Saturday, March 28, 2015

The Fringe Hours

"The Fringe Hours" by Jessica N. Turner is a beautifully written book that helps women to make time for their passions and the things they love.  I first found out about the book through Angie Smith's video on her Facebook page.  I felt wrapped in God's arms, as I read about what the book was about,  like He was whispering, "It's okay to make time for yourself, do things you love and take care of yourself, Amber".

After praying and asking others to pray for God's will about joining the study, I finally signed up, bought two books, prayed about who to give the other book to and my dear friend, Lachelle, came to mind. :) Lachelle and I also signed up for a Proverbs31 bible study called "The Best Yes" by Lysa TerKeurst last fall yet I only made it through chapter 4.  The book was awesome, my life just gets so busy October through December. Both books seem to have a similar theme, so I believe God wants me to learn this. 

The other day Lachelle and I met and discussed what we are loving about the book "The Fringe Hours". She started reading a paragraph she loves, and it made me smile that I had the same paragraph circled in purple glitter pen. Here's the paragraph, it's near the bottom of page 91…

"Making time for yourself is incredibly important. When you pursue your passions regularly, your life perspective will gradually shift. You will slowly begin to see life with eyes of optimism and gratitude because you are living full of hope, wonder, and joy". 

Meeting at 7am before work day to discuss The Fringe Hours with Lachelle. Blessed time! :)

God changed my life for the better through this book. My husband and I began to regularly work out together at the gym and each bring a book. It was great as we do need to take care of our health more and it was a sweet time to spend with my husband. Sometimes we would even be on the treadmill next to each other and share what we were learning in our book. 

"The Fringe Hours" also helped me realize how I have pockets of time that I didn't realize I had prior. One of mine that I found which is embarrassing to admit is how much time I was taking to get ready for work in the morning. I would get up about 5am, have my hour God time, pray with my husband, and I sometimes wouldn't leave for work until 8am (or later!). I was like "What in the world am I doing with all that time?".  I think I was just getting ready super slow. So now I am being a lot more disciplined in the morning getting ready (after my God time). This book blessed me with 4+ extra hours per week that I didn't realize I had. 

Another way the book blessed me is that I realized I hadn't been to the dentist for a teeth cleaning in 1.5 years, since I had often put off stuff like caring for myself. I made an appointment and went yesterday for my cleaning and WOW, they got my teeth so much whiter, and it's nice. I had been drinking tea and didn't realize how stained my teeth could get from tea. 

One amazing thing is that the book brought me a deeper thanks to God and joy.  For many years now I've been spending quiet time in prayer and reading the Bible each morning. I realized what a blessing this is that I often take for granted. Also it made me more grateful for my husband, how he leads us in prayer each morning. Thank you, Lord for this amazing blessing! We need you so much and always will. 

I should also add that I only made it through chapter 7 of "The Fringe Hours" so I almost feel it's not a fair review of book as there are a total of 13 chapters. Jessica's book deserves a better review than this. But I wanted to attempt the assignment for the (in)courage book club to write a little review about how this book has impacted my life.  I recommend the book and also recommend the online book clubs through (in)courage and the online bible studies through Proverbs31. Both ministries are awesome and have blessed me so much. 

Me & Lachelle with our books "The Fringe Hours". The lovely barrista took our photo. 

In case you are wondering what I'm going to do with my extra 4 hours or more per week that this book helped me find… The Lord has been leading me to share the darkest times of my life of what He has redeemed me of.  Over a decade ago I struggled with many things including depression, lies of lust and lies of body image. The reason I can say "lies" of lust/body image, is that I learned that once I am healed from believing lies, I am free from any temptation in this area. I learned that temptation is just Satan lying to me, and when I don't believe the lies, I am free of temptation (in any area that I have replace the lies with God's Truth). The Lord has done a beautiful thing, so I plan to write to share what God has done, to obey Him and to help others. 

Thanks for taking time to read this blog. I pray that you are blessed.  :O)

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Blessings Are Often Disguised

Yesterday evening my husband and I were doing ministry at a homeless shelter.  I normally sit at a table  with devotionals, bibles and books that we give away, while my husband David is playing music and sharing a message.  We are there to minister to others, yet often we leave feeling like we were ministered to (through the homeless, staff, message, etc). Last night was one of those healing nights for me.  I picked up a small book that we had purchased at Parables to give to the homeless called "Facing Illness with Hope" by Rev. Tim Wesemann. Tears kept filling my eyes as I read through the pages on an off through the night. Although I haven't received a diagnosis, I've had many different kinds of nerve damage symptoms for 7 years. The book was very comforting and filled with God's promises.

