If this title resonates with you, we are kindred. I remember the first time my friend, Stacey Thacker, told me about her new book and what it would be called. Immediately, my load felt lighter. Someone had seen my life and understood.
I had the privilege to receive an early copy of this book and give an endorsement. I need you to know I don’t do this for every book. I have to either love the book or love the author, and in this case, I love both. Stacey can write. But more than that, I trust Stacey’s heart. This, my friends, is of much higher endorsement.
You’ll read below an excerpt from Stacey’s book, Fresh Out of Amazing. Trust me, if this is you, you will want to get it. (p.s. I’m not sure I know anyone who isn’t fresh out of amazing, by the way.)
Stacey is giving away 2 FREE BOOKS for you lovely, interested people. To win, head over to my Facebook page and tag a friend in the comments on this post, and BOTH OF YOU get entered to win! (Random pic, winner to be notified.)
And please come back here on Wednesday. I have something important to tell you, and it has to do with being fresh out of amazing, myself.
“If we had a Christian magazine for the fresh-out-of-amazing woman, Martha would grace the cover more than the Kardashians do the cover of People. We would shake our heads at her and say under our breath, “I’m not surprised” as we put our groceries on the conveyer and glance sideways at the cover so our kids don’t see us. We find ourselves bothered and drawn to her peculiar struggle.” Part of us wants to celebrate Martha because she invited Jesus and his friends into her home. She served them. That is beautiful and right isn’t it? Yes, of course it is.
“But. Martha’s story has a but. Every story has one. For example, I am passionate about walking with God and doing what his Word says, but many times I don’t do those things. Daily I find myself in messes of my own making. Praise the Lord that something is working in my favor, and that something is the grace of God. We are about to see that same grace at work in Martha’s story.
I really wish we could push the “pause” button, step into the story, put an arm around Martha, and say, “Girl, I understand, but let’s not be here in the kitchen like this. Let’s not have a but interrupting your beautiful welcome of Jesus.” Yet here it is: “But Martha was distracted with much serving” (Luke 10:40).
Right there in her kitchen, with Jesus sitting a few feet away, busyness was beating Martha up one side and down another. Consumed by all she had to do, Martha was about to have a moment. She was probably in the kitchen stirring a pot of something wonderful, and she was getting herself all stirred up too. Martha was about to blow a fuse, and she was going to tell one person in particular all about it.
She went up to [Jesus] and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me” (Luke 10:40).
Martha not only interrupted Jesus as he taught, but she asked him straight out if he cared about her: Don’t you care, Jesus? Don’t you care? Then she told Jesus what to do. Yes, she did. Have mercy! Fresh-out-of-amazing girl done told Jesus to tell Mary to help her. I die a little at this point. Do you know why? Because I sound like her just about every other day around 5:00 p.m. when my kids are hungry, impatient, and ready for dinner. I slam all the doors, I crash all the pots, and I blow my fuse too. I tell everyone within a room or two of my voice all the things I’m doing all by myself. I tell them I have had it. I mean had it. Only one Person can help me when I am at my breaking point, and that person is exactly who Martha went to with her problem: Martha told Jesus. “
His response tells us Jesus was looking past her hospitality and straight to her heart:
‘Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her’ (Luke 10:41-42).
I think Jesus saw that Martha’s heart was to serve and love those in her home. The problem arose when that became her primary focus instead of connecting with Jesus in the moment. Martha’s fresh-out-of-amazing moment took her to the feet of Jesus, but instead of savoring his presence, she pouted. Martha was busy, but she didn’t have to be burdened.”
Did your heart catch a little with that story? Do you know why? Martha is like us. She is our people. I’ve learned a thing or two from Martha recently. First, I need to tell Jesus when I’m fresh out of amazing. Second, a heart full of duty is no comparison to a heart full of devotion. I’m not talking about Mary’s devotion either. I’m talking about Martha’s heart being in the right place when she was doing what God created her to do—welcoming Jesus to her home.
“Friends, when we are fresh out of amazing, Jesus cares. His heart for us is tender, just like it was with Martha. He speaks our names once, twice, or more in order to reconnect our souls to his. Jesus will help us.”
The simple truth is we need to let him.
*Excerpts taken from “Fresh Out of Amazing: Opening Your Heart to God’s Unexpected Invitation” by Stacey Thacker. Available wherever books are sold.
Twitter & Insta: @staceythacker
I’m so excited…in a grateful, honored, still pinch myself that this is what I get to do with my life kind of way.
