Why We Need to Go Through Fire

Why We Need to Go Through Fire

This week I would like to welcome Ronne Rock to the blog. Ronne and I had an open honest conversation on By His Grace this week about church hurt, and loving the body of Christ. Ronne is a woman passionate about loving and serving her creator on the mission field of life. Today she shares why we need to go through the fire. Please welcome Ronne Rock to the blog.


Why We Need to Go Through Fire

by Ronne Rock

“I don’t get why there has to be pain. I don’t understand God’s purpose in it – it’s not fair.”

Looking back on all the prayer requests and emails and comments I’ve received when I’ve asked, “how may I pray for you right now – what’s going on in your life?” the subject that eclipses all others is pain and suffering. There are volumes of good theological discourse on why pain exists in the first place, and wonderful studies done on pain’s purpose in our bodies. What’s been churning around in my heart lately is neither.

It’s been 19 years since my mom took her last breath on this earth. And this year, there will be both the ache of her absence and the rise of fresh bravery to live my days fully in her honor.

I don’t have answers to every “why” of pain, but one of the most powerful things I’ve learned about its usefulness is the power of scorched earth.

Yes, scorched earth.   

Each time I visit LaPaz, Honduras, to spend time with the children of Niños Comúnidad, I ask if we can stop by the foundry where aluminum pots and kitchen utensils are made. We first visited one several years ago, when a local friend asked if we’d like to see a small miracle in the making. Our van wound through narrow streets for a bit, and we then parked next to a rusted corrugated metal wall. The smell of petroleum and earth was thick in the air, and waves of heat flushed our faces as we entered the yard. On the other side of the wall, men were working – all in tattered clothes and flip flops. A fire blazed in one corner of the yard to transform recycled metal into brilliant red liquid, and under a thatched roof that offered a bit of shade, the molten metal was being poured through small holes in hand-crafted molds. Bowls, plates, and large cooking pots were being made that day.

The red-hot aluminum reaches 1000 degrees before it’s poured. The laborers’ feet and hands are marked with scars – something they say is a harsh reminder of the road marked with purpose.

That first foundry in the community was started by a man who learned the art of casting pots from his grandfather. While there are factories in other parts of the world that make the same type of thing, he wanted to retain the heritage and dignity of the craft. So, he set up shop in a struggling neighborhood and made jobs available for men who desperately needed a way to earn a living.

Each item produced means a bit of money in empty pockets, and even more money can be made if the men are willing to travel. It’s difficult work, but the sense of pride in craftsmanship is evident in everyone’s faces. The work of their hands feeds their families and pays for electricity and helps start new businesses so more people can work.

Last October, friends and I visited a new foundry, located behind a small home and storefront in the same neighborhood. A growing business meant new opportunity for more men who had been trained to cast, and this new location allowed each of us to get even closer to the detailed work being done.

Metal had just been poured and large aluminum pots were cooling to the side. Two of the men looked at each other, smiled, and began a friendly competition to prepare the next casts. There was a rhythm in their well-honed labor, as they shoveled dirt into the wooden frames, packed it with their feet, trimmed it with knives, and carefully examined their work. Over and over, the process continued.

Shovel, pack, trim, examine.

Two frames would be carefully packed, and then the bowl or plate or pot would be added and packed into place with hammers, then even more carefully removed to reveal the shape to come.

We were captivated by the process, mesmerized by the joy of the workers as they had the rare chance to show off their skills. There was no vocational school or university to teach them; no, everything they had learned had come from the classroom of experience and fire and earth.

Yes, scorched earth.

You see, the dirt used by the foundry laborers to create tools used to prepare meals that feed bellies and bring life has to undergo its own transformation before it can transform molten metal. 

It has to go through fire.

The workers walk to a nearby dry riverbed and bring the soil of clay and sand. It is sifted first to remove rocks and debris, and then it is set ablaze. The fire changes the chemical composition of the soil, making it stronger, more resilient, and more malleable.

Only then can it hold its shape and cradle its creation.

The fire gives the soil greater purpose. It gives the soil life.

There’s something about fire.

In Guatemala, the volcano Fuego spews smoke and ash daily, and its lava streams threaten those who live below. It is hell-bent on destruction – and yet, life emerges. Its sister volcano, Acatenango, bears the brunt of Fuego’s fury and yet is home to some of the most robust coffee plantations in the country. Fuego’s fire is fuel for Acatenango’s strength.

Gold must melt to remove its impurities so that it becomes worthy to wear as a covenant symbol. Minerals moved through fire become glass and pottery that only then is used to pour out and serve. And you and I, moved through fire, become too. What we become depends on our response to that fire. Again, I don’t have answers to every “why” of pain, but I do pray we are unafraid to become scorched earth through its presence in our lives, and let pain become a road marked with purpose. I pray that with the ache comes the bravery.

