Thursday, October 16, 2014

All Mixed Up, Turned Upside Down

"And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light." (2 Corinthians 11:14)
Have you experiences this? I have and it's very unsettling. To think something is good--of God even--only to realize that it's all a facade, evil dressed up as something good.

I don't know why I so often think bad or evil will jump out wearing a neon sign, alerting me in no uncertain terms that I should run the other direction.

But it doesn't.

In fact, it usually creeps in so innocently that I don't even notice

People don't always enter into an affair on a whim, whether physical or emotional. It often begins with a friendship, with sharing things in common, with enjoying one another's company.

People don't always begin a drug addiction with the intention of being an addict. It often begins with pain medicine for a medically valid condition.

Churches don't always divide in a day. It often begins with a group moving away from the Truth of the Bible with the intention of being more culturally relevant.

Leaders don't always go into leadership with the intention of having their subordinates worship them. It often progresses from admiration to idolatry.

What is good can so easily be warped and perverted into something evil.

It actually makes me angry. I've seen this happen. I've experienced this in different ways.

It's bad enough to launch into a sin or a sinful lifestyle when you know that's what you're doing. But to be engaged in something that's sinful without fully realizing that's what it is enrages me.

Too often I've seen relationships begin as something so good--even God ordained-- only to morph into something outside of God's will. It's so gradual, so insidious, that you almost don't see it coming. Almost.

"No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it." (1 Corinthians 10:13)

This scripture very clearly tells us that God will always provide a way out for us. We always have the option of recognizing and fleeing from what isn't good.

The Holy Spirit--some call it your conscience--is very good at raising a red flag when something is outside of God's will. If we listen and pay attention, we will sense the warnings.

"We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." (2 Corinthians 10:5)
The Holy Spirit will sense when something is out of line and will ring a little bell (figuratively speaking). If we are focused and in God's Word daily, we will learn to recognize that bell. If we are seeking His wisdom and guidance, what starts out as a small dinner bell will turn into a resounding gong that we can't miss.

We will see what is happening and be able to turn from it.

Let's not let Satan take something intended for good, something meant to be healthy and right and good and turn it into something perverse and wrong.

Run hard after the Father. Run away from the one who would deceive you.

"Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." (James 4:7)
Submitting to God is always the goal, but sometimes it's hard. It's especially hard when what you're entrenched in feels good. Sometimes, even after we've discovered that we are involved in or heading toward sin, we don't want to turn away. Or, at least, it's very difficult.

That's when we fall on our knees and beg for the strength to do so.

And once we allow God to take over and turn away from the relationship or activity that is ensnaring us, we will be blessed and more fulfilled than we ever would have been had we continued down the path we were on.

"See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse— the blessing if you obey the commands of the Lord your God that I am giving you today; the curse if you disobey the commands of the Lord your God and turn from the way that I command you today by following other gods, which you have not known" (Deuteronomy 11:27)

Let's be attentive to His prompting. Let's not ignore when we hear the dinner bell so that we won't miss the opportunity to be obedient and faithful. 

I pray today that we will be sensitive to the Holy Spirit and watchful of the red flags raised. Guard every word, every thought and every relationship to make sure Christ truly is at the center of it and that we aren't unwittingly veering off track. 

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Saturday, September 27, 2014

What's Your Story? Women's Conference

Every step you take in life, every experience - good or bad - it all tells your story. More importantly…it tells the story of Jesus and His redeeming grace. Everyone has a story. What’s your story?

Through struggles and failures, successes and triumphs, every bit of your life makes up who you are. And every bit of who you are tells the story of how God is working in your life.

Everyone’s story is different. Whether yours is quiet and uneventful or tumultuous and bumpy, God is in every part of it. Every struggle you’ve had was an opportunity for God to show His strength.

All of us have the opportunity to minister to others by sharing our stories. Ministry doesn’t always include a pulpit and seminary. Sometimes, meeting someone’s need and offering encouragement is as simple as sharing our story. It’s simple, but it isn’t always easy.

