What Does A Hollywood Producer Do? (And, I’m Giving Away A Book I Can’t Put Down!)

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Like most of you, I wear quite a few different hats. One of my favorites is that of producer.

People often ask me what it’s like to wear the producer hat and what exactly it is that producers in Hollywood do, so I thought I would share a little bit about that today since I don’t talk about it very often!

I became a producer by choice and Providence and largely in part because I married a man who was married to Hollywood before he tied the knot with me.

My husband, Guy, is passionate about everything to do with TV and Feature Films. It’s in his soul. So naturally, that rubbed off on me. As an English major and former literature teacher, nothing gets my motor running more than an epic story. It became a natural decision to put our heads together and form a production company. Long story short, it became clear that being partners in marriage and partners in parenting would set us for success as partners in our life’s work as well.

You can read more about those details here in this post from Heather MacFadyen at God Centered Mom!

We started our company, Storehouse Media Group, about three years ago and hit the ground running creating shows that we wanted to watch and that we felt would have a wide appeal to audiences while also honoring God and inspiring others.  We feel sort of like unsponsored missionaries so we aren’t shy about pleading with anyone and everyone who will partner with us in prayer to be a force for Truth and the love of God in Hollywood!

Leslie Leyland Fields and Amber Lia

So what does it mean to be a producer? What do we actually do?

Producers, produce! That’s what we do. We take an idea and see it through to the end, overseeing every detail of how a TV show or film comes together. It involves hundreds of talented people who excel in what they do whether its scouting for a perfect location to film or working on contracts to make certain every “t” is crossed.  Producers are visionaries and detail-oriented leaders. They persuade people to team with them and make sure that every person, place, and thing fits under the umbrella of the vision and purpose of each project. Good producers are great with people, studious decision-makers, and careful at negotiating.

Here’s an example of one of our 20 or so projects currently in development:

Some years ago now, I was introduced to a brilliant best-selling writer, Tricia Goyer, who had dozens of novels under her belt.  We talked on the phone and instantly hit it off.

Eventually, that led to gaining the options–temporary rights to develop, sell, produce, and distribute a project based on existing material-in this case, about 15 of her novels!  The bonus for me and Guy is that we also gained dear friends in Tricia and John!  We consider them family!

John and Tricia Goyer

I’ll skip about 2,000 other steps between that process and the fun part-attaching an amazing writing team to develop a one hour family and faith-friendly drama around Tricia’s Big Sky book series. Guy and I knew that we wanted to work with some celebrated writers who understood the faith audience. Enter, Brian Bird (Hallmark’s When Calls The Heart, Captive) and John Wierick (When Calls The Heart, Step by Step).  These guys are some of the best writers in the industry and they too have become fast friends!

Brian, John, Guy, and Amber

After nearly a year of writing, notes, adjustments, meetings, and pitches (meetings where we present our projects) to major studios, we were able to attach both Sony Pictures Television and Walden Media to produce the show with us! That means they are willing to put up financing and all the weight of their award-winning experience and vast resources to make this show happen. That’s a big deal and we couldn’t be more excited that they also see the vision and widespread potential for this show!

At this stage, we are meeting with the heads of Sony and Walden to fine tune our presentation of Big Sky so that we can pitch it to networks-the gatekeepers of what goes on air and into your homes! This past week, we had a brainstorming session that involved 8 executives and writers! Guy and I thrive on the energy and collaboration that happens at these sessions!

Meanwhile, we have begun to think about casting and are starting to make lists of names that include our favorites for the many roles this show will offer-this is the really fun part!  Because music is a central aspect of this show, we listen to musicians and go backstage to meet them at concerts. Also the fun part.

Once a show is picked up by a network, we hit the ground running to audition cast, approve locations, manage budgets, evaluate costuming, tweak scripts, talk to marketing gurus, and eat too much craft services food.

The flip side of the coin is that you can work for years to develop a show and have it die a sad and painful death in the blink of an eye for any number of factors. And that is why I am constantly asking YOU all to pray!!

I’ll go ahead and beg you to do so now. I’ll wait. :)

We will be setting meetings for Big Sky over the summer months, so keep the prayers coming!

Meanwhile, the amazing Tricia Goyer continues to faithfully pump out new books every year. In July, her newest book, Prayers That Changed History becomes available! I got my hands on a copy early and even though it’s for the kids, I CAN’T PUT IT DOWN! It’s becoming a favorite!