I pray that the fire gives us greater purpose, and gives us life. Click To Tweet


Ronne Rock believes that you are hand-crafted by God for a life that is rich and vibrant and filled with stories. She travels the world to find hope and restoration in the midst of brokenness, and she invests in the lives of women to provide encouragement and wisdom for faith’s journeys. Connect with her on Facebook, Instagram, or on her website at RonneRock.com.

Ronne Rock

Tell stories that change stories.

writer | speaker | advocate | adventurer

Website: ronnerock.com

T/IG: @ronnerock

FB: facebook.com/RonneRockWrites


Hey friends, Got lots of exciting things going on behind the scenes. Be sure to sign up to receive the latest updates.

Much Love,

 

Misty Phillip

Can You Stop a Mom?

Can You Stop a Mom?

The long awaited day had finally arrived. It was months in the planning. Everything needed to be just right.  I spent hours searching online, for the perfect decorations, and yummy food for a couple’s bridal shower, well not a just a couples shower, but two couples showers.

I was standing in my kitchen talking to a sweet friend, who had come to share a devotional for the young couples. She was commenting on how beautiful everything was, and how wonderful the food turned out. She said,” You are amazing! I can’t believe you did all of this!”  That is when it hit me, how do you stop a mom? But we’ll come back to that in a minute.

What made my friend think I was so amazing? Well, six weeks earlier I was riding bicycles with my boys. My oldest son Jacob was training for the MS150, a 150-mile ride from Houston, Texas to Austin, Texas to raise money for Multiple Sclerosis. Jacob, my youngest son, and I set out to go for a ride. As soon as we got to the trail my oldest son took off. The big ride was going to happen soon, and he needed to train.

Ian and I ambled from one park to another enjoying our ride and time together. I thought I was so clever. Attaching my phone to the front of my bike with Velcro, so that I could track my fitness, and control my music.

It was a beautiful day, and we were on a trail in the middle of the woods, that runs along a creekside. When all of a sudden around the 15-mile mark, my phone started to slip out of the Velcro, and my headphones were yanked out of my ears. I was afraid that they would get caught in the tire, and make me wreck. So without thinking, I reached for my phone with my right hand, and I squeezed the front break with my left hand, and came to a screeching halt! I was catapulted straight over the top of the handlebars, and without thinking, I put my hands out to brace my fall and snapped both of my arms.

Without thinking, I reached for my phone with my right hand, and I squeezed the front break with my left hand, I came to a screeching halt! I was catapulted straight over the top of the handlebars. I wasn’t wearing a helmet, and without thinking, I put my hands out t brace my fall, and snapped both of my arms! My left arm was nearly a compound fracture, and both my Ulna and Radius were broken. Fortunately, I only broke the Radius in my right arm, but that meant that I had two broken arms, and needed surgery to repair them. I had three plates and twenty screws inserted into my forearms.

My surgeon said it could take three months to a year for me to heal. Click To Tweet

Three months to a year? What? What did he just say?

At my follow up appointment two weeks after surgery I asked him, “How soon I can drive?” and he just laughed at me. I am a busy wife and mom. I have a husband and three boys and I am a busy homeschool mom.

I don’t have time to slow down, or stop for that matter!

If you are a mom then you know the drill. Someone is always vying for our attention, needs something, or we just run from one activity with our kids to the next. Which brings me back to that question. That question, that struck me so profound, that I couldn’t get it out of my head. As I was standing in the kitchen talking to my friend, and she was saying I can’t believe you did all of this, with two broken arms!

I simply replied, “ How do you stop a mom?”

But the fact of the matter is I did stop. I had to stop. I couldn’t brush my teeth or hair, feed myself, dress myself or bath. I couldn’t do anything for myself, or anything around the house. I couldn’t drive, grocery shop, laundry or cook for months. Besides hosting that bridal shower, I pretty much didn’t do anything else for almost a year! The one thing I could do was pray, and I spent a lot of time talking to God!

God showed me there was nothing that I needed to do for HIM, and that even in the midst of my sin, Jesus gave His life up for me. During that time He showed me how much he truly loved me, and cared for me. He ministered to my soul in ways I didn’t even know I needed. It is definitely not what I would have chosen for myself, but I wouldn’t exchange that precious time spent with the Lord.

Unexpected Events

Unexpected Events

We all face trials in life, some big ones, some small ones, and others that require a healthy dose of longsuffering. Today I welcome my friend Karen Smith to the blog. Karen has faced many difficult struggles in her life and has put her faith and trust in God to see her through her darkest days. Nothing is wasted in God’s Kingdom economy. Please welcome Karen Smith to the blog today.


