Does God Hate Me? — For a Special Girl

Does God Hate Me

Does God Hate Me[Editor’s note: For parents: I originally wrote this short letter for a very special girl that I hope this can help, but tailored it so that other young girls going through especially hard times might be helped too! Kids, if you’re finding this on your own, I’m glad you’re here! But it’s really important for you to show this to your parents or another adult you trust and let them know how you’re feeling, okay?]

Dear Sweet Girl,

I know you’re feeling hopeless. I know you’re feeling like God doesn’t have a plan for you, or even that He hates you.

I don’t know you, but it broke my heart to hear that. I don’t know your struggle, or what you are going through. But I’ve been hopeless, too. I felt lost and I wasn’t sure what God had planned for me. I don’t want you to feel that way. I don’t want you to spend any more time in that place of hopelessness!

You’re going through some things in your life that are probably bigger than what someone your age should have to deal with! You are such a strong girl!

I know you have a lot of big dreams! When I was going through hard times, I lost my dreams. Hang on to your dreams! God gave you them for reason!

I believe that everything a person goes through in their life is all for a reason – God is always trying to make us better people, mold us and prepare us for what He has planned for us. And all the stuff you’re going through right now, I know, it is a lot. But it is for a reason. God has big plans for you, honey. Hang on.

God doesn’t hate you. He loves you unconditionally. I totally understand why, when you’re going through major stuff at such a young age, you could doubt God’s love for you. Even adults doubt God’s love! But please know God loves you. Please know that your suffering is for something bigger!

This is one of my favorite scriptures and I’d like to share it with you:

Jeremiah 29:11

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Do you like diamonds? (I bet you do!) One of our guest bloggers not too long ago wrote here on Devotional Diva about how we all can come out of hard times like diamonds! The link is right here!

Love,

dd-sig

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God's Love Stories

gods love stories on devotional diva valentines stephanie rawnsley [Guest post by Stephanie Rawnsley: February is the month of Valentine’s Day, so I thought we would kick off the month with Stephanie’s great post about God’s love stories!]

Whether it’s fiction or nonfiction, ours or someone else’s, we all love a good story.

Look at how many movies and books there are out there. When we go out for coffee, we exchange stories. We love hearing amazing tails of good winning over evil, of love conquering all. We love the stories that make us believe again, that make us reach for the stars and believe in the impossible. Why do you think Nicholas Sparks has been such a success?

His stories of love and overcoming the odds grips our hearts and makes us yearn for a love like that. An all consuming love that nothing and no one is ever going to destroy. 

Those are the stories that stick with us, that we hold dear to our heart, that meant something. Because they were just ordinary people who found the strength to do extraordinary things and we toy with the possibility that maybe, just maybe, we could do something extraordinary too. 

That’s one of the greatest things about living in New York City. You meet people of all kinds, all backgrounds, races, religion, nationalities, and each person has their own unique story to tell. They are as diverse as the city itself. Some have stories of triumph, some are down on their luck, some haven’t faced too many big trials, while others seem to never be able to get out of the fire.

But we all have one thing in common, we all have a story to tell.

“As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.” Genesis 50:20 

We all have our story, our own struggles and hardships. But we also have one thing in common: we are loved by a good, holy and perfect God.

He is writing your story, one filled with many peaks and valleys, struggles and triumphs, heartbreak and joy.

It’s through the messiness in life that you see the holiness in God. It’s through the struggles that the blessings come. I wouldn’t trade any of it for the world because it is because I had been through the fire and came out the other side that I am here today.

C.S. Lewis once said, “Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny.” I believe that. I believe that our hardships, our trials, and pain change us in ways we can’t even imagine to prepare us to do things we can’t even fathom.

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28

Your story is a testament to the greatest love story of all time.

The story of a man who loved us so much he sacrificed himself to redeem us. We are just a microcosm of the bigger picture, of what God is doing around the world today. It’s the greatest love story ever told. One of sacrifice, of unconditional love, of laying down ones life to save another, of good conquering evil. Your story is a part of that.

