On Grief and Healing
“It takes a warrior’s heart to persevere in the publishing world. Walk in the confidence that God has put a story in your heart and He will equip you to tell it. After all, it’s really His Story, isn’t it?” – Pamela Thorson, author of “Song in the Night” and “Out from the Shadows: 31 Devotions for the Weary Caregiver“.
Writers are often said to be introverts, and that may be true for many. But they are also a brave sort of people, for it takes a tremendous amount of courage to put pen to paper and share dreams, thoughts and ideas with the world. There are often ideas created out of seeing a perspective or need that needs to be addressed. Perhaps the courage comes from an overwhelming need to share a personal message, maybe an experience that might benefit others.
Such is the case for a grieving father, who after losing his only son, Jonathan, began a journey into self-discovery and healing. In his search for guidance and self-help, he found that there was not much available on the topic of men’s grief. Through his own grief, he made a connection that was the beginning of his healing. This connection has taken on a mission of its own in the form of a legacy to his son.
Having a writer’s heart, he decided that it was time to share what he discovered for himself. His name is R. Glenn Kelly, and his book, “Sometimes I Cry in the Shower” is on the fast track to making a nationwide impact on the hearts of many, men and women alike.
I commend Mr. Kelly in his endeavor to share his raw, open honesty with others into a journey that no one wants to take. And I know his son would be very proud of him. I highly recommend “Sometimes I Cry in the Shower”.
For more info on R. Glenn Kelly, visit his Author page on Amazon.
Check back soon to read my upcoming interview with R. Glenn Kelly!
God bless! – Amber
Faith, Hope & Miracles: A Re-birthday Celebration
November 13, a “re-birthday”. That is the term my son Christian uses to describe the anniversary of his death and return from heaven. He says he was “re-born” on that day, and it is certainly worthy of a celebration.
After a horrible accident, Christian was dead for almost an hour. During that time, he was in heaven with Jesus, where he also met his older brother, Jason. The experiences Christian shared with us over the next few months were astounding to say the least. It changed our lives.
Birthday celebrations involve gifts, but instead of receiving, we want to give. Christian said that Jesus wants us to know that He loves us all, and He wants us to be encouraged with faith and hope. It is that faith and hope that inspired our book, “Faith, Hope & Miracles”, and it is our gift to you. We have made it available for free on November 13 and 14, and we’re asking everyone to share it. Join us in our celebration of Christian’s “re-birthday”, share a little encouragement and hope!
Free for a limited time, “Faith, Hope & Miracles”at Amazon.com
“Delightful, awe-inspiring, miraculous journey of one boy and his family. Gut-wrenching terror turns into a beautiful story of redemption, 2nd chances, and miracles in this journal of death-to-life healing and glorious victory. WOW! Highly recommended to stir your faith and encourage you that God is real, He’s alive, and He worked a precious miracle in this Alaskan family. You should read it today!” (Mary E. Hanks, author of “Winter’s Past”)
May God bless you with abundant love, peace and joy.
– Amber & Christian
Who Is a Caregiver? by Pamela Thorson
Until I wrote Out from the Shadows, I thought a caregiver was someone who took care of a person suffering from a disease or disability.
Then, as I thought and prayed about what to share in the book, it took on a life of its own. I originally imagined I would address the complaints suffered by caregivers and offer some encouragement. But as I mulled over devotions I had written over the span of several years and added new ones as God gave them to me, a very different picture emerged.
Yes, some of the devotions addressed predictable issues as burn-out and keeping our perspective. Then a golden thread emerged, one filled with the rich hues of majesty and loyalty and glory.
I realized that a message had emerged from the shadows.
Because caregiving is not gray. At times it is black with despair. Other times it is cloaked in the royal colors of surrender. It always runs blood-red with sacrifice. It is as white as the righteousness of the Savior who bought our freedom and as intense as the daily deliverance from our personal prisons. Sometimes it is hot with tears; other times it rests in the coolness of living waters.
But it is never gray, unless we have allowed our hearts to let go of hope.
Today I realize that caring for others is a universal calling. Caregivers are moms. Dads. Grandparents. Aunts, uncles, children, and spouses.
Caregivers are people who can’t walk away from someone who is hurting.
Our heartaches, struggles, and search for meaning are universal conditions. The golden thread is a common one, running through eternity. The colors of our lives connect us to each other and to the God who cared enough to risk it all for love.
He left His home in glory to walk in the dust with us. He gave away his life that we might live. He has never once left us alone in our hour of need.
God calls us to care in this same way for others. It’s a high calling, a blessed burden, an honor.
This is caregiving.
