My friend locked her gaze on me. “What are you afraid of, Sarah?”

Those words threw me for a loop. For years I’d written novels. For years I’d received rejection letters. I’d just told my friend about my tortuous road to publication when she slammed me with that question.

Afraid? I wasn’t afraid.

Oh yes, I was. I was afraid of another rejection. I was afraid I’d get published and disappoint my publisher and readers. I was afraid I’d misheard God’s voice and was on the wrong road altogether.

The world is a scary place. Current events, illness, and family crises cause enough fears, but on top of that, God asks us to do scary things. Spread the gospel to the farthest corners of the world. Teach Sunday school. Care for the widows and orphans and homeless and immigrants.

Fear is a natural emotion, but if we don’t counter it with God’s truth, it can cripple us and keep us from the life the Lord intends for us. We need to step out, despite our fears. God can use our quivering fingers and quavering voices, but He can’t use our frozen feet.

After my conversation with my friend, I acted. Although my hands still trembled, I prayerfully submitted my novel to yet another publisher. That publisher gave me my first three-book contract.

When you feel fear’s clammy tentacles writhe inside, analyze your fears. Then take those concerns to God and trust His promises.

Now, go out there and live the life God intended for you.

“For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline” (2 Timothy 1:7).

Sarah Sundin is a bestselling author of World War II novels, including The Sea Before Us and The Sky Above Us. Her novels When Tides Turn and Through Waters Deep were named to Booklist’s “101 Best Romance Novels of the Last 10 Years.” A mother of three, Sarah lives in California. www.sarahsundin.com.

 

 

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Excerpt from Christmas Charity by Susan G Mathis

“I heard you were newlyweds from Canada. From Wolfe Island? It’s a mighty lot to adjust to, that’s for sure. But how’s you doing, dearie?”

Susan bit her lip and studied Mabel. Could she trust her, this stranger? Susan needed to talk with someone, especially since her mama wasn’t here. “It’s … all so sudden. Patrick is a good and kind man, but …” She looked toward the door and sighed. “I’m sure I’ll adjust … with time.”

Mabel took Susan’s hand in her tiny, wrinkled ones. “Change ain’t easy, I’ll give you that. But you can nudge it in the right direction. Charity is what you need, dearie. God’s love for that spitfire of a girl. I ’spect she be hurtin’ a mighty bit with all the goin’s on. She’s a child sneaking her way to womanhood I ’spect. You be a woman who must guide her along the path with a strong dose of charity.”

“That’s what my mama said. Not quite in those words.” Susan smiled and swiped a tear that had leaked out.

“We old folk knows such things. We’ve tried and failed many a time afore learnin’ the way. You’ll learn to, in time. But I feel in my bones that charity is the tool you need to use to crack that hard shell your girlie has formed around herself. What happened to her mother?”

“Died of pneumonia when Lizzy was seven, short of four years ago. Patrick and her had several stillborns and miscarriages before Lizzy came along, so Patrick …” Her words trailed off.

Mabel finished her thought. “Spoils her.” She grinned as Susan shrugged. “I could see it in her eyes the minute she cast her icy glare at ya.” Mabel chuckled. “She be a stubborn one?”

Susan sucked in a breath and nodded. “She hates me.”

“Naw. She fears you.”

Susan’s brow furrowed and she shook her head. “She doesn’t fear anything. I, on the otherhand, fear her.”

Mabel patted her hand. “Now you just stop that right now. You’s the grownup and mustn’t fear her. She’s but a child and needs you, dearie.”

Susan countered with a furious shake of her head. “She needs her father, not me. She despises me, and my marriage to him.”

“She’s just protecting herself, afeared to let you in, afeared you’ll take her daddy, afeared that she’d be betraying her mama, afeared that if she lets you in and loves you that you’ll die like her mama. It’s just the way them babes think.” Mabel touched Susan’s cheek and tenderly gazed into her eyes stinging with tears. “Now, be puttin’ away those tears and straighten that spine and fill that heart of yours with a boatload of charity for that prickly little thing. And do not fear! God will give you victory, dearie.” Mabel grabbed a towel that was lying on the table and wiped away her tears. Like her mama would have done.

Susan G Mathis is vice president of Christian Authors Network. She’s a multi-published author of stories set in her childhood stomping ground, the beautiful Thousand Islands on the St. Lawrence River in upstate NY. Her newest novella, Christmas Charity, her first novel, The Fabric of Hope: An Irish Family Legacy, her Thousand Islands Gilded Age series, and her novellas will take you to a time and place few have gone. Susan is also author of two premarital books with her husband, Dale, two children’s picture books, seven stories in compilation books, and hundreds of published articles. Visit her at www.SusanGMathis.com.