Prayers That Changed History

AND, I am giving away a copy to one of YOU!!  Who wants it?

Just leave a comment and tell me which of Tricia’s books is your favorite, or tell me a little bit about the reading habits of your family-or even your prayers for me and my husband as we seek to spread the light of Truth in Hollywood, and I will enter your name in the contest!

I’ll draw a name randomly on Sunday, July 5th and notify the winner on my Mother Of Knights Facebook Page on Monday morning! Good luck! Don’t forget to share this post with your friends who would be willing to pray for us!

WINNER! There were so many entries that I decided to pick TWO! Congratulations to Loraine N. and Sara Merry! You both are our WINNERS! I have emailed them both and will wait a few days for a response, otherwise, we will choose a new name. Hope you enjoy the book, Ladies!!

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When Sibling Rivalry And Messy Rooms Threaten To Push You Over The Edge This Summer

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When Sibling Rivalry And Messy Rooms Threaten To Push You Over The Edge This Summer

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12

Anger is meant to remind us whose side of the spiritual battle we are on. It is a gift from God, that we would feel deep indignation towards the wrongs of the world-slavery, murder, thievery, destructive gossip, outright defiance towards Godly things, and sexual immorality. And it is meant to motivate us to run hard after all that is good and pure and lovely and to combat the wrongs in the world with all that is right.

What anger is not meant to do is be personalized.

We should feel anger when we see sin in the world and being lived out in the lives around us and we should be filled with humility and repentance when we recognize sin in ourselves. But anger over not having “our way” in life or with our kids is anything but righteous. It’s pride.

Save your anger for the “big stuff” that pollutes God’s design for righteous living in this world. Reserve your anger for those who suffer mercilessly at the hand of evil in the world around you. Go ahead and seethe over the news of that broken family whose mother has been sleeping around and whose kids are now bleeding from a broken heart. Rail against the man who dares to sell drugs to your pastor’s son and your neighbor’s 6th grader. And furthermore, may it move you to action to champion the poor, the mistreated, the enslaved, and the downtrodden.

May it never be wasted over dirty socks on the floor or a mouthy teen. May our anger never explode because an immature 3-year-old won’t eat his vegetables. Let us never sin in our anger over being late to school or become bitter because our husbands don’t help with the dishes. Let’s not be angry because of homework.

Perhaps, our anger is magnified because our perspectives are microscopic.

Pop the bubble of your own ideals for life and self-interested desires for what your kids or your home should like today, and consider that you are not a sex slave, or meeting underground for a Bible study in a dank room lit by candles, or searching for your missing teen amongst drug lords.

Let’s shift our anger to gratitude for all the good and ease with which we live life compared to the outright tragedy of rampant sin in the world today and let’s reposition our perspectives to combat that same permeating darkness by honoring God with our own lives well-lived. Let’s not rub shoulders with the forces of evil by yelling at our kids over sibling rivalry and giving Satan ground in our own homes. There’s far too much darkness in the world already.

Get good and angry over the sin of the world. But there’s no place for sinful anger in the home of a Christ-follower.

Your kids are gifts who are apprentices under your master teaching. They need loving guidance and wise instruction-not angry moms. Don’t think for a second that God is naïve enough to send you into battle unarmed and ill-equipped. Call on the Holy Spirit to help you today and do the good that is set before you. It will often look like a calm response to an angry tantrum. It will require setting aside dinner to talk with your teenager and tell them that even if they “don’t want to talk about it,” that you care. It may very well mean denying yourself the luxury of a break so that when your husband comes home, you offer him some rest. And it will probably look a lot like time in God’s Word, being filled every hour by His love and grace so that as you pour out, you never run on empty. But may we never underestimate the effectiveness of defeating darkness in the world as a whole by scattering it within our own homes.

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:21

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. Matthew 5:14-16

Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. James 1:19-20

But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Galatians 3:8

My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.  And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked. 1 John 2:1-6

For at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light. Ephesians 5:8

 

YOUR TURN! What circumstances in the world cause you the most righteous anger? Is there something troubling you-how can I pray for you today?

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This List Is Changing Our Family’s Lives, Why You Should Make One Too!

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This List Is Changing Our Family's Lives, Why You Should Make One Too

Ever feel like you were created for MORE in your life?

Is there a personal area of your life that you feel is stagnant and that you are not living up to your God-given potential?

Have you ever thought about what it would be like to take your family on a missions trip together-building houses for the poor in Mexico or digging jiggers out of the feet of Ugandan children?