Unexpected Events

By Karen Smith

Unexpected events sometimes happen in our lives.  We are caught off guard. I don’t know about you, but when unexpected events occur, I often feel that I am not emotionally prepared to handle such circumstances.  Sometimes my eyes leak tears, or sometimes my mouth spills not lovely words. Other times, I’m left speechless.

As I shared with you, I had an unexpected event that brought many tears to my eyes.  I had a 9-year-old and an 11-year-old. The diaper days were completed and the baby items sold.  Until….the unexpected pregnancy came and brought much surprise into my life. I had been sick and couldn’t seem to shake the sickness, or so I thought.   Then one evening we walked into a fast food restaurant and that all too familiar morning sickness hit my stomach with a vengeance. The stop at the store for a pregnancy test soon confirmed my suspicions–my illness wasn’t a virus; it was a baby.  Not just any baby, but an unwanted baby! What made matters worse was I had a friend that had been unsuccessful at conceiving a new baby, and now I was pregnant with one I didn’t think I wanted. The tears began to flow. For two weeks, I cried almost non stop before the realization that life would go on began to settle in.  

Unexpected events can bring sadness into our lives and cause tears to spill from our eyes. Click To Tweet

A few years ago, my husband’s health had been declining.  He had been on short term disability as he was recovering from a difficult chemo season.  He was preparing to go back to his job as a physicist. As he was getting ready for his first day back at work, he took a fall in the bathroom.  It was soon evident to me that he had a leg that would not hold any weight. A trip to the ER was in his future, and not the day at work he had planned.  It didn’t take long for us to discover he had a broken hip. This season of chemo recovery, a broken hip, and ALL three of my children came down with head lice I was not prepared for this season of unexpected events.  Yes, some tears leaked from my eyes, but more than tears were the ugly words that raged out of my mouth.

Where was God?

Was He even looking at me?

How much more did He think I could handle?

I think there were many words that I shall not repeat as well. My son stated it so eloquently one night, “Mom, I’ve heard you say more curse words in the last few weeks than I have heard you say in your entire life.”  Unexpected events can illicit undesirable actions!

A few months ago, I had a doctor insist that I attend an eating disorder treatment center.  In a week and a half, my life went from what I thought was reasonable to unraveled. It felt like I was walking in a cloud.  Everything was moving forward, but I was oblivious to its movement. The paperwork, the medical tests, the saying goodbye to my family, the arrival at a treatment center were all a blur.  Even though I was the primary participant in all these events, it did not seem real. Two weeks into treatment, I begin to start to feel again. I remember scratching my head thinking how in the world did I get here?  How did I agree to this? Unexpected events can paralyze us and make us a spectator to our own life.

We all have stories.  Every single one of you could take different situations and plug them into mine.  Unexpected events that have left you with tears or questions and not lovely words or situations that have caused you to be a spectator to your own life.  

Your stories are different, but the result is the same.

The more experience I have, the more I am learning to do three things that help me walk through unexpected events better.  When I can remember to do these three things, it allows me to have a much different response to unexpected events.

  1. Remember God’s faithfulness in the past.  When circumstances steal my joy, recalling the times in my life that God has been present and carried me through help bring a calm assurance into my heart.  It brings confidence that God hasn’t left me in the past and He will not leave me in the future. Our God is steadfast in love and faithfulness. Psalms 86:15 states,  “But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.”

 

  1. Sing loudly.  Go ahead and laugh now, but I mean it.  Sing His praises. My God is a big God and is worthy of praise.  No unexpected event is bigger than God! So go ahead and sing loudly about our awesome God.  For real, He determines the number of stars and gives them a name so He surely can handle my unexpected storm. “He determines the number of the stars; he gives to all of them their names. Great is our Lord, and abundant in power; his understanding is beyond measure.”  Psalm 147:4-5

 

  1. Hold hands with a friend.  This number three is harder for me than number one and two.  I am a do it by yourself kind of girl. I like to hold my struggles close, not allowing others to enter into my world.  However, Scripture says in Galatians 6:2, “Bear one another’s burden and so fulfill the law of Christ.” Allowing others to enter our world encourages us to keep going.  Allowing others to hold our hands gives us the security to face unexpected events. Hold hands with a friend, let a friend bear your burden.

 

When unexpected events come raging into your life, I challenge you to remember to claim God’s faithfulness, sing loud and hold hands with a friend.  These three things will surely help you navigate the next unexpected season.


 

Karen lives in Huntsville, Alabama with her husband and three (20, 18 and 9-year-old) children.  She has served as Preschool and Children’s Minister and Women’s Ministry Leader.  When her older children were younger she directed a MOPS group.  She has also taught 2nd grade at Freedom Project Academy.  