When you are little, you read the stories in the Bible. You learned about Abraham, Noah, Moses, Peter and Paul. You learn about Jesus and the stories he himself told. Even Jesus used stories and parables to teach, to share about himself, about love, and about life in ways we could understand.

Jesus was the ultimate story teller and we get to tell the story of him, the story of our past and his redeeming grace. What an honor!

We all have our own stories, our own hardships, our own trials. We all have something to say, war wounds that shape who we are. All that you have been through will launch you to a destiny only you can do. We all have a story to tell. Embrace it. Own it. Share it. It’s a miraculous story of love, redemption, sacrifice, and overcoming the odds.

Your story is a best seller because it was written by the greatest author of all.

So tell the story only you can tell. 

stephanie rawnsley on Devotional diva love storiesStephanie Rawnsley is an author, blogger, public speaker, and founder of Fearless in High Heels. She currently lives in Manhattan. To hear her story, just visit her website: fearlessinhighheels.com. You can also keep up with all of her blogs, videos, and appearances on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

photo credit: isoteemu via photopin cc

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A Christian Fairy Tale

devotional diva christian love story[Guest Post by La Micia Genova: I’m thrilled for you to “meet” La Micia today because, although our stories are different, La Micia and I both dealt with depression before God gave us our knights in shining armor. I’m all about princesses and fairy tales and this is an awesome Christian fairy tale!]

Do you believe God can give you a happily ever after? I’ve done things my way for 20 years and when I finally came to God, he gave me my fairy tale.

I probably made just about every mistake a teenager and young adult could make, and what’s crazy is I grew up in the Church! From impurity to drunkenness, I was a mess. When I submitted to Gods way of doing things I saw Gods plan for me come to life. 

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

Jeremiah 29:11-13

As I grew in my relationship with God, and really applied the “seeking” part of the passage in Jeremiah, I began to see him move in my life in powerful ways. From my friendships, to my family life, and eventually, my dating life.

As a hopeless romantic, I always prayed for my knight in shining armor to magically arrive and constantly asked God for the desires of my heart.

Growing up, what young girl doesn’t want to live out the Disney movie fairy tales? I was no different then the majority of girls my age and I never grew out of this phase. I continued believing this was possible, but heartbreak after heartbreak led me to feel God’s hand was against me.

This all changed in a vacant lot in south side Chicago in 2010.

I was 20 years old and had just given my life to Christ. I was at a conference in Inglewood, Chicago helping our volunteer group clean up vacant lots. I was dirty, tired, and focused on the cause. This was not the place I expected to meet my knight in shining armor. It was cleaning this lot that God intervened in my life for what later turned out to be a fulfillment of one of favorite scriptures in psalms.

            “Take delight in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart”

            Psalm 37:4

I met Patrick G.

At the time I had no idea that this was who God had planned for me to spend the rest of my life with, but as three years went by, you could say my eyes finally were opened.

One night Patrick began to open up to me about his struggle with depression and I felt like for the first time ever, someone understood me, the real me.

I grew up dealing with depression, and felt that no one could really understand.  I was constantly fatigued and didn’t know why. I had so many self-defeating thoughts, I really hated myself, I still struggle with this to this day, but at least I have a name for this monster. When Patrick got vulnerable with me about his fight with depression and how it made him feel, I felt like my feelings weren’t all that crazy.

I realized that I am not in this fight alone and that God has put a guy in my life that could understand me. From this conversation forward we leave off where my book, Becoming Ms. G picks up. I hope and pray you enjoy the rest of the journey that God has taken me on with my knight in shining armor, Patrick.

lamicia genova on devotional divaLa Micia really has a heart for doing Gods work and being a voice for women who deal with depression, anxiety, and self esteem issues. La Micia created a blog called “No Place to Lay”, www.noplacetolay.com this year to share the ways God is working in her life through struggles. You can purchase her book, Becoming Mrs. G here.

photo credit: Express Monorail via photopin cc

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Celebrating My Next Chapter {Literally}

celebrating my next chapterI, Renee Fisher, asked Maggie if I could share my exciting news with you all today! Don’t worry, she’ll be back next week to continue her journey here on DevotionalDiva.com.