What would be your dream vacation or your ideal staycation?

Do you have good intentions to do charity work but never seem to actually follow through?

Are there some God-sized dreams you have always imagined for your life that you think may remain dreams instead of reality? I sure did.

As a planner, I tend to put many of my ideas and thoughts into action, but they sometimes lack purpose and drive. My boys are growing up quickly and I am beginning to realize that if we want to live the full life that God has given us and live up to our potential, then we need to be intentional about it. I don’t want to ignore the Holy Spirit’s leading in my life either and I wonder how many times I have missed out on blessings because I simply didn’t act on those promptings.

My husband and I recently began compiling a personal and family life goal list after reading Mark Batterson’s The Circle Maker. I love lists in general.  I even had custom stickers with lists and little check mark boxes made to fit into my daily planner! But still, I wanted to be more in tune with the desires that God has put on our hearts and writing them down has become both a vibrant prayer request list and a way for us to move towards achieving some of our God-given desires and goals.

The categories are broad, ranging from “fun” activities to ministry goals. Like Batterson says in his book, we prioritize them according to our means and through God’s leading, so giving a car to someone in need may very well trump a trip to Atlantis!

I want to share just some of the items on our list to inspire you. As Guy and I wrote these out, we prayed over them and continue to do so as we add more or make adjustments but we can already see the impact that compiling a family life goal list is having on our spiritual lives. And some of the items are stretching us in BIG ways, so we have to be prepared to step out of our comfort zones!

Two days after I wrote down my goal of speaking at an entertainment industry event on a guest panel, I was invited to do just that. Sure enough, that event happened this week, and I believe that God was honored by what I had to share with the audience. Even though it challenged me and was a little scary, I felt the confidence to say “yes” because I knew that God has placed the desire on my heart and then opened the door for me to walk through.

One of Guy’s personal goals was to compete in some form of a race or mud run twice a year. When we came across a discount on a local mud run last month, we signed him up and cheered him on as he completed his first grueling race! In this situation too, there was good reason to back out. The day of the event fell on the same day as a fun activity I planned to attend with some girlfriends-a rarity for me. Even though Guy encouraged me to go, I knew that this life goal was more important. It was an easy decision for me to pass on my activity so I could support my husband’s goals.

Although we just started compiling this list this year, we already have plans in place and are working towards many of these goals so that they can become reality. We feel strongly that God places desires on our hearts and though we are always willing to yield and adjust our thinking to the Lord’s plans, we are dreaming big because we have faith that God is able to do exceedingly and abundantly beyond all we could ask or imagine!

“and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.” (Epehsians 3:19-21)

There is something about thinking through, praying through, and then following through that makes all the difference!

I hope you will consider compiling your own life goal list and pray over what God might have in store for your life and for your family. Here are a handful of the life goals that Guy and I have compiled. Some of them have already been achieved or are ongoing on a yearly basis:

(G=Guy, A=Amber)

FAMILY GOALS:

Take each child on a mission’s trip.

Build a beach cottage.

Take each of the boys on a 12-year-old covenant trip. (G)

Foster a sport or instrument for each boy.

Live for a year abroad in Europe with our kids. Twice.

Give each child a pet when they enter first grade.

Bring our kids on set for every project we produce.

Use our home as the hub for building friendships and showing hospitality to school and church families at least once a month.

Create new family traditions for the holidays.

 

INFLUENCE GOALS:

Let missionaries use our home.

Make Feature Films consistently.

Make TV shows that break season records.

Abolish foster care-through a local TV show nationwide.

Host a massive banquet with all the bells and whistles for the homeless.

Give away a car to a young person in need.

Speak on anger at workshops.(A)

Be nominated for an Emmy.

Be nominated for an Academy Award.

Dedicate 1-2 bedrooms in our custom built home for a person/family in need.            

Publish multiple books. (A)

Take orphans to the beach.

Participate in an industry Q&A together. (G&A)- DONE

Host and plan a retreat by the beach for women. (A)

Speak to a group of single women/girls about marriage. (G&A)

Teach a class at The Master’s College. (A)

Start an internship for college grads going into faith entertainment.

Reach 1 million followers on social media. (A)

Be a filmmaker/TV producer consistently for the rest of my life. (G)

Host a summer camp for inner city kids.

Create a recreation center for homeless kids with an emphasis on the arts. (G)

Foster/Adopt children-possibly classmates of our kids who will need a home.

 

EXPERIENTIAL GOALS:

Take our grandchildren to Disneyland.