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Here’s what the Savior has to say to you today. “Beloved, come to me, you who work so hard that you’re weary. Your responsibility and needs wear you down. However, it doesn’t cost a single cent to gain a hearing with me. You can pour out your troubles to me anytime. Tell me of your fears and sadness. My love for you is free of charge, unconditional, and everlasting.”

Today’s Bible Reading: Isaiah 50:1; Matthew 11:28-30; Hebrews 13:8

Thoughts of Monday morning carry with them negative connotations. Why? We know Monday is coming all weekend and yet we’re so bummed out when it actually arrives. Then we sluggishly move through the next four days, dreaming of Friday and the weekend when our time is our own to spend as we wish.

But, in actuality, Monday is no different from any other day of the week—at least it’s not to the Savior of the world.

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. It matters little to him that it’s Monday for us. And the great blessing comes when we invite the Lord to share our day, to walk with us, talk with us. He promises to be with us at home or at the office. We’re never alone.

And with Jesus strengthening us minute by minute, hour by hour, we’re sure to walk in confidence and peace—on Monday or whatever day of the week it happens to be.

(Excerpt from Strength for the Modern Victorian Woman, coming 2019, Steeple View Publishing, LLC.)

Andrea Kuhn Boeshaar is a Wisconsin author of over 40 books with one million copies sold. The three components in all her stories are faith, family, and forever relationships. Her latest novel is Love’s Guiding Light (Steeple View Publishing). In addition to fiction, she blogs and writes devotionals and magazine articles to encourage readers wherever they are in their spiritual journeys. For more information and to sign up for her quarterly newsletter, go to www.andreaboeshaar.com. Facebook: www.facebook.com/Andrea.Boeshaar. Twitter: @AndreaBoeshaar.

 

 

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“Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” (Matthew 6:26).

This morning I awoke to the sweet sound of birdsong. The feathered creatures seemed to be singing their praise for a new day, for sunshine just breaking through the darkness, for an ample food supply.

I wonder…am I as grateful for these and a multitude of other blessings?

The cheery chorus reminded me these little ones diligently pursue their sole responsibility—being the best winged-creatures they can be. They do not appear to worry about anything.

They don’t fret about position, problems, or power. They show no anxiety over relationships, no remorse over past failures, and no fear over what lies ahead.

We can learn much from these happy singers, just trusting God for every need.

Jesus said, “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows” (Matthew 10:31).

Our Lord cares for even these delicate creations. Yet he considers me of more value than many sparrows.

That certainly builds my self-esteem!

Dianne Barker is a speaker, radio host, and author of 11 books, including the best-selling Twice Pardoned and award-winning I Don’t Chase the Garbage Truck Down the Street in My Bathrobe Anymore! Organizing for the Maximum Life. She’s secretary of Christian Authors Network and a member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association and Christian Women in Media Association. Visit www.diannebarker.com.

 

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“Your mother is dying.”

My mind understood the doctor’s words, but my heart refused to believe them. Only a few days prior, my ninety-four-year-old mother had taken a day trip to Reno with my husband. How could she be dying?

Why now, God?

This was supposed to be the weekend I would put the final touches on my novel before sending it to my agent.

Too many circumstances in the past six months had kept me from diligently writing. Moving in with my mom after her stroke. Readying our house for sale. Packing the things of my own I wanted to keep. Thanksgiving, Christmas, visiting with my daughter’s family on their return from overseas. Stomach flu – three times in two months.

And now, this.

I was afraid.

Afraid if I don’t keep writing, my agent will drop me.

Afraid if I don’t finish my next project soon, I’ll never find a publisher.

Afraid if I don’t keep blogging and posting on social media, I will lose the tiny bit of platform I’ve gained.

Afraid to watch my mother die.

Like the song from Christian recording artist, Zach Williams, “Fear, he is a liar.”

God’s word is the truth.

“Commit your works to the Lord and your plans will be established” (Proverbs 16:3).

“For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord. Plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11).

“The mind of man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps” (Proverbs 16: 9).

Though I’m afraid and overwhelmed, God is showering me with His peace as I meditate on His word. I encourage you to “take His yoke upon you” so He can give you rest.

Jane Daly is a banker by day, blogger by night. She makes her home in Northern California with her husband of forty years and two cats. Connect with her and see her published books at www.janeSdaly.com. Check out her blog, The Caregiving Season.

 

 

 

 

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