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Fighting Battles

I know that the last million and one posts have been about books, but today is different.  This post really adheres to the reason behind the blog title, This Is Me.

We all deal with crap.  Crap that happened in our past, present crap, dog crap and otherwise.  There are days when I feel as though I am walking as the overcomer and the warrior daughter that God has created me to be, but then there are days and situations that take me back to a place that I have worked so hard to get away from.  As I sit staring out at the Atlantic Ocean during my first trip to Florida, I realize just how rough life can get.

The waves are crashing on the rocks because a storm off of the coast has stirred up them up.  The tide is high and the water is rough, but yet there is a peace in knowing and in seeing the power of God right in my face.  This has been the hardest, but also the most rewarding of years.  God has called me to trust Him in all things, but in doing that, I have had to face the struggles that still plague me.  The freaking enemy knows the exact moment when I am weak and tired and proceeds to slide the doubt, fears, and then I am right back to that teenager who doesn’t know her place.  She’s scared, hurt and doesn’t know who she can trust.  She fears being alone, yet she fears being around others.  She thinks that everyone either has an ulterior motive of will hurt her further.

As I feel these things that I haven’t felt in forever, I realize that I have not fully processed the feelings I had then.

But then, I am called back to the place I am now.  40 years old, following the calling that God has put on my life and learning how to be the woman that He created.  Learning to be healthy mind, body and soul.  So as I stand on the rocks and the water crashes in, I raise my arms up in the air and release it all to Him.  He releases the power, grace and every other gift inside of me for me to share with others.

Amen God!  Thank you for the work that needs to be done so that I can find peace, trust and rest in You

Featured

Into the Deep blog tour-Lauren Gaskill

This book is so amazing and I wanted to do a separate blog post to dive deeper into it and to share some words from the author herself from the blog tour! This book will challenge you and you will learn so much about yourself and God.

Develop enduring faith for the turbulent waters of life.
 
Following Jesus doesn’t guarantee sunny skies and smooth sailing. In fact, the waters of life are often tumultuous, crashing over us. Sometimes we can feel that we’re drowning in a sea of confusion, division, frustration, complacency, or disillusionment. We need more than a shallow faith to survive these deep waters.
 
Into the Deep is an invitation to dive headfirst into a life of courageous faith. With endearing warmth and authenticity, Lauren Gaskill shares how she and others have learned to swim with Jesus in the deep waters of life—facing challenges such as anxiety, depression, and chronic illness—only to discover a more authentic, enduring faith that cannot be shaken by circumstances. In addition to examining the character of God and the lives of women and men of the Bible who chose to dive deeper with God, she provides practical examples and tools that help us take our faith to the next level by learning to make decisions by faith alone, control our reactions to overwhelming situations, and live a life rooted in love.
 
Get ready to exchange fear and frustration for the boldness, courage, and holy confidence that lead to a life of deep faith and joy!

Lauren Gaskill is an author, speaker and host of the Finding Joy podcast and Finding Joy Ladies Night Out events. After being diagnosed with an incurable connective tissue disorder, Lauren made it her life mission to encourage others to fight for faith and find joy — no matter what life’s circumstances might bring.
 
Gaskill is a storyteller who believes stories are powerful and loves how God uses them for His good. She writes and speaks to motivate and inspire others to experience abundant life in Christ. She is particularly passionate about encouraging women to fight for faith and go deeper in their relationship with Jesus. Gaskill also writes and speaks about what it looks like to walk with Jesus through pain and suffering.
 
She lives in Raleigh, NC with her husband and Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.
 
Find her online at LaurenGaskillInspires.com or on Facebook (lauren.gaskill.inspires), Twitter (lauren_inspires) and Instagram (lauren_inspires)

http://www.abingdonpress.com/intothedeep

This is an introduction to the book: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1Er-tvmZ3o5N5F09parD0OIgvLSK5UGpH/view?usp=drivesdk

Here is a link to a special interview with Lauren about the book: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1KqZX0ld3V_AyR7JTqTPPLPdwKQKL8qld/view?usp=drivesdk

Mindset Shift Happening

This is quite a different time in history. We are all having to slow down, stay home and decide how we are going to react to everything. I have not been fearful during this time because I know where I put my trust, but I can admit that anxiety has been attempting to get me. I am not used to not being busy and always being on the go. I am used to finding places to go to fill my time. Now, I am only going out one evening a week. No, I don’t have the virus, but I have been sick on and off over the last few weeks so I have been sticking close to home. Earlier today, a major moment of anxiety hit me and I felt like I was going to jump out of my skin. I got up from the table and stepped onto my deck and I just stopped. I stared out into the backyards that all come together on my allotment and took a deep breath. I realized something. I realized that I can choose how to respond to this situation. I could run around like freakin chicken little and scream about the sky falling, or I could look at it in another way. I could see it as a shift.