Have high tea in London with 3 or 4 of my best girlfriends. (A)

Go horseback riding as a family.

Take a catamaran/sailing trip with the boys.

Go snowboarding as a family.

Take my future DIL’s on a trip to Kleinfeld’s in NY to buy their wedding veils/shoes etc and use it as a time to tie heart strings. (A)

Attend a Broadway play as a family.

Go on Dancing With The Stars. (A)

Take an epic family portrait.

Host a Lia family reunion on a cruise.

Be room mom for one year for each boy.(A)

Send Amber on a week-long spa trip. (G)

Ride the train to Santa Barbara and go to the zoo as a family.

 

PHYSICAL GOALS:

Bike across Iowa farmland. (G)

Lose 40 lbs by age 41. (A)

Participate in 2 adventure races per year. (G)

Learn jazz drums. (G)

Go ice climbing. (G)

Run/Walk/Hike 3-5 times a week with our dog, Rosey. (A)

 

FINANCIAL GOALS:

Pay for the boys’ honeymoons.

Tithe more than 10% every month of our lives.

Donate 10,000 plus to Children’s Hospital L.A.

Leave an inheritance for our kids.

Provide down payments for each of the boys’ homes.

Be debt free by age 60.

Give away a majority of our income to the poor.

 

TRAVEL GOALS:

Visit ancestors/heritage in Sweden.

Visit ancestors/heritage in Italy.

Visit ancestors/heritage in Ireland.

Take the family on a 3 day white water rafting/camping trip.

Take family to Atlantis Resort.

Take a family Disney cruise.

Spend a family Thanksgiving at the bottom of The Grand Canyon.

Stay at Ahwanee Hotel in Yosemite with family.

Take a family vacation on a dude ranch.

Sierra hike with the boys.

Take boys on a tour of the South.

Take boys to Iguazu Falls, Argentina where we got engaged.

Take a family sailing trip to the BVI’s.

Take an anniversary barge trip through France. (G&A)

Take our kids on safari.

Visit Prince Edward Island.

 

YOUR TURN! What are some of your life goals? What goals have you already achieved?

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This post contains an affiliate link and when you make a purchase through the link, my ministry gets a few cents from your purchase with no extra charge to you! Thank you!

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Need Advice? Let’s Talk On The Phone!

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 Phone Amber For Advice

There have been stages of my life where I simply didn’t know who to turn to for help.

Yes, I turned to God, but I also knew that God gave us community to help us grow and give sound advice from Biblical insight. I simply needed to call a wise friend who might know the answer to my issues. Sometimes, embarrassment kept me from reaching out, but at other times, I simply didn’t have that person in my circle of friends or family that I felt could speak to my problem. Often, I needed an objective opinion.

If this sounds a little bit like you, then I want to help.

Scripture affirms the benefits of wise advice. Here’s what the Bible says:

Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety. Proverbs 11:14

For by wise guidance you can wage your war, and in abundance of counselors there is victory. Proverbs 24:6

Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future. Proverbs 19:20

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. Ephesians 4:29

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work. 1 Timothy 3:16-17

Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future. Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand. Proverbs 19:20-21

Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2

I have been informally counseling and leading thousands of women in an online support group for moms who struggle with anger for the past year, and every week I lead a group of 10 women through the Bible in my home. I spent 10 years mentoring teens and I love to help those whom the Lord puts in my path online. I often receive emails and messages from women who need advice about parenting, friendships, marital issues, or their personal spiritual walk.

Over the last year, I have selectively reached out via phone to talk them through their concerns and give them my perspective and encouragement from God’s Word. Here is one testimonial:

“My family has been truly blessed through Amber’s ministry. I came across a posting from her blog (Mother of Knights) during a time of many struggles with my son. The Lord impressed upon my heart to reach out to Amber and ask for some mothering advice grounded in the truth of Scripture. Through our phone conversation I was able to ask her specific and practical questions. She helped me think through what parenting and mothering tools might be most effective in guiding my son in God’s truth. I am so thankful for Amber’s heart for moms and their precious children. She continues to encourage me and turn my heart toward the Lord instead of becoming discouraged in the midst of parenting.” -Carol, Northern California

Another mom recently wrote this to me after our phone call:

“Just wanted to say THANK YOU for the advice and encouragement yesterday! I spoke with Amber over the phone through the Phone Amber For Advice program and she was such an encouragement to my heart. We discussed discipline, encouraging our boys, even family planning! Can’t wait to put some of her suggestions into practice. Thanks for being such an encouragement to moms.” -Megan