In her new book, Out from the Shadows, Pam shares how God uses our life circumstances to form the qualities He wants to develop in us. It’s not just for caregivers, but for all who need uplifting encouragement, to continue on a daily basis in loving and serving others. Pick up a copy ($8.96 paperback; $2.99 kindle) today at http://www.amazon.com/Out-Shadows-Pamela-Thorson
Pam Thorson is a licensed practical nurse, author, speaker, and full-time caregiver. She pioneered in the homeschooling movement from 1982-2006 and authored her first book, Song in the Night, in 2008. Her newest book, Out from the Shadows: 31 Devotions for the Weary Caregiver (Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas), released March 28. Pam resides in the Pacific Northwest with her family. Contact her at www.pamthorson.com.
*A note from Amber:
In Pam’s post today, I was reminded of 1 Corinthians 12, which teaches us about how we are all connected to each other, as one body, and how we need each other. God has given each of us a unique purpose and individual spirit, yet we are all a part of the same body.
I want to thank Pam for taking the time out of her busy schedule to share with us. God has truly blessed her with words of encouragement and hope. I know it has not been an easy journey for her and her family, and I feel very honored to be able to help in spreading the word about her work, and to call her a friend.
God bless you all! – Amber
FREE E-book for Review: Trials and Triumphs
I am pleased to announce the new release of Trials and Triumphs: Hope Beyond Circumstances.
This book is a compilation of forty authors, all members of FaithWriters, sharing true and life changing experiences that are sure to inspire and encourage anyone that may be facing impossible situations.
Since I first began this blog, it has always been my mission to share hope and encouragement with others, to spread God’s word and love, and let people know that we are not alone.
That same mission is the purpose of Trials and Triumphs. Each author shares personal experiences from their heart, describing how they have overcome situations and circumstances through faith and trust in Jesus.
There are three categories of testimonies in this book, including stories describing how Jesus came to be a personal Savior, stories of tremendous faith through overwhelming circumstances, and stories of people that gave inspiration and hope to someone when they needed it most.
Trials and Triumphs is sure to be a blessing to everyone who reads it, believers and non-believers alike.
And for a limited time only, FaithWriters is offering an opportunity to read Trials and Triumphs for free, in exchange for an honest review.
I highly recommend this wonderful book, and encourage you to take advantage of this opportunity to read it for free. And don’t forget to give it an honest review. Even if you don’t buy it on Amazon, you can still leave a review for it on their site, as well as at FaithWriters. And please help me spread the word too.
Thanks, and God bless! – Amber
P.S. I am one of the forty authors, and it has been a true privilege to be a part of this project, and I pray that it will give honor and glory to the One most deserving it…Jesus.
Dealing With Peer Pressure
I’ve been working on a mini series of articles concerning daily issues for our young people, and how they cope with these issues. It is my hope that God will work through these posts to reach out to those in need of hope, encouragement and guidance, to let them know that they are not alone in their struggles. God cares about each and every one of us, and He wants to help us.
If you or someone you know has any ideas or suggestions about future posts, or are interested in doing a guest post, please leave a message in the comment section. As always, I’d love to hear from you!
I am very pleased to share with you the following guest post from Stephanie Kehr, a fine upcoming young author. Her article is on peer pressure, a subject that can be quite troublesome for us all. Please share, like, and leave a comment for her, and be sure to check out her blog, “Musings of a Creative Spirit”.
Thanks, and God bless! – Amber
Peer Pressure: What’s Your Strategy?
by Stephanie Kehr
The sound of twenty pleading teens echoed off the trees, collecting at my ears in a mash of noise and confusion.
“You should try it.”
“You’ll love it.”
It was just a swing. Well, a large swing. I’d be strapped in with harnesses and fitted with a helmet and protective gear. But having already tried such a stunt at a previous event, I knew the high swing wasn’t quite my cup of tea. In fact, if I’d had any tea before that attempt, it would have been instantly regurgitated.
“Look, we even got Bethany to do it,” someone nudged me.
I looked to see Bethany climbing the swing, her face as white as Elmer’s glue.
“You’re the only one who hasn’t tried! C’mon, don’t you submit to peer pressure?”
I paused a moment, evaluating myself. “No,” I finally said aloud. “I don’t.”
I’m a pure-bred homeschooler. If it weren’t for the kids I babysit, it’s likely I never would have been introduced to the popular video game, Call Of Duty. Unfortunately, I was introduced. But through the blood, gore, murder, and weapons, Call Of Duty actually taught me quite the lesson during my impromptu babysitting adventure.
If you don’t have strategy, you’ll be shot down.
You waltz into a room unguarded, and the enemy’s standing behind the door. He fires his gun. The bar turns red. Your man flashes and disappears. “End Game” appears on the screen. You toss down your controller, frustrated.
