Sunday, July 31, 2011

ATTN: ALL FAITH-BASED BLOGGERS & INDUSTRY PROFESSIONALS

For Bloggers: I want you to be a part of my new ebook on social media and marketing. If you are a faith-based blogger, then I want to list you in my directory.  It doesn't matter what size audience you have, big or small, I want other Christian writers to be able to find you. You can either leave your email below or find me on facebook to request the questionnaire.

For professionals: If you have expertise in the following areas, please email me. I would like to feature you in the book. Are you an expert in:
1. Marketing
2. Social Media
3. Speaking
4. Writing
5. Editing

Please pass this on to any friends or network professionals that you think would be interested.  You can email me at: christianapps4kids@gmail.com

Thank you! Feel free to Tweet, post on your Facebook wall, or share via email with other Christians in the industry.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Understanding the In-Between

They just couldn't wrap their brains around it. The in-between had them throwing questions at me left and right. We drove on slick roads in between two towns and they were confused. 

"Mom, where are we?"  
We just left Cleveland.  
"So, where are we?" 
We are in between Cleveland and Dayton.
 "So are we in Cleveland or Dayton?"
  Neither. 
We are in between. 
 "So are we in Dayton yet?" 
 No. 
We are in the middle.
"What's the middle?"
 It goes Cleveland, Dayton, then Liberty. That's where we are going. 
"So, where are we now?"
Everyone join me: draw in a deep breath and let it out slowly. 

The in between - it confused the mess out of my three, little, 5-year-old messes. In rapid-fire succession this conversation continued until I was able to say....YES! WE ARE FINALLY IN DAYTON!!!! 
"So, how long until Liberty?"
Well, now, we are in-between...again. 
And there I was face-to-face with my own confusion about living in the in-between. I've been sandwiched in between sickness and health, finding purpose in my career, wanting to do things for God that matter. Sometimes the in-between is difficult to understand. Sometimes it rubs our patience raw. We want the finish line, the trophy at the end of the game, the buzzer to go off.
But...
 LIFE IS LIVED IN THE IN-BETWEEN. 
Somehow, we must grasp this. We must be okay with our in-between or life will pass us by. God uses the in-between to prepare us for His kingdom. We partake in His suffering and one day we will partake in the place He has prepared for us.
I use to want to run ahead. I use to want the end-game. As God continues to work inside of me, I realize I want the in-between. I don't want to run ahead of God or I might not be ready for what He has for me.
Are you in between tonight?  Do you trust Him? His timing? He has promised to finish the good work He began in all of us. 

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Captivity

I have to give it up. I scrawled it on paper and placed it on the altar. I wrote it big and bold across my paper at She Speaks this past weekend. I threw it on the altar. I threw away it's hold on my mind and my body. I have been in captivity to:

FOOD
I know you are wondering how a girl that is allergic to so much would need to give up what she already can't eat. Maybe this will help you understand why:
ENTITLEMENT
See, a battle has been raging within me for three years. Since the day I kissed gluten and all my favorite pasta's and pizza's goodbye, I've been fighting a war of entitlement.  I wanted to throw every loaf of bread up against the wall on the bread aisle but I didn't because I didn't want to be put behind bars :).  But, from that day forward, the bars went up anyway. I became a captive to entitlement.
"Well, if I can't have pizza, then I will..."
...eat the entire box of gluten free m&m cookies - cause I can. And if I can't have a sandwich, then I will just eat the entire gluten free pizza that I was so blessed to find at Whole Foods bless you Whole Foods- cause I can. And if I can't eat what everyone else is having, then I'll just eat twice as much - cause I can. And here I sit- 15 pounds heavier than what is healthy for my height, constantly beating myself up, and chronically ignoring the sweet whisper of God to just...  
Let. It Go. 
A few weeks ago, I was in beat yourself up mode because I had blown it-again. I began to pray and confess that I don't have what it takes to eat right. As plain as if God was next to me, this sentence was whispered into my mind: 
"I want you to give up food, so I can give it back to you."
And I stopped cold. I'd been in a grudge match, white knuckles and all, over it from the very first day I was told that I either give up gluten or be sick for the rest of my life. I didn't want to be sick anymore.  But, when God spoke that sentence to my heart the other day; I realized something profound. The first hour I gave up all my favorite foods, I set food up on a throne. I made food an idol. Isn't that twisted?That I could give something up and place it on a throne all at the same time?  Sometimes, when we don't willingly give things up, they easily become idols. We want what we can't have. At that moment in time - I decided that I was owed those foods. I became an idolater.
I became devoted to food. 
I am not owed those foods. I am not owed blessings. I am not owed breath or life. I am not owed happiness or freedom. And I am not owed a skinny dress size. 
But, God...
He wants to give us good things. He not only wants us to be healed of our diseases, but to have lasting peace, happiness, and freedom. He pours grace all over us. It washes away our sins, our obsessions, and continually points us back to Him. He's stronger than any addiction or entitlement alike. He is El - the strong one. The exact name my name was placed on at She Speaks. Oh, how I need to stand on His name! To count on Him to be exactly who He is...
Strong, Mighty, & Powerful
So, today, I ask you?  What is God gently asking you to surrender? I know it's so hard, but God is teaching me that when I am obedient in surrendering what He has asked me to, He gives me more of Himself. When I have more of Him, I have more freedom, more healing, and more peace.

Who is the King of glory? The LORD, strong and mighty, the LORD, invincible in battle." Psalm 24:8  

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

When You're Beating Yourself Up

I'm not artistic. And that just might be the understatement of the year. Matter of fact, I found a train that Baby A crafted with tape, construction paper, and string that blows 29 years of stick people out of the water. 