David sang the song "Our God" by Chris Tomlin. I took a video of the song and at the end David prayed this powerful prayer, "You are not afraid of any problem we face, Lord. You have overcome all. Thank you Lord that we have victory with You. May we walk with You, abide in You, and look to You for our strength. You are faithful. You will provide a way out and You will provide a way through and You will lead us to better places. What the enemy has meant to harm and destroy us, You will use for our good and for the saving of lives of many others.  Thank you Lord! You are an awesome God!"

Tears filled my eyes through his prayer. I was reminded of Joseph's story in the bible.  I praised God knowing that He is using my health issues for my good, David's good, and God's glory. That gave me a desire to write this post with hope to help others who are struggling with either health problems or walking through a hard time in life.

One promise in God's Word that I love that has helped me so much not only in my health issues, but through many things that happen on a daily basis is Romans 8:28, "And we know that God causes all things to work together for good for those who love God and are called according to His purpose".  It's so awesome that the verse doesn't say "some" or "most", but "all" things are working together for the good of those who love God. That's a promise. Wow! Thanks God!

1 Thessalonians 5:18 is powerful as well. I like how John MacArthur put it in one of his books, "And whatever happens in your life along the way, give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. He is using it to shape you into His will".

So, last night as David and I were talking and praying, I reminded David of many of the blessings that have come through my health issues.  It drew me a lot closer to the Lord, often on my knees or on my face crying out to Him. It has sanctified me and humbled me more. It has helped me live more with eternity in mind~ for example one of my health symptoms is burning pain and I often think about what will happen when someone rejects the awesome love and forgiveness of God their whole lives. I pray hard for many thousands of people's salvations. I also told my David that I would be a lot more prideful if I wouldn't have gotten this major health issue as it is one thing God has used to humble me more.

One great blessing that has come through my health issues is to know in a much deeper way my husband's love for me. He has prayed so many times for my healing. Last fall, on the night of his birthday, we went to a healing ministry service.  God did some amazing, fast, miraculous headings that night. David brought me up to the front for prayer. He said "I want prayer for my wife to be healed". A woman prayed over me such a powerful prayer, and afterwards she said "I have never prayed like that for anybody". I felt so loved by God, by her, by David. I thanked God that even though I wasn't healed physically, I experienced His love in such a great way that I did feel more healed. * On a side note, David's back got healed that night. He brought me for healing (that's all he wanted for his birthday) but he struggles with back pain. There was a time they prayed over everyone struggling with back issues. David said his back all of a sudden felt warm, and then all pain went away. Glory to God!

A few months ago in December, I heard God tell me that something I have been praying for the last 7 years would be answered in 2015. I instantly thought about my health issues which started February 15, 2008.  2015 would make 7 years. I believe He said there was something significant about 7 years and that it brings Him glory. I was in awe of His goodness and wept joyful tears.  I trust that the Lord wants to heal me and I'm grateful for the 7 years with symptoms, and grateful for His plan to heal me.  He recently gave me some wisdom about my symptoms that I didn't know prior and it helps give me hope that I am on a path of healing and will be healed. Glory to the Great Physician (God). I'm am so thankful for my health that I do have and for God's comforting Holy Spirit.

If you are reading this, I am praying for you to know how loved you are by the One who made you. David wrote a song several years ago~ he wrote much of the song while we sat in a hospital waiting room. We were there to pray with and comfort our friends from church whose son was in an accident and had a severe head injury. God did a miracle healing in the life of their son, Paul. May the words and melody bless you. Some of the words are from Isaiah 41:10, ""Do not be afraid, for I am with you, do not be dismayed for I am your god. I will help you. I will strengthen you." (Click here and click arrow to listen to song). :)

May you walk hand-in-hand with the Lord through whatever you may face, whether it be a health problem or anything that is difficult.  May Jesus be your Shepherd through each day, each moment, and may you see things through His eyes - the eyes of the deep love and compassion. May you be comforted by the promises in His Holy Word (the bible) and may you cry out to the One who loves you most and created you for a great purpose~ Your Heavenly Father.  May the Lord use all that you are going through for your good, for the good of your loved ones, for the glory of God and for the saving of many lives.