our heads and lead because it sounds like a good opportunity or we like to be in charge, or we feel obligated too but when asked we need to take a step back and prayerfully consider each opportunity, and sometimes as Patsy Clairmont likes to put it we need to respond with a ‘Holy No.’ A no we cannot do that at this time.

1 Peter 5:2-3 reminds us that being a leader does not give us the right to lord over others, but its to set an example.

“Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve;  not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.”

 

This is an especially hard lesson for me, I’m not very good at saying no. And by not very good I mean not at all. I don’t like disappointing others, I want people to know they can count on me, but sometimes saying yes is detrimental to not only myself spiritually but also to those I am leading. So before saying yes, take a step back and consider where God is leading you, and if what you are being asked is in His plans for you.

-Elle

 

The 1 Peter: Finding Encouragement in Troubling Times was provided to me complimentary from Kregel Publishing in exchange for an honest review. This is an inductive Bible Study by Sue Edwards.

What is the big picture?: 1 Peter Graduated Blog Tour Week 8

“Our live are a breath; eternity forever. Seeing life this way affects everything, especially when we are saddled with struggles and trials.”

 

“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins”

1 Peter 4:8

I am not always loving. Especially when I am struggling, during those times I am not someone you would want to be around. These past two weeks have been tough, questioning a lot of decisions I made and if it was what I should have done, questioning where I am headed and during it all I have been less than loving. More so I have been selfish and frustrating. I have been quick to become annoyed and frustrated.

Peter reminds us where to keep our focus, and it is not on these stumbling blocks we encounter through our week, or even what we believe to be huge trials and tribulations, those are not where our focus should be I am probably one of the worst to let little things distract me, to let negativity run my life, Peter calls us to see the bigger picture, to focus on kingdom purpose and to glorify God with everything we do, with every moment we have, with every thought that goes through our head. In every moment we should glorify God and bring honor to Him in every situation.

-Elle

The 1 Peter: Finding Encouragement in Troubling Times was provided to me complimentary from Kregel Publishing in exchange for an honest review. This is an inductive Bible Study by Sue Edwards which I will be going through for the next week