My church’s word for the year is shift. I have helped launch a boom entitled Shift. God gave me the words, Renewal, Peace and Selah for this year. I am going through this amazing class about healing from my past. I am learning how to follow the call on my life to write and speak about the freedom He has given me. These are the things I need to focus on. My focus needs to be on what is right in front of me. I need to look up at Him instead of all around for the answers. Yes, being educated and taking the situation serious is crucial, but even more than that, growing more focused on God and what He is teaching me, and each of us, is paramount.

He wanted me to take this year to focus on Him, healing, writing and community. Now that the initial shock of this situation has hit and gone, it is time to stop, shift my gaze, and use the gifts that He has given me, including time to rest and renew.

Dear Wife Review

This interactive book was created by the A Wife Like Me team. It involves 26 different invitations from numerous different contributors that encourage both growth in our relationship with God and with our husbands. It includes discussion questions, prayers and activities to do on your own and with your spouse. I would recommend this book to any woman who is wanting to grow in her relationship with God and her husband. I also believe that this would be a great book for an engaged woman so that she could start finding new ways to connect with her future husband.

Chasing Vines-Beth Moore

Beth Moore hits this one out of the vineyard! I love her correlation with physical vineyards and Jesus’s description of the vine and the branches. This book is relatable to every woman at every stage of life. Her encouragement and insight make this a must read! This book will be one to read over and over again! Thank you Beth for your encouragement and for paving the way for those behind you!

Shift-Abby McDonald

This book is such a great read for anyone who is in a time of waiting or needs to shift their focus. Abby draws the reader to examine their lives through the use of her story, Biblical examples, and adjusting our lens questions at the end of each chapter. I love the quote from pages 142-143 that seem to summarize this concept. “Staying faith means continuing to work though our current situation, even when the well appears to be dry….It requires us to shift our focus from what we feel to what we know-that God has called and equipped us.”

Praying Women-Sheila Walsh

This book is a call to action! I love Sheila’s heart for prayer and her desire to see women rise up and develop into the prayer warriors God has created us to be! There are so many great takeaways from this book! On page 35, Sheila reminds us: “But the truth is, God isn’t looking for a holy place to meet with us. Because of Jesus, we are the holy place, and God is always waiting to meet with us, wherever we are.” On page 160, she states, “I wonder in those dark times if the breakthrough God is looking for is a breakthrough in us. Perhaps this is the most significant breakthrough of all.” What a book!

Get Out of Your Head Review

This is such a powerful and insightful book by Jennie Allen! She addresses the physiological, mental and spiritual side of how harmful toxic thoughts are to us. She then teaches strategies to recognize and replace those toxic thoughts with what God thinks of us. She has a way of breaking everything down to a level where we can all understand it. I can not recommend this book enough to everyone who has battled negative or toxic thoughts. I began realizing my own thought patterns right away and adjusting them to be more positive. Men, women, teenagers, everyone can relate to this book!

In Pursuit of Love Review

I read the book from start to finish in a matter of hours! It draws you in as you learn about Rebecca’s story. It has you praying, crying, and eventually celebrating. God has truly turned her life around. When she was at her lowest, she cried out to God and He was always there. I recommend this book to anyone who wants to understand the need for us to battle this issue that is affecting our cities, states and our world. It is a powerful read!

Fresh Start Bible Review

The Fresh Start Bible is a new Bible that features the New Living Translation. It is published by Gateway Publishing. I enjoyed how they put together this Bible with all of the articles, questions to encourage further study, Bible reading plans, etc. I would recommend this Bible to any new believer who is looking to begin to study the Bible in an easy to understand language. This Bible will also make a great addition to the library of people who love the NLT version.

I received this Bible from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Your New Name Review

What a great book! I love how Esther is so honest about her story and about the struggles to learn how to walk in the name God has given her. This makes it so relatable for any of us who have had trouble walking in our names. I love what she writes on page 41, “What if we put emphasis on our new names and what God has done instead of highlighting the names of our past?” This will preach to a lot of people. I recommend this book to anyone who has struggled with accepting their true names. It will open your eyes and help you accept your assignment and who God sees when He looks at you.

Try Softer Review

I love this book! It discusses an approach to anxiety and stress that is so relevant and easy for the reader to understand. Aundi uses diagrams, questions, exercises, and personal example from her life and other people to help the reader feel as though they can truly live a life free through God. One quote that I believe will speak to everyone is, “Because no matter how hard we try, we can’t hate or shame ourselves into change” (pg. 193). I recommend this book to anyone who has been trying so hard to please everyone and to please God so that they can finally realize that they need to try softer instead.