(p.s.Sometimes writing books still seems like a dream I fell into rather than dreamed up (well, because it was) – one others may be more qualified for but none more passionate about, I can promise you that.)
I’m releasing 3 new books/projects with Harvest House Publishers in 2017, and I couldn’t be more thrilled.
Currently, I’m in the midst of writing my forthcoming book: Put Your Warrior Boots On: Walking Jesus Strong, Once and For All. In case you haven’t noticed, the world is in kind of a mess. I have been praying and thinking long and hard (like it keeps me up at night sometimes) about how to live in the mess better, and I believe God has given me the how-to. Put Your Warrior Boots On is an equipping and strength-inducing book. It is a what-do-we-do-right-now book. It is a book to help we, the followers of Jesus, live with a better strategy – not one of reaction and hopelessness and fear, but one of real, true strength. I want us to be steady, ready and sure as we walk in this world gone crazy. (p.s. Yes, we can be.) I want us to stop trying to brave ourselves into it. (Seriously can’t wait to talk to you more about THIS and share what I’ve learned about it because I think the shift in perspective may help you as it has me.) I want us to be consistent in our relationship with God instead of riding the spiritual roller coaster, once and for all. I want us to walk in His authority like He’s told us to do – with effectiveness in the world and tunnel vision on heaven. We are here and the world is not getting better and we can’t keep wishing things were different – we have to change up how we live to be solid and sturdy, no matter what comes our way. We need this, right? Man, how we need it.
I want you to know: it is with the softest of hearts and the deepest of love and the strongest of speech I write it. It is proving to be very much like writing I Want God, in the sense that the urgency is a second skin I’m wearing, the revelations from God are swift and piercing, and I find myself eager to hear what He has to tell me, every time I sit down to type. I cannot wait to share more as the release date approaches, as I believe there has never been a more important time to release a book like this. Release date: April 1, 2017
My second book is a different kind of book for me, and I’m so excited about it, too. It’s called 5 Word Prayers: A 40-day Devotional, to help kick start our prayer life in a way that is both doable and powerful. (We don’t need to talk about how ABSOLUTELY VITAL prayer is, especially right now in this crazy world, right? Like…prayer is everything. For real.) For years people have been asking me if I would write a devotional book, and for years I’ve thought about it but never moved forward. I’ve long believed that with our prayers, it’s not about word count but about heart intent. The documented prayers of Jesus are short. The older I get the more I realize that prayer is not me saying as many words as I can but listening and being with Him in communion, where our hearts unite. For this reason, this devotional book. This book will not only provide daily 5 word prayers, but it will also include a short devotional written about each prayer to help it really seep down deep. I have lots of love and belief in this book, and I hope you will be as excited as I am about it. Release Date: Fall of 2017
And last but absolutely not least…with the release of 5 Word Prayers will be the release of a super fun companion adult coloring book by the same name. I know ya’ll love these things. I know they are flying off the shelves like crazy. And I believe in this case, each coloring page and accompanying prayer will be something not only you can fly your creative flag with, but also meditate on and maybe even frame and hang on your wall as art or give as a gift to someone else. You should know I’m hardcore committed to these coloring pages being beautifully and meaningfully graphic. So I hired the absolute best, most talented freelance artist to draw the sketches. She just so happens to be my baby sister, so she shares my DNA. I still can’t even believe I was able to hire her – she works in an art gallery and draws sketches all day FOR A LIVING, and I begged her to squeeze me in. (Family has its privileges.) So you know…this project is going to be fantastic and is truly a labor of love. Go ahead and plan on it being one of your Christmas gifts for someone in 2017. Release Date: Fall of 2017.
Well, there it is. These are my new projects. I hope you are as eager to get them as I am to get them to you.
So many of you have spread the word about I Want God and as a result, helped change lives. (For real. You should hear the stories.)
So many of you are faithful readers to the messages God has put on my heart to share. I wish you knew how humbling this feels and how much responsibility it brings to my heart, and how seriously I take it.
I think you and I are on the exact same page. I believe we share the same heart.
If you, like me, want to live with a better strategy, want to walk Jesus strong instead of walking tentative, defensive and reactionary, want to be the steady and sure believer of Jesus that He can use in this world in these crazy days to influence the rest of the world…if you, like me, sometimes feel like prayer books make me feel more intimidated about my prayer life, like I don’t measure up, love the idea of 5 powerful prayer words to pray every day for 40 days to better communicate with God…and if sometimes you just like to be a little artsy but are intimidated by Pinterest :)…these books are for you.
Can’t wait to share them.
Thanks for letting me share my new projects…and my life…with you.