I see the need increasing and it is an area close to my heart. I am not a doctor or a licensed therapist but I do have a minor in theology and have read the Bible from cover to cover a dozen times in the last 15 years. I have teaching experience that covered more than a decade for all ages-from preschool through college level seniors in high school. I have a Master’s Degree in Leadership and Educational Administration.  I am a passionate Christ-follower and I believe that informally counseling women is one of my God-given gifts and I rely on the Holy Spirit to equip me.  I often feel a longing to be a more accessible and to encourage women.  For the last year, I have been praying about opening up the opportunity to women who desire some informal mentoring or advice.

I have sensed that the time is now.

Here’s how it will work and what I am offering:

For a small fee of $45.00 (via Paypal), you will be able to set an appointment with me to talk on the phone for 2 sessions:

  • The first call will be 45 minutes.
  •  Prior to our call, I will send you a brief questionnaire to fill out in order to prepare me for our conversation so that I can give you Biblical insights and practical tools for your specific need.
  • A few days after our first call, I will follow up with another 15 minute phone call to evaluate how things are going and to encourage you and pray with you.

What do you think? Want to talk? Be encouraged? Find out how to improve your relationships? Figure out some solid parenting tools for your unique child?  Get rid of anger and yelling in your home? Determine how to get your joy back? Get a Christian perspective on a choice you are making? Have questions about blogging? Or being a work-at-home mom? Wondering about dating life as a single?

I am praying over this whole process so that God will be honored in every interaction that we have. I can’t wait to hear your heart and talk with you!

To set an appointment, email Amber at: Amber@StorehouseMediaGroup.org.

 

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Sea Serpent, Going Beyond Memorizing Bible Verses With Kids & A Free Study Guide!

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 Sea Serpent

Recently, I was thinking about ways I could get my little guys to think more visually about the Bible verses we are learning. After reading 1 Peter 5:8, I wrote this poem as a visual so that they could understand our need to be alert to temptation and our enemy’s desire to devour us. The good news is that the devil is “like” a lion, but he is only a deceiver. Jesus is the TRUE Lion of Judah and He gives us victory!

Share this poem with your kids and see if they can draw a mental picture of these “fish” and which one they would want to be! Older kids can identify rhetorical devices that are used and how they add emphasis and clarity to the meaning of the verse. Enjoy!

SEA SERPENT

Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a
roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8

Bobbing along without a care
taking up space in the brook
the lure is cast
the enemy fast
devouring with barely a look.

Floating above all is well
breezing atop the stream
the lure is cast
the enemy fast
engulfing his prey in dream.

Coasting languid unaware
wafting within the canal
the lure is cast
the enemy fast
gorging indeed he shall.

Drifting down in peaceful rest
coursing down the river
the lure is cast
the enemy fast
gulping with evil shiver.

Surging upstream eyes alert
pursuing the valley-pond shelter
the lure is cast
the enemy fast
left empty to try for another.

 

May all of us be like the fish in the final stanza, eyes alert as we pursue the path that God has set before us and may we escape the serpent’s pursuit, growing spiritually as passionate Christ-followers!

STUDY QUESTIONS:

Who are the fish in each of these stanzas?

Who is the enemy?

Identify the words that describe the way the fish are swimming.

What rhetorical devices are used in this poem and what is the effect?

What does 1 Peter reveal to us about the Devil?

How can a young person or an adult stay alert?

Why does the Devil want to devour us?

What verses tell us about God’s plan for our lives that is the opposite of the Devil’s plans for us?

Do we need to be afraid of the Devil? Why or why not?

What does the Bible say about victory over the Devil?

(Parents and teachers, you can use BibleGateway.com as a resource. Simply type any word like “victory” into the word search box to locate all the verses in the Bible that talk about victory!)

YOUR TURN! Pointing our kids to Jesus is not always easy. Is it a struggle to teach your kids Spiritual Truths? Do you have a loved one who seems to be swimming in the wrong direction? How can I pray for you today?

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It Happened When I Was 3-Years Old. What About You?

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 It Happend When I Was 3 Years Old

 When I was 3 years old, I lay in my bed in the dark and suddenly, I knew that I was a sinner and the world was a wrecked place. I also knew that Jesus was coming and that if He came that night, my parents would go to Heaven and I would go to Hell. I since have come to understand that God takes little ones to Heaven, no matter what, and this is not a debate on that issue, but the point for me here is that I understood with child-like faith, that I was lost.