Today I am celebrating my next chapter {literally}. Today is my 32nd birthday and I have three B-I-G news to share!

First, I am officially no longer working with MacGregor Literary Agency. That means I am going it alone without my amazing agent, Amanda Luedeke.

I decided it was time for me to write my next chapter {literally} as a self published author. I enjoy the creative process so much, and can’t wait to see where God may lead.

Plus, if publishers are requiring authors to do all the work — why not own the rights too? Am I right?

Second, you can now purchase Loves Me Not and Dream Devotional directly through me on Amazon. And, I even lowered the price to $2.99 each!

To those who wrote beautiful reviews of Dream Devotional, would you please resubmit your kind words on Amazon? If you don’t remember what you wrote — don’t worry I saved them, and will email them ASAP.

Third, Dream Devotional will be available for purchase IN PRINT in time for the Launch Party on July 13th! {View the open invite here}.

I am jumping out of my skin of excitement. I still can’t believe the timing of  everything, and on my birthday nevertheless.

If you are still doubting your dreams, I hope you dream.

It’s okay to lean only on God. 
He is strong enough to save you when you fall.

I was reminded of a verse God gave me when I started Devotional Diva. I shared the verse along with an encouraging word on Facebook:

I wish our culture celebrated SMALL beginnings instead of idols, BIG breaks, or fame. Zechariah 4:10a says, “Who dares despise the day of small things?”

As I am transitioning into a new season with ReneeFisher.com, it hit me last night when people at the San Diego Book Awards Association recognized from Devotional Diva. And yet, looking back 5 years ago, I never thought I would make it this far.

I am most grateful for where God has me. I refuse to be ASHAMED, and I especially refuse to compare myself to others who are further along or experiencing a BIG BREAK. (I am also applying this to all my friends who are having babies or just had babies).

If you find yourself in transition — rejoice in the place where you are TODAY. God has plans for you. And you know what? Maybe they’re even BIG plans!!! Until then, continue to walk daily with Him hand-in-hand. He’ll promote you at the ripe time (Gal. 6:9).

I wanted to close with a poem by my good friend Teryn O’Brien entitled there must be dreamers.

there must be dreamers
in this sad, dark world,
dreamers who believe
that peace and unity and love
still exist,
dreamers that hold a candle
which shatters the darkness
of hatred and pride,
walking into the great unknown
of what might be possible.
dreamers ask,
could we?
could we love?
could we share?
could we agree?
could we agree to disagree?
could we raise above the pettiness?
dreamers are scoffed at,
but all that is good in this world
has been founded
on dreams
that once were not, but
through blood, sweat, tears,
laughter and scorn,
were drawn into existence.
dreamers are mothers and fathers,
bearing children of light into a barren world.
life only comes through
the hope,
the pain,
the joy
of dreaming.

Enter to win a $50 Giveaway to The Rusted Chain on ReneeFisher.com to celebrate. Click here to enter. A winner will be chosen by the end of the week.

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A Different Kind of Stress

different kind of stress

[Guest Post by Bonnie Gray – I was surprised to find the answers I was looking for in her new book Finding Spiritual Whitespace. I think all of us at some point in our life think we just have to try or pray harder. Do more. I love, love, love her story. If you’re stressed out today, I know you’ll be encouraged by Bonnie’s fresh word!]

Can we ever be free from stress? Stress seems to be so embedded in our modern lives, we’ve come to breathe it like oxygen.

Emails, Twitter, doctor appointments, and a to-do list filled with growing unchecked boxes are all part of my reality.

Is it realistic to expect a stress-free life?

I’ve lived a lot of my life hiding from my heart, reducing everything to a minimum. I did do less. But paring down to the bare essentials made me lose a sense of wonder.

Introverts or extroverts, we were never made to only do life as maintenance. God designed us to be fully alive: creative, renewed by a sense of adventure, engaged with community, and soul-fed.