October 10th & 11th in Belle Vernon, PA (just South of Pittsburgh) women will gather to listen to 7 amazing women share their stories. We will listen, worship, pray, and enjoy one another’s company.

Natalie Snapp (Author of Heart Sisters, due out February 2015, and owner of is the keynote speaker. She will be sharing how to find glory in your own story and discussing some of the reasons we choose not to share.

Mia Koehne (of Mia Koehne Music) is a recording artist and speaker who has opened for Casting Crowns and toured with Francesca Battistelli, Lindsay McCaul, and MIKESCHAIR. Mia’s story is touching and presents God’s glory in such a way that it’s evident how God can work all things together for good.

5 other women will also share their stories. Some struggle with addiction, depression and thoughts of suicide, while others have lived a relatively quiet life with few hurdles. All have a heart for Jesus and have seen God work through them and their stories.

Registration for this conference includes entrance to both days, light refreshments on Friday and Saturday and a boxed lunch on Saturday.

Come as you are. All women are welcome. You will not be asked to speak or to share your story. We look forward to spending time with you!

Registration information is HERE.
Find us on Facebook HERE.
Email HERE for more information. 
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Friday, September 26, 2014

Introducing Overcomer Outreach

Dear friends, I would like to introduce you to a much needed blog in our community, Overcomer Outreach. You may recognize the founder, Janelle Nehrenz from Comfy in the Kitchen where she shares about meal ministry. Quite often she has been known to say that it isn't so much the delicious recipes that make her ministry special, it's the meaning behind them that matter most...well, this is the meaning. Comforting the hurting. 

I am humbled and blessed to be a part of this amazing new ministry! 

Writing Team

These beautiful women are beyond brave, and full of sincerity, God's love, grace and compassion. 
A special thank you to Mary Davis from Everyday Spirit for her beautiful and encouraging images. 
The Mission of Overcomer Outreach: 

Here you will find a group of authors with compassionate hearts seeking to encourage you through the strength of God. This amazing group of women is comprised of Licensed Professional Counselors, Marriage and Family Therapists, Christian Life Coaches, Business Owners, Published Authors, Professional Speakers, Professional Bloggers, Bible Study Leaders, Pastor’s Wives, Moms, and Wives…
 Many of us have been through some of the trials you may be bearing, which is why 2 Corinthians 1:4 is a verse we continue to cling to when we think of why we’re here. Don't, for one second think, "this is a group of perfect Christians", because there is no such thing. We are Christians because we believe in the Gospel of Jesus Christ , humbled and fully knowing we need a Savior.
Again, many of us have been right there in your shoes...believe it or not.
Yes, your shoes...
We pray to speak to the woman who has had an abortion, affairs, drug addiction (you fill in the blank) and our prayer is to use God’s word and truth to give her freedom. We pray for her to finally be released from bondage, from the lies she tells herself, and from the condemnation of the enemy that she is not worthy to go forward in her walk with the Lord and in her ministry.
We pray to speak to the oppressed, ill, victimized, tormented, abused, and bullied…we want to share God’s truth and love with you... and encourage you. We want to walk beside you to let you know...

You will get through this…

 A message from Janelle


Founder of Overcomer Outreach and Comfy in the Kitchen, Janelle is a Christian, a wife and mother of 3 children. She is currently in her second year at Malone University obtaining a M.A. in Clinical Counseling. She has a deep love for Christ, meal ministry, and for helping the hurting. 

Lord I pray that I will never become too proud to forget the pain I've felt. Use me as a means to help others and to point them to you...I fully believe that without your strength, I would be spent. Yet, you've given me a platform and a voice of compassion... and for that, I will forever praise your name.

During the most difficult time of my life, my presence met early mornings in my white rocking chair on the porch. Sipping coffee with my blanket on my lap, not meant for warmth but comfort...I would lay down my troubles, needs, and praises down on a sheet of paper. I would pray with a sincerity only deeply burdened souls understand, then read, then pray again. It was the only moment in my day, at the time, when I didn't feel weight on my chest, when my heart wouldn't race, when my hands didn't tremble, when irrational thoughts wouldn't cloud my judgement and when my thoughts were focused on just God.