Currently, she homeschools her youngest as well as caregiving to her husband.  Karen’s husband suffers from a debilitating disease known as Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis. Karen loves to minister to women in crisis.  She spends many hours in hospitals alongside those who need to know they are seen and loved. Karen speaks at Women’s Conferences and has a passion to help women learn to connect with one another.  She has come to understand that much of aloneness in life is not someone else’s fault, rather it’s each’s own inability to receive.  She also teaches women that in their brokenness, they are not disqualified from serving God and others.  In fact, in the middle of brokenness she teaches women the secrets of what she has learned in order that they may live life with more love, grace, and gratitude in the middle of brokenness.

Karen regularly shares glimpses of their faith and struggles with others, via her blog.  She has encountered what it means to be stripped of everything that seems normal to her all the way down to what she puts in her mouth.  But after being stripped down, she sees how God is using some of the darkest places in her life to comfort others in their darkest moments!  

Karen blogs at www.glimpsesoffaithandstruggles.com

You can find Karen online:

https://www.facebook.com/glimpsesoffaithandstruggles8694/

https://twitter.com/kksmith8694

https://www.instagram.com/kksmith8694/


 

Unexpected things may take us by surprise by God is never caught off guard. He has a plan for our lives, and it is a good one. We can trust him with the unexpected events in our lives. I sure enjoyed this post by Karen Smith today, and I hope you did too!

I have some exciting news to share with you today!

Karen Smith and I are both contributors to a ministry called A Wife Like Me  We wrote a book to address the need for wives wanting to grow deeper in connection with their husbands. The book is called Dear Wife and it comes out May 1st, but is available now for pre-order on Amazon at Dear Wife Book.

Dear Wife provides you with twenty-six heart changing invitations to discover how Christ desires connection with you and how through connection with Christ, you’ll develop a deeper connection with your husband. In this book, you will: Replace boring and busy with building deep intimacy and love, Swap ongoing complacency with an intentional connection, Spend guided alone time with your husband and God, Experience more depth in your marriage relationship, Restore and build a connection with God and with your husband. For more information visit Dear Wife Book.

Thanks so much for joining us here today! Remember, you are never alone in your struggle, and God is always there to see you through!

Much Love,

 

 

Misty Phillip

Staying Awake – Rachel Bruno

Staying Awake – Rachel Bruno

Sometimes in life, we are going along just fine, and then out of nowhere, our world is turned upside! It may be a phone call, a job loss, an illness or any number of things can derail us. It is during those times that our faith in God is the lifeline that can sustain us and see us through. My guest today Rachel Bruno life was completely turned upside down when her baby suffered a head injury from her nanny, and the story that unfolded is truly unbelievable. You will definitely want to listen to Episode 12: Rachel Bruno – When Your World is Turned Upside Down.  Today Rachel shares encouragement about staying spiritual awake. Please welcome Rachel Bruno to By His Grace today.


Staying Awake

by Rachel Bruno

Shortly before his last Passover meal with his disciples, Jesus taught his disciples about his second coming (Mark 13). Then he warns them three times in the next five verses to “stay awake” since they couldn’t know when Jesus would return (vv 33-37).  He concludes with the direct, “And what I say to you I say to all: Stay awake.” Think he’s trying to tell us something?

Then Jesus returned to the disciples and found them sleeping. “Were you not able to keep watch with Me for one hour?” He asked Peter. “Watch and pray so that you will not enter into temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak.” Matthew 26:40-41

Luke 22:45 says they fell asleep “out of sheer sorrow”, not because it was late and they were tired after a long day, not even because of the wine they’d drunk at the supper. They fell asleep because they were disconsolate, disappointed, confused, depressed. And, because of that sleep, they missed the lesson they were supposed to learn from watching Jesus in his prayer.

I can truly relate to the disciples right now, as 2018 ended on a very disappointing note for me. I’m writing this devotional to myself. Many of you know the legal (mostly spiritual) battle that has engrossed my life for the past 3 years. It was all supposed to come to a glorious end at trial in 2019, with justice being served. After 18 months of preparing for trial, my husband and I ultimately decided to settle the case out of court. I won’t get in to all the legal mumbo jumbo that led to our decision, but I will say it was not the “desire of my flesh” and I did it purely out of obedience to God. Over the next few days after our decision, including Christmas Day, I couldn’t cast off the feeling of utter failure, disappointment, confusion, and depression much like the disciples after Jesus prophesied about His death.