I'm not organized. It took me 3 years to get all my bills filed into folders and put in the proper place and that was only yesterday in case you are taking notes. 

I'm not good with technology. Robb says I can mess up a piece of technology just by looking at it. I'm beginning to believe him. Don't you dare tell him that. His head just might swell like the mean 'ole grinches heart. 

I take pictures of my children that never make it off the SD card, although I love taking them in the moment. I'm not much for washing dishes, but I do love to cook. I love having dogs, but I love when Robb feeds and waters them. 

The truth is, we all have strengths and weaknesses. Wouldn't life be boring if we all looked the same?  Next week, I'll be 1 of over 600 women at a Christian conference-all with the desire to use our gifts for God. Will our gifts be different - yes! Will some of us share similar giftings - yes! 

It doesn't really matter which gift you have, as long as you are using what God gave you. If I'm not careful, and I take my eyes off of who God made me to be, I will start comparing myself to everyone else. 

And there goes my hamster wheel... "Oh man, what a HUGE testimony she has" or  "Wow, she speaks 5 languages and is a size negative 2" If one thing is for sure, comparison will get us into a pit faster than anything. We can't be who God wants us to be if our eyes are on everyone else. 
 Here is one of my favorite verses when I'm throwing my self-esteem up against the wall: 
"Let your eyes be turned to Him and you will have light, and your faces will not be ashamed." Psalm 34:5 Bible in Basic English

If you're struggling with finding your place in ministry and comparing your gifts with others, start by discovering your spiritual gift. Over the years, my spiritual gifts have changed slightly. One remains dominant, but my sub-gifts move around a bit. Everyone has at least one and some of you might have many. THIS site offers a great spiritual gift analysis and is the one I use. Consider what the Bible says about spiritual gifts in Ephesians 4:11-13:


"Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ. This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ."  New Living Translation

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Seeing in the Storm

Stop. Breathe.
However, it needs to happen--it's time to rest. 
I have a confession:
I've been keeping 8 am to 1 am hours. 
You're right, those hours are for the insane. 
Last year, as I was flying home from She Speaks we flew over a storm.
 I had literally chased God to the conference. My health had declined so badly I was willing to fly over 1,000 miles to see what God had for me. Would He heal me there? Would He connect me with someone that could unlock the mystery behind my illness? Would He show me the purpose behind my physical pain? When I left for She Speaks, I had trouble driving five minutes down the road to Wal-Mart, much less flying alone to another state, rooming with a stranger, and eating food I was probably allergic to. 
On the return trip home, I felt God's presence and then He gave me a large dose of perspective.
We flew above and beside a raging storm. 
I could see the rain flooding the green Earth below. 
I could see the thunderhead billowing upwards toward the sky. 
I imagined all the people below.
Soaking up the rain.
Running from the rain.
Playing in the rain. 
From where my plane soared through the air, I could see the full perspective of the storm.
I knew if I had been on the ground, I would have looked up and seen only darkness.
I would have seen black skies, heard the thunder, and run inside to escape my circumstances.
But, from the plane--I could see things differently. Above the massive, gray thunderhead was the reflection of the sun.
 It sparkled on the top of the same gray cloud that was showering the Earth and wreaking havoc below. 
It was in that moment that I was able to SEE. It was a reminder that I was not God. I can't see like Him. He is El Roi- the God who sees both above and below the storm. 
He is able to give us rest, perspective, and His peace no matter what side of the storm we are on. 
If you are in the storm -- the storm of busy, or sickness, or financial hardship, or loss--you can rest assured that He is good. He is good no matter what.

"Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me--watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly."
Matthew 11:29 & 30 The Message


Saturday, July 2, 2011

Fourth of July Freebie!

Happy Fourth of July! If you've noticed that I've been scarce it's because a certain triplet spilled water on my computer. It came on after hours of drying out only to power down and quit working again. But, let's move on to happier times: a fourth of July freebie for YOU!

For those of you who don't already know, I have started a new writing venture. In about six weeks I will have two book apps for children coming out on iPad and iPhone for kids ages 2-8. These are books for the Christian market. Along the way I met a nice guy named Andrew Hoyer, a fellow app developer who has agreed to give away some of his Christian flashcards to three of my wonderful readers. Yes, I already told him how great ya'll are. These flashcards  would be great reading practice for early readers. They feature Bible related pictures with their accompanying word.


Three of you will win a free download for your iPad or iPhone. But, don't worry, if you don't have an iPad or iPhone, but know someone who does, you can re-gift the code to a friend. These would make great gifts for a child or grandchild!
Here is how you can win:


1. You must leave a comment on the blog so I know you have entered.
2. You can go to my new author page on Facebook HERE and "like" my page .
3. Or you can become a follower of Jessie's House directly on the blog. To follow on the blog, simply follow the left hand column down until you see the word Follow. Click it and then it will show you what to do from there. 
4. To follow Jessie's House via networked blogs on Facebook click HERE.  


Please share freely a link to this contest to help Andrew get some exposure for his flashcards. But, don't forget to leave me a comment or I won't know that you entered! So, who is Andrew Hoyer?
Andrew Hoyer has been in the software and web development industry for over ten years and has recently started developing for mobile devices. He has a number of apps on the App Store, including a couple of children's flash card apps.These apps, titled "Little Scribes" have a Biblical theme and are made up of 100% custom artwork. Andrew has two kids of his own, plays Chess competitively, and loves being his own personal chef. You can connect with Andrew several ways: 


1. Via Facebook: facebook.com/littlescribes
2. Via Twitter: twitter.com/littlescribes
3. His personal blog: http://trooperscoop.blogspot.com or on his website http://www.andrewhoyer.com