Often times I would remind myself of the verse, "Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." {Matthew 6:23}  I would pray that God could give me this seemingly supernatural power. I feared the next hour just as much as tomorrow just as much as next year. So, I started taking life in very small increments. Just enough, for a person going through trauma would be able to swallow....

"People feel this way", I would think to myself.

"I never knew people felt this kind of pain."

God might not have taken me to that awful place, but because I was there...I'm making a promise to use that experience to help others. Some have been there and can't seem to find a healthy new way of life, while others are currently there that desolate place that my flesh would rather not recall. The thorn in my side. Do you have one? 

I'm going to change my mind from feeling broken, tormented and victimized to feeling blessed to know those feelings.

I'm going to be an Overcomer.

Not only that, I'm going to live my life encouraging others be the same.

What the enemy wanted to destroy, I will allow God to use for his good. 
For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world-- our faith. ~1 John 5:4

Love to you,
You can find Overcomer Outreach on the following social media channels: FacebookTwitterInstagram, and Pinterest
Because we believe there is healing in the words "me too", our authors have joyfully set up Facebook forums for individual struggles, these groups are *closed, meaning people can see that you are a part of the group, however they cannot see the conversations unless they are in the group. We welcome you with open arms to the following groups.
Janelle Nehrenz will be involved in all groups, she has gratefully accepted the help of her authors to lead specific areas of compassion meaningful to them. Although she has not gone through each trial, she is empathetic to all of them. 
Overcomer Outreach on...

Adoption, Foster Care & Orphan Care Leader: Erica Elm
Infertility Leader: Shon Murray
Marriage Leader: Sonya Schroeder
Finding Joy Leader: Emanda Rosen
Fear Leader: Mandy Pagano
Homeschooling Leader: Mrs Jeanette Wood
Cancer Leader: Debby Derby
Positive Thinking and Encouragement Leader: Sarah Beals
Freedom from Bondage: Walking in Grace and Truth Leader: Gina Smith

Because of the sensitive nature of this topic, we have one *secret* group on Abortion. This means that no one can see that you are a part of this group on your FB account. To be a part of this forum, you must friend Kelly K Writes and she must add you. Overcomer Outreach is pro-life, however our prayer is to help release those having gone through with abortion from condemnation, so that they can be free again through Christ. 
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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

You Have To Get Through The Messy To Find The Beautiful

I was 20 years old. I sat in the small, nondescript office clutching my purse in my lap. I listened to the attorney sitting at the desk across from me, but most of what he said didn't make sense. I waited for months until the final divorce decree came in the mail. I read every word. My eyes filled with tears that spilled down my cheeks when I read the line: This marriage has been forever and irretrievably broken. 

The divorce hadn't been a surprise. Obviously, I knew it was coming. I was already living my life like a single person, anyway, clueless to the gravity of what I had just gone through.

It was that one sentence...forever and irretrievably broken.
I was broken. I was barely out of my teens and already had a failed marriage under my belt.

Fast forward several years to another nondescript office, listening again to someone tell me things I only half understood. What I did understand? That I was about to sign a document that would end a 4-year marriage and veritably wipe away 8 years of memories. To put it in the words of my now second ex-husband, we were "undoing everything we took years to do." 

And oh it hurt. It hurt so bad. 

This time I swore it would be different. This time, I promised myself that I would go the long haul, I would see it through, I would honor my marriage vows of "till death do us part." 

But there I a scene from the movie Groundhog's Day...signing away my marriage. 
Irretrievably broken.  

I knew marriage was hard. I mean, I'd learned at least that much from the first marriage. But, I had no idea that even when you go into it realizing it's hard and knowing you'll have to give until you feel like you have nothing more left to give, it would feel at times like you're running a marathon with cinder blocks chained to your feet.