With peer pressure on the rise, teens and young adults are more and more often thrown at the mercy of their more popular (and often less intelligent) fellowmen. On the invisible battlegrounds of school, sports, parties, and even churches, the young adults striving for righteousness are often unguarded, caught by surprise, and slowly, but surely enticed by the people and things of this world.
Before we step out into society, it’s important for us to realize that if we don’t enter the battle alert and with strategy, we’ll be shot down.
Proverbs 29:18 says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” [KJV]
If we aren’t ready with our weapons, we give the enemy the opportunity to shoot first. If we’re not wearing the proper protective armor, our bar will turn red. If we don’t know how to jump out of the way, we’ll blink and fade. We’ll perish. End game.
Peer pressure’s pretty scary for a teen living in a big, ungodly, unknown world. The most frightening thing about peer pressure is that it sneaks up on us. You don’t realize you’ve got the disease until it’s too late. We’ve already been shot. We’re already following the wrong crowd. How do we make sure we’re firing first? How do we set ourselves up to make it through the teenage years alive?
While I can’t speak for every teen out there, I can speak for myself. Below I have listed five little “strategies” I’ve used to combat peer pressure in an attempt to “shoot first.”
1) Always, always, always, go back to the Bible.
You know that group of girls always hanging out by the water fountain at church? They like to gossip, slander, talk about boys, laugh at inappropriate jokes, flirt, and evaluate everyone’s outfit. Doesn’t sound too bad, does it? Not really. You could find worse.
So, what do you do when an adult or fellow teens urges you to join their group? You go back to the Bible. Even if the girls may look relatively harmless, Proverbs is cram-packed full of warnings against hanging out with gossips, slanderers, and fools. Don’t be like them, the Bible says. Be called. Be chosen. Be different.
Likewise, Ephesians 6:17 says, “And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” [NASB]
The Bible is a weapon. If you’re constantly feeding on its truths, you’ll guard yourself against being pulled away by the lies of the world.
2) Keep your feet from evil
In other words, be wise. Don’t pack your head full of video games, dirty music, zombies, murder mysteries, and other garbage that has a bad effect on your mind and carries zero eternal value. Take Philippians 4:8 as an example:
“Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.” [NASB]
If you don’t allow yourself to become interested in the things of the world, you’ll be less likely to be pulled astray.
3) Set your own standards and stick with them
I don’t tend to go to extracurricular youth get-togethers, because they often promote flirtatiousness, which isn’t something I want to get a heavy dose of. I strive to live set-apart. I don’t spent a huge amount of time with worldly friends. Mostly, when I don’t particularly want to participate in an event, I don’t allow myself to give in to the pressure. Think about Call Of Duty again. You only have a set amount of lives, right? Every time you give into some small and “harmless” pressure, you’re setting yourself up to give into something that might not be so small and harmless. You’re setting yourself up for the loss of that final life. The red bar. The flash. End game.
Everyone has different God-given standards. What kind of standards have you set for yourself? Do you stick with them?
4) Evaluate your influences and choose your friends wisely
If I notice myself beginning to slip spiritually, the first thing I do is look at my influences. I look at who I’m hanging out with frequently, and I ask myself who I’m looking up to most. Usually, evaluating, pinpointing, and dealing with the issues in my influential relationships solve half of my problems.
5) Find older mentors
There’s no way to avoid peer pressure if you’re constantly hanging out with, well…peers. I often try to spend quality time with younger teens and kids in order to be a good influence and a blessing to them. However, I also make a point to spend a decent amount of time with older influences, too, whether they’re in their twenties, fifties, or seventies. We learn from older people, it’s true. The Bible talks about having older mentors and Proverbs 15:22 says, “Plans fail for lack of council, but with many advisors they succeed.” Older councilors have been through peer pressure before us and can offer advice. Sometimes they catch our faults, too, and things we don’t see in ourselves.
When we learn to put together a strategy to avoid peer pressure, we need to plan with the understanding that without prayer and a genuine relationship with God, our strategy will ultimately fail. He is the light in a dark world. He is our strength when we are weak. No matter how tough it may be or how far into the world we may venture, it’s important to always remember our God is faithful, loving, compassionate, and He wants you to lean on Him and Him alone.
Stephanie is a seventeen-year-old dreamer, child of God, and story crafter. She began penning novels as a twelve-year-old and completed her first book at fifteen. In 2013, Stephanie signed with Ellechor Publishing House as a teen author. The release date of her Christian fiction novel, Reaching Home has not yet been announced.
If she isn’t too busy dreaming up kingdoms and reciting poetry, Stephanie plans to graduate with an English degree before her nineteenth birthday. Currently living with her homeschooling family of eight, she hopes to get married one day and move to an isolated cabin by the sea.
Visit Stephanie’s website (www.stephaniekehr.blogspot.com) where she talks about writing, publishing, being a teen author, and her crazy everyday life.