Mark captures the failure of the disciples to hear and obey Jesus’ teaching to stay awake. Click To Tweet

Mark captures the failure of the disciples to hear and obey Jesus’ teaching to stay awake. Of course, Jesus was talking about more than just avoiding falling asleep while we pray. He was giving instruction about our spiritual awareness. With the repetitive command to stay awake, Jesus spoke to all his disciples throughout the ages about the need to remain alert. We fall asleep out of sorrow whenever we become so confused and overwhelmed by some kind of disappointment that we begin to act out of hostility rather than love, paranoia rather than trust, despair rather than hope. We fall asleep out of sorrow whenever we sell short what’s highest in us because of the bitterness of the moment.

So what have I learned through all this? Jesus’ passionate praying before his betrayal prepared him to receive God’s will—even in suffering and death—with power and grace.  If I am to stay awake in the midst of a world in spiritual numbness, then I need to be diligent in prayer. Also, as shown in the Garden of Gethsemane, the intrinsic connection between suffering and transformation and the necessity, in that process, of being willing to carry tension, disappointment, and unfairness without giving into despair. Okay. So, now, I will stop venting and start praying because I don’t need sympathy, I need strength. My new year’s resolution for 2019 is to stay awake.


Thanks so much for joining us today! I have some exciting things in the works that I can’t wait to share with you! Make sure you sign up to receive the latest!

Much Love,

 

Misty Phillip

Communicating in a Way Your Husband Can Understand

Communicating in a Way Your Husband Can Understand

This week on By His Grace Podcast author Charity Bradshaw and I talk about the importance of communication in marriage. Communication or lack of communication is one of the biggest problems that affect couples today. So excited to introduce you to Charity and Ted Bradshaw! Their new book Staying I Do: Committed, Connected & Crazy in Love for a Lifetime is available for pre-order now and launches March 5, 2019.

Today Charity challenges wives to clearly communicate with their husbands. Please welcome Charity Bradshaw to the blog today.


Communicating in a Way Your Husband Can Understand

by Charity Bradshaw

Movies, sitcoms, books and magazines have conditioned us to believe that husbands can read our minds. “How to give him ‘THE LOOK’ that says it all” and other ridiculous headlines convince us that nothing needs to come out of our mouths in order for them to know what’s on our mind. FALSE.

“Charity, that’s #obvi.”

Oh really? 

Tell me you’ve never: 

  • thought your husband would put away the dishes without having to be asked after you had a really long day?
  • waited to see if he would notice and comment when you come out of the bathroom with your hair and makeup done?
  • craved his affection but made yourself wait until it came from his own initiative?

It couldn’t have been because he wasn’t picking up what you were putting down in your thoughts, was it? Of course, not. It’s because he’s a mind-reader and knew what you wanted but didn’t do it anyway, right? No! 

Laides, here’s the truth: Men are not as complicated as we are. Many men successfully and joyfully live in the now, focusing on one task at a time, one thought at a time. While that beautiful simplicity sometimes makes me jealous (because it seems so serene), it can also be a point of frustration. 

If I don’t intentionally remember how my husband is wired, I may actually get mad at him for something I thought he should do (but never mentioned out loud) that he didn’t end up doing. I know, I’m the only one. This idea of mind-reading is a God-sized expectation we put on our ever-so-human spouse. Sure, there may be times after years of knowing you that your husband can predict your needs or desires, but in the here and now, we need to function in a way that builds a marriage that thrives.

This ‘unspoken’ habit can wear down a relationship if not reversed. Click To Tweet

(Spoiler Alert: It is totally fixable and avoidable.)

Let’s start with the fact that husbands can only address things they are AWARE OF and REMEMBER.

Let me give you an example. I love when my husband writes me notes or letters. I am a ‘words of affirmation’ gal and enjoy reading and rereading his writings to me often. While we were dating, I told him about my love for letters and he acknowledged it. He did mention it was out of his wheelhouse but was willing to do it because he knew how much it meant to me.

Fast forward several months into our marriage and I noticed the note-writing had slowed down. I had two choices: become resentful, crunchy and bitter from not receiving letters, OR remind him that I would love for him to write to me and give him room to meet that desire. He’s not forgetting on purpose, it’s just not always front of mind when I would like one.

Pride convinces us to deny ourselves the love and affection we desire. It tells us to hold out, keep quiet and wait for it, all the while fueling the anger from unmet expectations within us.

Friends, this is a vicious cycle. It is self-destruction masked as an offense committed against us.

Humility, however, allows us to love ourselves enough to acknowledge and validate our need, as well as ask our spouse for it. I did (and continue to) let my husband know what my need is and how I would like for him to meet it. 

One of the things my husband loves most about me is that he always knows where he stands with me. He trusts that I will let him know if one of my love-tanks is running low or empty. He knows that I will include him in what I’m thinking by sharing it with him. 