Without these elements of creativity, adventure, community, and soul care, we experience a different kind of stress.

Soul stress.

I don’t want to make a reentry into striving a stream of new endeavors either, like stepping into the California rivers for whitewater rafting. Everything looks calm on the outside, but the underlying currents threaten to pull me under.

Are we left to choose only between inactivity or overactivity? As people of faith, our focus goes beyond avoiding stress.

We pursue the opposite.
We pursue rest.

After PTSD entered my life, I couldn’t socialize with people like I used to or do life like I once did. I could hardly keep track of my car keys.

I look out from my post-PTSD life and all I see is desert. I see nothing.

What do I do with my life? What do I do with these empty spaces? You’d think the concept of whitespace came through some inspiring moment walking through a field of wildflowers. But “feeding my soul” sounded too right-brain. Too touchy-feely. So God prompted my first steps through what was initially most accessible:

my left brain.

God knew this about my personality: my desire to pursue. So he put me on the journey to rest by pointing me to a new ambition. It’s ironic. The idea of spiritual whitespace came to me while reading a blog on business strategies and innovation.

I was reading an article written by Matthew May called “Break Through by Taking Breaks.” It offered scientific evidence that down time is required for creativity and new thinking. Archimedes discovered volume displacement while taking a bath. Einstein’s theory of special relativity came while he was daydreaming, and author J. K. Rowling sat traveling on a train when the Harry Potter character “flashed in her mind.”1

Ever wonder why our best ideas come when we’re in the shower, driving, daydreaming, or sleeping?

When you look deeper into these brilliant flashes of insight you can see they came at strange times and in random locations. They didn’t occur while actually working on the problem but after an intense, prolonged struggle with it followed by a break. A change of scene and time away played a part.2

It was fascinating to learn that “putting pressure on ourselves to try and work harder, more intensely, or more quickly may only slow down our ability to arrive at new insights.”3

If this is true in the worlds of art and science, what would be the implications for our relationships with God—in spirituality and faith? The biggest lightbulb moment struck me. I had been desperately trying to connect with God by doing the same things. I thought I needed to try harder.

What’s wrong with me?

Nothing. I needed something different.

I typed in rest into my computer to do a word search in the Bible. What I found stunned me to the core.

Rest. It sounds inactive, doesn’t it?

I was surprised to find that rest is one of only three ambitions that God explicitly calls out in the Bible. The other two are preaching the gospel and pleasing God.4

We urge you, brethren,  to excel still more, and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet [restful] life. (1 Thess. 4:10–11)

Turns out hesuchazo—the Greek word used for quiet and rest— is as important as preaching the gospel and pleasing God. The more I’m able to enjoy rest, the more others will see God’s life in me. When my soul is at rest, I am free to please God right where I am.

I was intrigued. I had always centered my thinking on pleasing God and preaching the gospel through what I did. But now, suddenly God put a big spotlight on hesuchazo. God was asking me to excel—“still more”—by making it my ambition to lead a quiet and restful life.

My heart skipped a beat. This is what has been missing. Rest.

Hesuchazo became the match that ignited the fire of the Holy Spirit in spiritual whitespace.

We were never made to only do life as maintenance. God designed us to be fully alive: creative, engaged with community, and renewed by a sense of adventure.

As people of faith, our focus goes beyond avoiding stress. We pursue the opposite. We pursue rest.

Our ambition is spiritual rest.

Bonnie GrayBonnie Gray is the founder of Faith Barista, a contributor to Crosswalk.com, and a featured writer for DaySpring’s popular (in)courage blog. Her writing is nationally syndicated and has been spotlighted in Christianity Today and McClatchy-Tribune News Services. She has served as a missionary, a ministry entrepreneur, and worked in high tech as an engineering and marketing program manager. A passionate speaker who inspires audiences to find God in everyday life, Bonnie lives in Silicon Valley with her husband, Eric, and their two sons. Learn more at www.faithbarista.com.