I threw the covers back, trundled down the hall in my frilly nightgown, and approached my parents who sat up reading by lamplight in the living room, and I told them that I had asked Jesus to wash away my sins.  I was filled with a peace that would follow me into today.

I remember it vividly.

I had moved from a knowledge and understanding of religion into a relationship with God. I was presented with many opportunities to walk away as I grew. I faced all the many things that your average “church kid” faces that can cause them to go down a different path than the narrow one they started out on, but one thing remained. God was with me and I felt His presence in every trial, through every loss, at every decision point, and at every doubt.

I’m not stupid. I’ve studied religion more than your average person and I’ve had enough hardship to become a bitter jaded woman, but none of it is enough to remove from me the Truth that God is Who He says He is and that there is nowhere else for me to turn. My knowledge, my trails have only served as confirmation.

He is my Savior. My Friend. My Hope. My Trust. He has never failed me, and He never will.

Jesus loves me. This I know. For the Bible tells me so.

And so does my life. Every mountain, every valley speaks to me of His love for me. God and I are in it together, for always. Through a tumultuous childhood, through betrayals from friends, through chronic illnesses, trials that I will never speak of publicly, hard times in marriage, and through the death of my babies, God has been with me and He is for me.

My faith is not my crutch. It’s my everything.

My relationship with God is no fair-weather faith, but it remains child-like in its maturity. I know as surely now as I did as a 3-year-old, the meaning of life. May I honor Him for all He has done, for me.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

YOUR TURN! When did you come to saving faith in Jesus? I would love to hear YOUR testimony and it will encourage others too!

 

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If You’re Having A Hard Time Today…

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Hard Time Mommy

He was 2 years old at the time, and delightful. Quinn always knew exactly what he wanted, and when he wanted it-like most 2-year-olds do.

That morning, he stood at the pantry door and said, “Chocolate.”  In my opinion, 9:30 AM was a little early for chocolate and so I told him he could have a piece for dessert after lunch-not what he wanted to hear. The tailspin of tears, shouting, and banging of fists began.

Longing to reach out and hold him, I instead had to coax him over to me where I sat on the couch feeding his little baby brother. After a couple of minutes of agonizing crying, he wandered over reluctantly and climbed next to me, burying his head under my arm. It was almost as challenging to come to me, the one who was denying him the object of his desire, as it was to accept my “no.”

And then he began to sputter through his heaving tears…”Hard…time…Mommy….hard time.” I didn’t understand him at first but when I figured it out, my own heart broke. For Quinn, the denial of what he was asking for was a very real and very heart-rending trial. It was a hard time. At age 2. And boy, can I relate.

Can you?

As an optimist, I tend to see the good in circumstances naturally, but I made a promise to God long ago that I would be a radical Christ-follower. One thing I know for sure, if you want to be like Jesus, then you will share in His sufferings:

And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. Luke 14:27

To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. 1 Peter 2:21

Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler. Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name. 1 Peter 4:12-19

As believers, we need to rewire our thinking and our motivation in this life. The Lord understands our sadness and our grief. He sympathizes with us whole-heartedly when we go through hard times, but He will also use those moments to refine us and make us more like Christ. But He doesn’t leave us there. He is a God of hope:

And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. 1 Peter 5:10

More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. Romans 5:3-5

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. James 1:2-4

Night acquiesces to day and the seasons of our lives change and shift just as they do in nature. There have been hard times that I never thought would end, but when we yield to God’s purpose in our pain, and praise Him through our lack of understanding and remain faithful, we discover the promise is real: we can have joy in every circumstance.

That painful moment was only the beginning of hard times for Quinn. I realized that even in that juvenile moment, at such a young age, he needed to learn that life will always have bumps-and sometimes mountains to overcome, but that the purpose of life is not to try to escape, erase, forget, or side-step pain. It’s to trust God whose ways are higher than our own and to cling to the truth that He is love, even when He allows…hard….times.

And just as I had to convince Quinn to take steps towards me and my loving arms there on the couch that day, God also beckons us to come with our pain, our tears, and our honest confession of what we feel. His embrace is never occupied with another, and as a Heavenly Father, He provides a comfort even more secure than that of an earthly mother.

 

YOUR TURN! How do you help your kids through hard times? What’s the most significant way that you can comfort your children when they struggle? Are you going through a “hard time?” How can I pray for you?

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