Some of us get hung up on to the part of that quote, “…and if necessary, use words.” The words that come out of our mouth give us the best chance of getting our point across. If you have been withholding yourself by not communicating your needs or desires with your husband and then found yourself mad at him because he wasn’t reading your mind, I encourage you to set this record straight. 

First, apologize. Tell him what’s been going on and perhaps it will explain why he’s been feeling you were on edge lately. Promise to work on using words, not brainwaves, to communicate openly and honestly with him. Help him build trust in you that he will always know where he stands with you.

This is really a gift to yourself.

The enemy would like nothing more than to destroy the witness or testimony of your marriage. Personally, I am fan of the “a good offense is a good offense” strategy. Don’t wait for trouble to find your marriage, then simply try to fix it.

Use your words, now.

Open, honest (and audible) communication is the ounce of prevention that renders nearly all problems that could test a marriage, powerless.

Open, honest (and audible) communication is the ounce of prevention that renders nearly all problems that could test a marriage, powerless. Click To Tweet

“Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.” Ephesians 4:15 NIV


Charity Bradshaw is a wife, mother of four, author and entrepreneur. She is an expert at helping people who want to write a book become authors through Launch Author Coaching, her live 12-week virtual program. She is the President of LifeWise Books, a publishing house catering to authors with meaningful messages looking for top-notch service matched with honesty and integrity.
Charity and her husband, Ted married in 2002. Between their wild life of parenting four big personalities and rewatching their favorite episodes of The Office, they co-authored Staying I Do: Committed, Connected, & Crazy in Love For a Lifetime helping couples connect to the amazing benefits of marriage.

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Gospel of Matthew

Gospel of Matthew

As an author and blogger, I have the opportunity to read and review many books. I am selective in the books I choose review because I want to make sure what I select will serve my readers well. This past summer I sat at the feet of Jesus with a group of friends feasting on the teaching of Jesus in The Sermon on the Mount. The Gospel of Matthew is so rich in content, and Alabaster brings the book to life in a beautiful way. So after taking one look at The Gospel of Mathew by Alabaster Co, I jumped at the chance to review this to share with you.

 

 

The Gospel of Matthew is one of the many beautiful books and sleek designs by Alabaster Co that showcases the books of the Bible. I was immediately drawn to their high-quality design and amazing look and feel. From the moment you open the book through the credits the stunning visuals in the book coupled with the beauty of the gospel produces a coffee table worthy book that will draw people in and begs them to pick it up and dive in to reading it.

 

 

 

Something special happens when beauty, culture, and faith intersect, and that something is exemplified in the Gospel Of Matthew by Alabaster Co. Click To Tweet

The book begins with an artist Introduction, “When thinking of Matthew, the Sermon on the Mount is often the first part of the text that comes to mind. Jesus offers a reimagined, upsidedown kingdom through his new teachings, one where everyone – regardless of social or financial status – is invited…Our culture is constantly searching for the beginning. We are frenetically searching for ‘the next thing’ that will satisfy us. Yet in the hunt for fulfillment, what if the teachings Jesus offers here is the beginning we long for? What if Jesus’ upside down kingdom brings us the life we need? Here is The Gospel Of Matthew.”

 

The Gospel of Matthew comes to life through the New Living Translation and the sleek modern design and pictures.

 

The Alabaster Story

Alabaster Co. began late one night when friends Bryan Chung and Brian Chung were deep in discussion on creativity and God. Reflecting on the direction culture was taking toward visual images, innovation and design, an idea was born: create a brand passionate about fully exploring the intersection of creativity, beauty, and faith.

Realizing that beauty is a foundational value when talking about creativity and God, they decided to name the company Alabaster, after one of the only times Jesus uses the word beautiful in the Gospels. In Mark 14:1-9, a woman breaks an alabaster jar of incredibly expensive perfume onto Jesus’ head. Many people in the room scoff at her and say what she has done is a complete waste. But Jesus defends the woman saying, “leave her alone, why do you bother her? What she has done is a beautiful thing.” It is this complete act of sacrificial giving which Jesus calls – in the original greek – kalos, which literally means beautiful as a sign of inward goodness. We wanted to have this same level of intentionality and thoughtfulness as the woman did as we created Alabaster.

 

Alabaster is giving away this beautiful set of the gospels!

 

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Hope you check out this gem from Alabaster Co. and stay tuned for more great book recommendations. I am working on several book launch teams and will be sharing some other great reads with you all very soon! 