[Excerpt taken from Finding Spiritual Whitespace by Bonnie Gray, published by Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group, 2012. Used by permission. All rights to this material are reserved. Material is not to be reproduced, scanned, copied, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without written permission from Baker Publishing Group.]

[photo credit: Camil Tulcan via photopin cc]

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Navigating Female Leadership

female leadership

[Guest Post by Elise Boggs – When I heard her share about women in leadership in person, I was blown away. I asked — no begged — Elise to share with all of you. It is tough to be a woman in leadership. I hope her story and three points encourage you to keep going. Pull up a chair. You are desperately needed!]

I have led teams internationally and state side, within small and large organizations, and in the safety of both the classroom and the jungle of life.

As a female, this meant saying “yes” to a narrow road, a road that traditional cultures attempt to restrict and boys clubs hang an invisible “no girls allowed” sign. In my years as both a theorist in the classroom and practitioner in the world, I have come to believe a simple truth about effective leadership.

Ultimately leadership is about influence and the unique influence of a woman must be experienced.

Women who have traveled this road know the challenges that lie ahead for those just beginning. There are times you will want to make a u-turn and question if the struggle is worth it. When these challenges came for me, there was not a woman ahead of me who could model or mentor me into effective female leadership. I felt like I was on a tightrope with no safety net and unable to see the platform symbolizing success within sight.

The women I did experience were either doormats or breaking down doors, neither of which fit who I wanted to be.

I saw women underutilizing their strengths or forcing them on others, both scenarios resulting in a loss of respect and opportunities. Movies, like Charlie’s Angels attempted to equalize women with men by showing that women could kick butt just like a man. The message appears to be equalizing, But there is a more subtle and disempowering message as well: that the innate strengths that females possess aren’t also valuable for “kicking butt.”

Strengths like collaboration (research supports the effectiveness of this leadership style), wisdom (the Bible personifies wisdom as a “she,”…just sayin!), and an ability to soften the rough edges of a cut throat world (see the story of how Abigail’s intelligence and diplomacy saved several men’s lives-I Samuel 25).

With an absence of mentors, what’s a girl to do if her strengths and call draw her towards platforms of influence?

Having led both men and women, there are some taxes I have paid through experience that I would like to pay for you. I have also asked those I have had the privilege of leading for their insights. There are men who want to pull out your chair, at the leadership table. You are desperately needed.

In the meantime, here are three things you can do now to keep moving down the path.

1. Identify your God given gifts and believe they are there for a specific purpose. In the early days of my career, I did not have the knowledge of my strengths and had little experience to draw from. It has been said that your purpose is where your talents and burdens collide. I began to recognize my gifts in communication and a burden for developing leaders. Despite getting glimpses of my purpose, the opportunities extended to me at that time were scarce. I had to hold tight, believing that if God gave me these specific passions and strengths, He would not let them go to waste.

2. Prepare so when opportunity knocks, you can walk through the door. Develop your strengths and create value for others. Get your education. Seek out different experiences. Read everything you can get your hands on. Ask for feedback. Volunteer. Keep a learning journal. One of my most memorable opportunities came unexpectedly my boss resigned and I led for a three year interim.  I had completed my Masters in Leadership just one month prior. Preparation met opportunity. When given the opportunity, succeed early and often. When a leader is a good, gender fades into the background.

3. You were created female on purpose. Gifted people are leaving their positions every day because of poor leadership. Those possessing the competencies associated with Emotional Intelligence (such as building bonds, teamwork, collaboration, and interpersonal effectiveness) are what separate exceptional leaders. Many females tend to have some natural aptitudes towards these competencies, so there is no reason to think you have to forego female characteristics to be a successful leader. In fact, the research supports these competencies are largely lacking in leaders.

In Genesis 5:2  we are reminded that God created them male and female.

He was intentional in creating two genders with their own strengths. There is a place and purpose for both at the leadership table. And ladies, be mindful of being so caught up in your own story that you don’t notice another’s unfolding before you. Pull up a chair — a future female leader will thank you for it.