Turns out, giving away 7 books in 5 days was FUN.
I only wish I could have more to go around for all the beautiful you who participated by leaving comments.
Thank you for sharing your heart in this space.
But I’m excited for the winners, eager to get some amazing books into your hands.
And for those who participated but didn’t win, please consider buying some of these books for yourself. (Links to purchase in posts.) They were picked with great care, and they are all important reads.
And because I don’t like leaving people out and want everyone to walk away feeling like they won something :), I’ve made you all a printable from the blog post that started the book I Want God, which is included in the back of the book and today, available, here, to all my beloved readers.
I trust it will mean something to you.
And now, my friends…between my recommendations, this printable and the books already in your stack…you have plenty to read through the rest of the year.
Just don’t forget the Most Important Book, God’s Word, always, first. Despite all these great reads, it is the Bible that matters most.
Sit, Walk, Stand: Joanne
Not Marked: Rebecca
Lean on Me: Krystal
Magnetic: Cathy, Amber
I Want God: Naomi
You and Me Forever: Kelli
(If you are a winner, you will be receiving an email from me soon.)
*Haven’t yet gotten your copy of I Want God? It’s available RIGHT NOW for just $7.99, which is an amazing 38% savings!
***For Ebook for just $8.99 (Kindle, Nook, etc.), CLICK HERE.
These two books may not at first seem they go together.
But oh trust me, in so many ways, they do. I’m not sure but I think Chan has been reading my mail. :)
I had planned to just give away I Want God today, as it is a book that continues to not only change me, but impact its readers. (Read the reviews yourself, HERE. They honestly blow me away.)
I give I Want God away because more than any other book, I hope and pray you will read this one. And I hope and pray you will tell your people about it and they will read it, too. And I hope and pray its message will linger long and have real, lasting influence on your life, as it has mine.
So if you haven’t picked up a copy of I Want God, today is YOUR opportunity to win a FREE signed COPY for yourself! And if you have…today is YOUR opportunity to win a FREE signed COPY to give someone for Christmas.
But in addition, I am giving away Francis Chan’s new book he wrote with his wife, Lisa, called You and Me Forever.
I should tell you why.
I don’t read most marriage books. I have in the past, and some have been helpful. But complete truth? In almost 19 years of marriage, I think I’ve figured out that my problem in marriage is not solved from learning a new strategy, but from just doing what I already know. (Which, by the way, is typically the problem in our relationship with God, as well.)
Don’t be selfish. Work on things even when it’s hard. Talk to each other. Listen. Forgive. Spend time, protect your heart from things that pull you away from your commitment, and stay focused on Jesus.
But mainly, it can all be summed up with the latter: just stay focused on Jesus.
(p.s. It’s not that marriage books aren’t helpful with tools. They well can be. I love the message my friends, Justin and Trisha Davis send in their book, Beyond Ordinary, because it is an important one.)
But marriage books that have talked about his needs and my needs…the respect I offer and love he offers back…tap on my flesh tendency to continue to think about myself and keep inventory of all the ways he’s supposed to be doing this or that. (Listen. It’s human nature to think this way. Or just me. Whichever.)
But Chan, in You and Me Forever, says this, which by the way made me want to jump up and do high kicks when I read it (pulled muscle alert):
The way to have a great marriage is by not focusing on marriage.
You might be puzzled. But what Chan is saying here is exactly parallel to what I am saying in I Want God.
Wanting God, focusing on God, more than anything else, changes everything in your life.
And yes, that includes marriage. And it includes our struggle to be popular and known. And our desire to stay stagnant when there is Kingdom work to be done.
It drives our decision making, our perspective, and yes, as you will see from the video I have included at the end of this post from Francis Chan and his wife, Lisa: even something as seemingly insignificant as what you and your spouse decide to do to celebrate your 20th anniversary.
I cannot express the passion I have for this core message of being all about God.
I cannot tell you how much your life will change if you drop the focus on other things and dive completely into Him.
What lives would look different. What marriages would be turned around. What influence we could have with the world.
So you see, though one of these two books I give away today is technically a marriage book and the other isn’t, they are two that should absolutely go together.
Because they say exactly the same thing, in two different ways.
I couldn’t be happier about sharing give-away space with people as fine as the Chans. As my husband and I are currently going through their book together, they are helping us with a heavenly perspective on our marriage. They are inspiring us, as a couple, just to do something. And there is much, much more solid, transformative teaching in this short 7 chapter book, which is apparently something else I have in common with the Chans: I don’t write books that are long.