Much Love,

Misty Phillip

Finding Hope in Grief 

My guest on By His Grace this week Lauren Birchmire and I are kindred spirits when it comes to grief and loss. We both experienced the loss of our father’s suddenly and had to get married without our Daddy’s to give us away. We both know the anguish that comes from losing a child, and our hopes being crushed. But we also know that where there are deep wounds there is deep grace that comes from Jesus. When we cast our cares on Jesus we exchange our heavy burden for His peace that transcends our understanding. Lauren shares a little more of her story on the blog today. She offers some practical tips and advice on how to help a friend or loved one who is grieving.


Finding Hope in Grief 

by Lauren Birchmire

We use the word hope in many ways; I hope my children behave today, I wish the monthly budget is balanced, I want to get that raise, I hope my husband starts listening to me more, I think I can get this “to do list” done today.

It’s not wrong to hope for these things, but it can turn into hurt or hang-up when we ONLY put our hope in earthly thinking. I’ve hoped in the same way. I longed for my husband to stop drinking, I desired a healthy child.

I hoped for the miracle that didn’t come.

I’ve learned I can’t put my hope in just earthly events. We live in a fallen world, and it doesn’t work as God created. I have to remind myself daily of this truth. I ask God for peace and to put my peace and hope in Christ.

When you lose something so precious, we can either ground ourselves in that hurt; and be bitter or say to God, USE IT.

I have hoped and grieved a few times in this earthly life.

I suddenly lost my father to pancreatic cancer. We had no idea he had cancer until two weeks before he passed.

I’ve grieved my husband being an alcoholic, and not trusting him any longer.

Thankfully, by the grace of God, we will celebrate six years of sobriety in March. In April of 2017, we found out the news that our first child, our daughter Makena, would be born with a heart defect. We had two precious weeks of parenting her before her first surgery in late August of 2017. She had her second surgery on September the 6th, about 12 hours after that second surgery she went into sudden cardiac arrest, and went to heaven. We will never know this side of heaven why she went into cardiac arrest. My daughter lived for 3 ½ weeks.

These hurts that have occurred in my life have provided me the opportunity to learn about grieving well and finding hope in Christ. Click To Tweet

You might be feeling the stain of grief or some other emotions, but one thing I know for sure, YOU’RE NOT ALONE!

We grieve many things in this life, loss of job, money, a hurt that a loved one caused, separation from family or friends, the death of a loved one, etc.

We need to grieve and allow others to mourn too.

We are a society that pushes things away; if I pretend it is not there, then I won’t feel it.

That is a lie from Satan; he loves to twist the truth and make it sound so believable. We enter a pit of despair that we feel there is no escaping, but There is a way out! God provides the way, and through entering into that pain; you will come out the other side.

This does not mean the grief ends. It can hit you on the most mundane moment in a day, one simple memory will provide a puddle of tears, but I know who is collecting all those tears…Jesus. He will walk through that grief with you if you allow it. I had days that I would start sobbing while changing the laundry over because it reminded me of all the baby clothes I washed and prepped for Makena. I sobbed while washing the dishes because I felt I should be washing bottles or her little body instead.

I say to enter the pain, feel it, allow yourself to cry and cry out to God; He can take it, the good, the bad, the ugly. HE wants to hear it ALL.

Do not fear to reach out to someone you trust to share these deep hurts with, find a trusted Christian counselor, dive into a bible study about grief and loss, or find a Celebrate Recovery group near you. I’ve done all these suggested, and it allowed me to be in a healthy place with my grief; that I could not have done without Christ.

We aren’t meant to do grief alone.

What can you do for a friend or loved one who is grieving?

  • BE PRESENT!
  • Offer to do those dishes or laundry, sit with them and listen, watch a movie, and offer more than once.
  • Don’t try to keep the pain away, but enter it with them. Don’t say the cliche things like “oh they’re in a better place,” “oh they wouldn’t want you sad,” “Thank goodness the illness was short, not drawn out.” Or “at least you had time to say goodbye.” Lastly, the biggest one of all, “God must have needed them.” God doesn’t need anyone; we need him!
  • Don’t say the contrite things as it just makes that person feel like they shouldn’t grieve. Be present, offer to help, listen, validate their feelings, speak God’s truth to them lovingly when Satan tries to whisper lies to them. That is it. If they cry, go ahead and cry with them. When we grief well it keeps us healthy and prevents us from seeking other hang-ups or habits that bring us into bondage, not freedom.

I do have some earthly hope, our second daughter will make her entrance in about eight weeks, but my daily hope that gets me through each hardship, each day of grief is that this life is temporary in the long term and one day it will all be set right.

God never wastes a hurt if you allow Him to use it. Click To Tweet

God has called me into public speaking on grief, addictions, and hope. My loving husband and I are starting a ministry called, Makena Ministries “United in Tragedy to bring hope” I believe God is using my story to share what true hope in living in Christ’s care can do even in the darkest of circumstances.