Elise BoggsElise currently teaches at Chapman (Brandman) University in the MBA and Organizational Leadership programs. She also directs her own consulting practice specializing in leadership training, team and organizational development, and career and life coaching. Connect with Elise at {eliseboggsconsulting} at {gmail} dot {com}.

[photo credit: 1yen via photopin cc]

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Riding Waves of Faith

waves of faith

[Guest Post by Emily Rose Massey – When she asked if she could share her story, it was hard to narrow it down because this girl has gone through so much! Her testimony is as huge as her heart. I know you will be encouraged by her story. If you currently feel stuck under the waves of life, you are not alone. Stand and have faith with Emily today!]

Our faith is tested under waves of faith, and in the weight and pressures of life.

It’s in the fire, the trials, and the storms of life that we are truly strengthened. We can choose to rise above the chaos or allow it to overtake us.

Recently, my husband and I endured a time of testing and trial as we lost our first baby at just 6 weeks along in my pregnancy. I carried that child for two weeks before ever knowing that the baby was with Jesus and not going to be a part of our family here on earth.

Our faith in Jesus Christ is what has been our anchor through all of this.

Having an eternal perspective definitely helps you put one foot in front of the other when you are going through a storm. God’s overwhelming love and amazing grace has overshadowed us and carried us. We have felt His arms hold us close and we are thankful. We are also so grateful for the prayers of so many friends and family who have continued to lift us up.

As someone who doesn’t like to admit weaknesses, not out of pride, but because I constantly declare Philippians 4:13 over my life, I have had a hard time realizing that it is okay to grieve and it’s okay for grieving process to take time.

I have heard the grieving process described as “coming in waves,” and I can definitely attest to that.

Grief becomes a danger when you allow those waves to pull you under instead of rising above and riding those waves with the grace and strength that the Lord pours out for us. Just because you have God’s grace and strength to endure difficult times doesn’t mean you won’t ever have to face sadness or grief.

Just like all attacks from the enemy, the Lord gives us the armor to withstand whatever is thrown at us, as well as a firm foundation beneath our feet. One of my favorite pieces of our armor is the sword of the Spirit because it is our offensive weapon to cut down the devil’s lies with God’s Word.

Faith comes by hearing the Word and that faith is released when we declare God’s truth and promises. Those promises are what give us hope. Jesus promises us in John 16:33 that we will have trouble in this world, but He also promises us that we are safe because He has already overcame the world.

Whatever you are facing has an expiration date.

You won’t have to live with that trouble forever; it cannot overtake you, unless you let it.
So take heart!

Stand firm on the foundation of your Rock, Jesus Christ. Let nothing shake you because you have been made an over-comer through Jesus’ victory on the cross. Sadness and grief will come, sometimes like a tidal wave, but you have an anchor of hope and His name is Jesus! He gave you the power to walk on those waves and He will not let you sink. Keep your eyes on Jesus.

I am praying for those who may be going through a season of sadness, grief, or loss. Lift your eyes up to the hills where your Help comes from. He will keep you from sinking!

Emily Rose MasseyEmily Rose Massey is the author of The Vessel: From Marred to Honorable, a true story of a life delivered from the mire and filthy pit and bondage of sexual sin and molded into a vessel for the Lord to flow through to reach others for His Kingdom. She and her husband are both active in many areas of leadership at their church, including worship ministry, drama ministry, children’s ministry, and youth ministry.  In addition to teaching and preaching the Word of God, Emily also pours out her passion for the Lord through her songwriting. Her songs spring forth out of a forgiven heart full of thankfulness and devotion unto God. To connect with or learn more about Emily, visit www.emilyrosemassey.com.

[photo credit: esther** via photopin cc]

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Dream Devotional Releases Today!

Dream Devotional Releases Today

Dream Devotional Releases Today! Dream Devotional is a 40 day devotional of hope for people who have fallen on hard times. 

I dedicated it to all the dreamers.

I can’t wait to go through it with you all over the 40 days. I will be sharing a daily picture quote on social media. Follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest to stay connected!