On that note — I’ve been long here, in this space, today. Forgive me. But I can’t help talking about these 2 books, knowing I want nothing more than to get them into your hands.
Last Day! Leave me a comment telling me why you want to win either book…spread the word via social media with your people by posting the visual with the hashtag #5DaysofBookGiveaways…come back Monday, December 8, to see if you win!
*Winner(s) announced on Monday, December 8…plus a FREE printable from I Want God.
To order I Want God, CLICK HERE.
To order You and Me Forever, CLICK HERE.
You and Me Forever – Francis & Lisa Chan (Trailer) from Room 212 Productions on Vimeo.
It’s because of this little one, with the teeny-tiny fingernails, the laugh I’ve memorized, and the signature female sensitive heart that this is so important to me.
Oh parents of girls, does your heart ache like mine for your girl to know her great worth?
I want my girl to know she’s enough. I want her to know she’s precious. I want her to know she matters and isn’t just a girl and is packed with endless potential, worthy of boundless love.
I know she’s told other things by the world. So I want to tell her things that are different, so she will hear another message besides the societal one that whispers you must prove yourself and you need to be the prettiest and make sure you laugh at the right times and not open your mouth if you don’t know an answer so people will want you around and also this: never, ever, find yourself the girl that doesn’t get asked out on a date.
I want her to know the truth about what will really draw people to her — not her body or her face or her status with her friends, but the Jesus inside that people won’t be able to resist. She’ll figure this out eventually, but maybe not until she hurts first, and I want to save her some of that…to understand that it’s not the perfect selfie pose in the end but her God-nurtured spirit that will really make her…
My day 4 pick is my friend, Lynn Cowell’s book by the same name.
It is an incredibly needed, incredibly relevant book for every pre-teen and teenaged girl with a desire to be liked, accepted, and known. (Well, now. That would be every one of them.)
Instagram tells her it’s in the pictures and the likes and the comments.
Twitter tells her it’s in the followers and retweets.
Pinterest tells her it’s in the perfection.
But it’s in none such things.
It’s in the power of God working from the inside-out to make a young soul joyful and beautiful, secure, kind and pure.
Moms and dads with daughters…the world is whispering dangerous things in our daughter’s ears.
Let’s get this book to help our girl hear something very different.
by Lynn Cowell (available at Amazon, B&N, CBD, everywhere books are sold),
will empower girls and young woman to reach their fullest potential by focusing on becoming who God made them to be! A girl who reflects God’s love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control becoming magnetic!
To find out more about Magnetic, CLICK HERE.
*I’m giving away TWO FREE COPIES of Lynn’s book, Magnetic, today! Leave me a comment and tell me something you feel young women should know or something you feel is a negative influence on young women today.
**Winner(s) announced Monday, December 8.
p.s. You don’t want to miss tomorrow! Every married person, make sure you are here for my Day 5 picks. Yes, PICKS. I’m featuring 2 books tomorrow, and either one can be yours!! I truly believe: the perspective in these books could honestly change your life.
This is a book I could never write, because gratefully, sexual abuse has not been my experience. But it is a book that is vitally important because sadly, it is the experience of many.
And my brave friend, Mary DeMuth, did write it. Because she was tired of what her history with sexual abuse took from her. And she was tired of seeing other people lose large chunks of their life because of the personal aftermath of someone else’s evil decision. And she wanted the 6 out of 10 women and 4 out of 10 men who have suffered from this to know they are not marked, they have never been marked, they will never be marked except by their beloved Creator, God.
The only mark that remains is the mark of Jesus’ great affection for us. Live and breathe there. ~Mary DeMuth
Mary wrote Not Marked to let you who have lived this injustice know you aren’t alone and to cheer you towards a new life. I find this a most awesome thought.
If you’re a survivor of sexual abuse or know someone who is, this is your book.
Leave me a comment with a favorite overcoming phrase, verse or even just a “yes, I want this book!” and you’ll be entered to win.
And don’t forget to share this #5daysofbookgiveaways in your social media circles!
Winner announced Monday, December 8.
*Come back tomorrow for my Day 3 pick…Hint: it’s a book that taught me something I’ve been trying to figure out about myself for at least 20 years.
**Bonus: I’m including a video of Mary and her husband, Patrick, speaking on Not Marked. And SO COOL: In December, Mary is gifting a case of books ($800 value) to any ministries dealing with sexual abuse (halfway houses, prisons, trafficking ministry). All that is required is $50 to cover the shipping and handling. Email Mary at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to gift a case to a ministry. What an amazing offer!
Not Marked book website: CLICK HERE.
Mary’s website: CLICK HERE.