Nothing is impossible with God! He makes beauty from the ashes and promises to carry us through the storms of life. For more information about Makena Ministries, you can email the Birchmire’s at birchmire@icloud.com.

We are celebrating the 10th episode of By His Grace today!! If you are enjoying these podcasts would you mind sharing your favorite episode with your friends? Also, you can subscribe under the podcast tab or on iTunes and they will come straight to your inbox each week. Hope you have a great week!

Much Love,

 

Misty Phillip

Finding Purpose After the Pain

Finding Purpose After the Pain

When we give God the brokenness and pain we endure in this life, and we allow him to heal our hearts, we become beautiful instruments of his love and grace. This week on the podcast my guest Stephanie Scott shares the painful wounds of losing a child, and how God’s amazing grace brought healing and comfort in her life. Today on the blog she shares how God took one of life’s most difficult losses and turned it for good. Stephanie recounts how she now has found purpose in pain.



by Stephanie Scott

Writing this was beyond my wildest imagination almost 20 years ago. There is a picture from then of me holding my tiny infant son while he took his last breath on earth. In the picture, tears are pouring down a face full of despair with a bright smile for the camera. 

     My son, Wyn, was to be my only biological child on earth.  Despite every heartbreaking effort in my quest to “be a mother.”  Accepting God’s will in this was as far from reality as the desert is from the sea.

      I won’t pretend it has been quick or easy. The anger I felt at God churned through my belly with a ferocity matched by the fires hell in intensity. 

      But I put a pretty face on for the world. I figuratively buried my pain so deep and covered it with concrete. Then spread rich and fertile soil. The seeds planted were sprinkled with the rain of held back tears. So the flowers could bloom in a brilliant hue.  For years I coasted in this way.

      Through God, the grief and anger escaped through the cracks in the concrete and porous nature of soil though. Little by little letting go and learning what He’s saying so. God ‘s staying power over dismaying power every time.

Through God, the grief and anger escaped through the cracks in the concrete and porous nature of soil though. Little by little letting go and learning what He’s saying so. God ‘s staying power over dismaying power every time. Click To Tweet

        Now I am the team mom for Reinhardt University football where my husband is the Defensive Coordinator. I held my son and know the love I have for the players entrusted to me is no different. 

       When people thank me for what I do them, I always answer, “Oh, I am the blessed one.” And mean it! They call me Mama Scott and their love for me is all my mama’s heart ever needed.

       Some of these boys come from such broken circumstances.  The mothering I give is the first they have ever known.  A lot of them are learning about Christ’s love for the first time too. The best part of my job is praying for them and watching them come to Christ.  

        I am like the little old lady that lived in the shoe except God shows me what to do. All I ever yearned for was another son, and God has given me hundreds     

        It is just like it promises in Jer. 29:11.  “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

There is meaning and purpose in tragedy, and it IS God’s greatest blessing. My smiles now are not for the camera.


Stephanie Scott is a coach’s Tommy’s wife and team mom at Reinhardt University. Stephanie’s motto is faith, family, friends, football, and service. You can find out more about Stephanie on her blog www.hopeshaping.com      

Contending for the Covenant

Contending for the Covenant

My sweet friend Angel Penn is featuring a series on her blog Experiencing Freedom on Biblical Marriage entitled Contending for the Covenant: A 20 Day Marriage Series.    I am honored and so excited to be one of the featured bloggers in this series! Check out this amazing lineup of guest bloggers.


Behind Every Great Man

As a young wife and mom with a house full of boys, I struggled to keep it all together. Our house was busy and loud most of the time since we homeschooled our boys. A great deal of my days were consumed with teaching, and training the boys, mountains of laundry, and trying to cook healthy meals to boys that were bottomless pits.

On one particular day, we finished our school early and made plans to go meet some friends at the park. Before we left, I wanted to get a head start on dinner so put a pot of dried pinto beans on the stove, covered them with water and planned to quick soak them before we left to go to the park. That way dinner would be quick and easy to cook when I got home. 

Between looking for a lost shoe, trying to find the bb’s to the airsoft gun, and getting out of the house in one piece. It was a usual but hectic time just getting out the door to go meet our friends. Finally, we get to the park, and the boys all run off to meet their friends, and I look forward to some much-needed mom fellowship….


My post goes live tomorrow and I would love for you to check it out. Behind Every Great Man  Find out What a Pot of Beans Taught Me About Being an Excellent Wife!

While you are there check out some of the other powerful posts in this series, and give Angel a follow. #Istilldo

Much Love,

 

 

 

Misty Phillip

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