You can get your copy of Dream Devotional for only $3.99 on Amazon here

I find it interesting that I’m not the only one writing about my own frustrations about dreams coming {or not} coming true. Recently, singer and songwriter Phil Wickham wrote about losing his voice on his blog. His story touched me so deeply because I could relate to feeling lost. He said,

In the unknown of what was to come my reaction was one I wouldn’t have expected. I would have guessed fear, or frustration. Maybe even desperation. But it wasn’t those things. I felt lost.

I realized right then how closely I tied my own worth with my voice. My worth as a provider. My worth as a leader. My worth as a person. Though now it sounds a bit melodramatic, I sat silent alone in my hotel room that night wondering, “What am I worth without a voice?” “Who am I without it?”

That’s kind of how I felt when things didn’t go so well with the launch of my last book Forgiving Others, Forgiving Me. It was through that process of feeling lost and losing my identity of a writer that I wrote Dream Devotional. Maybe you’ve seen your dreams come true only to watch them die. Or maybe you haven’t seen them come true yet. Maybe you’re still waiting. I encourage you to keep dreaming.

“Where there is no vision [no redemptive revelation of God], the people perish; but he who keeps the law [of God, which includes that of man]—blessed (happy, fortunate, and enviable) is he” (Proverbs 29:18, AMP).

Now it’s my turn to help you dream!

That’s why I released Dream Devotional this Easter! What are you waiting for? Grab your copy for $3.99 today, and watch God bring your dreams back to life!

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Our Need For Intimacy

need for intimacy

[Guest Post by Priscilla Cash – When I got an email from a military wife, I had to say yes. Not just because I support our military, but because I know many military wives and moms who can relate. I hope you are encouraged by her vulnerability and courage to share about intimacy.]

It was not just that I was a woman. It was not just that I had seen too many TV shows or read too many novels.

Deep within, I knew I needed intimacy. It is a profound need. We crave it, we seek it, but it often alludes us. And so, as a teenager, I waited, feeling like there was a deep, vacant hole in my soul.

I have journal entries from those days before I was married, chronicling the loneliness. It brought me closer to Jesus. My relationship with God grew as I looked to Him to fill the void. Even so, I knew that God had something more for me.

A man came into my life and I was swept up into a beautiful and tender romance. I had never imagined anyone being so happy. The love and intimate friendship we shared was unlike anything I had ever known before. We were married late in 2010.

For two and a half years, our relationship grew. Sometimes we argued and hurt each other, but forgiveness and love continued to abound. God blessed us. Then in 2012, my husband, a soldier in the Pennsylvania National Guard, was called up to deploy to Afghanistan. We bravely set about making plans. I slowly transitioned into doing everything at home, while he was away frequently for training. We spent the moments we had together as wisely as we could and prepared for the unknown.

In late summer, my husband left for Texas for four months of pre-deployment training. In January he boarded a plane and left for Afghanistan. His residence became a little combat outpost with weak Internet and poor living conditions. My residence was our small apartment, with his empty shoes left by the door.

Intimacy became a long-distant memory and I struggled to maintain a connection to a man surviving in a world dramatically different from my own.

Intimacy eroded over the months that followed.

By the time my husband came home, nine months later, I had changed. As strange as this may sound, I had grieved when he left and it changed me. I became closed, hard, and tenaciously independent. As much as I tried to understand that my husband had done what he needed to do, I still felt like a dear and intimate friendship had been ripped from me. Now I was lost and unsure where even to begin to put the pieces back together

As our marriage began to struggle, I found myself pushing my husband away. I realized that something needed to change, but I could not force myself to engage, try as I might. It only resulted in me feeling angry, bitter, and broken.

So I began to pray, desperately. My husband began to pray. We talked and talked and talked. And as I came to God, broken, having only enough courage to utter the word, “help,” God began to work. But not in the way that I had expected.

I wanted God to fix me and our marriage, to miraculously zap things back to the way they used to be.

Instead, He drew me to Himself.