I had the desire, but not the tools or the know-how when it came to navigating marriage. I had no idea that marriage is a beautiful picture of Christ's love for the church. I was clueless to the fact that marriage goes far beyond joint bank accounts, picking out China, and dinner parties. 

It's work. And it's sometimes the hardest, gut-wrenching, most arduous work one will ever do. 
And God has to be at the center of it.

Many of you have heard me talk about Darlene Schacht from Time-Warp Wife before. She's this adorable Canadian woman whom I came to love when I stumbled across her blog a couple of years ago. I was smitten by her posts on marriage and impressed by her and her husband's longevity, but I was absolutely bowled over when I read the story of how her husband confronted her about an affair she'd had. 

I knew that feeling in the pit of the stomach and the heat rush that climbs up your face when you're "caught." I remember like yesterday confessing an affair of my own. I remember the humiliation, the regret, and the devastation of admitting that I had broken my marriage vows and betrayed my husband. I also remember another time of being on the receiving end of the news that I had been cheated on. I can instantly recall the deep sense of betrayal and hurt. Words can't express the pain or the depth of the wound. 

But as I sat reading this woman's testimony, wiping away tears and nodding my head, I knew she was telling me something different than I'd heard before and she was speaking from a vantage point that rang true to me and was one I understood well.

Only, she was victorious. Her marriage was succeeding and thriving despite the affair, despite the marital struggles. I wanted that. I was hungry for that. I needed to know her secret.

I've reviewed another of Darlene's books before (The Virtuous Life of a Christ-Centered Wife). It was an amazing book. I loved it. I cried my way through it and learned so much about being a wife who supports and loves. Darlene's new book Messy Beautiful Love is out today. I am honored to be among those who received an advanced copy in exchange for writing a review. 

The easy part is reading and reviewing this book. The hard part? That's where I put into practice all the Godly, sound advice Darlene offers. One of the things I love about her is that she is a woman who speaks from the heart. She is real and honest and raw. She doesn't mince words when it comes to giving the truth, yet I never feel offended. 

Even when she speaks of some hard topics like "Give Up Your Right to Be Right," I never feel like Darlene is speaking down to me, but rather like she has her arm around my shoulder while we sit next to each other on the sofa with a hot mug of tea in our hands. 

I'm going on a decade of marriage with my third husband. We don't have it all figured out yet, but we have many things in our corner now, that neither of us had before. 

When I at down to read Darlene's book Messy Beautiful Love, I felt like I was peeking into her life. I love the way she begins most chapters with an anecdote or personal story. I feel a kinship with her. I laugh, I cry, and I feel like she gets me.

How can this be when I have met this lovely woman only once in person? How can I possibly feel like she's written a book entirely for me? I think it's because she has gone beyond the expected and conventional role of the Christian author. Refreshingly, she is more concerned with living a life that honors Christ than she is with procuring a following or selling books. Darlene is easily one of the most gracious people I've ever met. 

Is she perfect? Nope. And she's not afraid to tell you that. So you don't find yourself half-way through reading the book and wanting to throw it across the room, exasperated at yet another marriage book that tells you how the author has it all figured out and you're a mess. (I've been there.)

So, today I am telling you to RUN and order yourself a copy of Messy Beautiful Love by Darlene Schacht. This woman is the real deal. She's been there. She's stumbled. She's gotten back up and she's sharing the wisdom she's learned from God throughout her trials. 

You can order the book by clicking HERE

Click HERE to read an interview with Darlene on Deliberate Women.

I was sent an advanced copy of Darlene Schacht's book Messy Beautiful Love in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are 100% genuine and completely my own. 

Here's YOUR chance to win a copy of this amazing book! Enter today for your chance to win! Must be 18 or older to enter. All entrants must reside in the US or Canada only. Winner will be notified via email and will have 24 hours to respond. If winner does not respond within 24 hours, another name will be selected using Rafflecopter. No purchase necessary. Contest ends Saturday, September 20, 2014 at 11:59 P.M. 

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