I found my deep need for intimacy being nurtured and healed by God’s hand. Whenever anger and bitterness rose their ugly heads, I felt God’s gentle calling, “Priscilla, come back to me. I’m here.”

I still have a long way to go, but seeing God’s hand in my life, touching me deeply where I have needed it the most, has been a life-changing experience for me. No one wants to go through hard times. No one knows exactly how they’ll handle those times when they do arise. But God is always there, touching and healing in intimate ways.

I fear we try to “fix” things much more often than we’re meant too. When we’re supposed to be leaning on God, we’re running around trying to force things to happen and make our lives perfect looking, while deep within, our spirit smothers.

I’ve found that God addresses our need for intimacy by drawing us to Himself first.

Only then, when we’re nestled close to Him, are we free to begin to engage fully in other relationships. If you’re going through something similar, I’d ask you, dear sister, to kneel where you are and hold up closed fists to God. Slowly let your fingers open and give your burdens, one at a time, into His hands. He’s gentle with the sorrowful and the weak and the worn out.

He loves you.
Rich intimacy awaits.

Priscilla CashPriscilla Cash is married to an Army National Guard Soldier, a veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom. She spends much of her time caring for their precious toddler son, keeping their home running and trying to better her skills as a wife, mother, friend, and follower of Christ. When she’s not engaged in the above, you’ll find her reading, freelance writing, crocheting, and bookmaking. You can find her on her blog at priscillacash.blogspot.com.

[photo credit: loungerie via photopin cc]

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New Book: Dream Devotional Releases Easter

Fisher COVER Dream Devotional WebI am excited to release Dream Devotional, my fifth book, on Easter!

My story of hope. (No, this is not an April Fool’s joke)! There are many reasons why I choose not to share about writing this book until it was releasing.

I loathe the fact that a traditionally published book can take up to two years to release, and instead of letting you know what I am doing every step of the way — only to have lost your attention by the time the book is released, I wanted to keep it a surprise!

Surprise!

I needed to write Dream Devotional for me first. When I wrote that my dream died back in November, I received many encouraging notes and emails. It was on my heart to write a short devotional on hope, and when my dear friend Arlene Pellicane suggested I do just that — without me ever saying anything to her — I knew I had to write it.

As I began writing Dream Devotional, God restored my hope in Him, then He confirmed I was to continue writing to inspire others. It was very encouraging to hear that Forgiving Others, Forgiving Me started selling well again as I was writing!

It was definitely a miracle.

That’s why I kept Dream Devotional a secret. I needed to know that God could be my hope before I shared it with you.  

I wanted to go back to my roots of what I originally thought of becoming the Devotional Diva®. I  wanted to thank you — my family, friends, and fans — for sticking with me for the past 5 years. If it weren’t for your encouragement, I definitely wouldn’t have made it. Now it’s my turn to help you achieve your dreams!

Like Joshua, I believe with all my heart and soul “that not one of all the good promises the Lord your God gave [me] has failed. Every promise has been fulfilled; not one has failed” (Joshua 23:14, NIV). I have seen God answer all my prayers. Can you say the same? Why or why not?

Dream Devotional DandelionTo celebrate the launch of Dream Devotional: 40 Days of Hope, I created a special Pinterest page with 40 images plus the cover here.

Feel free to share as many pictures as you like on social media to help me spread the word about my newest book, and let’s start a dream revolution! Speaking of a revolution.

Last month I attended Dream Culture, a conference at Bethel Church in Redding, CA with my best friend Monique. She is a missionary to Haiti and I only get to see her when she is on furlough. I knew it was a God thing that she told me about this conference immediately following the news that I was releasing a book on dreams.

It was an incredible experience to reconnect with my best friend, get away, and get wrecked by God and the kindness of strangers. If you missed reading about when dreams come true, you can read and watch my story here.

I can’t wait for you to get wrecked by God because He is the only one who has the power to resurrect dead dreams and bring them back to life.

I hope you’ll join me this Easter on the 40 day journey of hope and dreams.

I hope you dream.

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