Perfect Peace: Guest Blog by Susan Tuttle

Susan Tuttle is one of my favorite people. She is a fiction writer and seriously loves the Lord — you get that whenever you read something coming from her keyboard. Susan is one of my cyber critique partners. She blesses me with her spiritual gift of encouragement, and everything she says and does is filtered through an extremely kind heart. One of these days, we may actually get to meet in person and exchange PHYSICAL HUGS for the first time!

Susan attended the American Christian Fiction Writers’ conference for the first time this year, held in Dallas, Texas. For those of you who don’t write Christian fiction, this is the Holy Grail of conferences. It is a big deal! I asked for Susan’s perspective on she saw God working through this important event in her life.

Meet my sweet writer sister and friend, Susan!

 

So this year I went to the ACFW conference. I was a First Timer—got my little brown ribbon to add to my tag and everything. It was an amazing time, even for this introvert.

See, for many of us, going into a situation where there are seven hundred people who you don’t know, appointments with editors and agents, classes and meal times with open-seating…it’s all very intimidating. Yet I have to tell you, if God is calling you to jump out of your comfort zone, He will catch you.

For me that jump was the ACFW conference, and I took a verse with me: You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal. Isaiah 26:3-5 And God fulfilled that verse in so many ways.

But first I had to do my part. That whole, “mind steadfast on Him” thing? That part was up to me. So I began each day in the prayer room. I reminded myself that I can do nothing apart from Him, but I can do ALL things THROUGH Him. That to everything there is a season. And that my steps are ordered by Him.

As a result, I entered each appointment with a blanket of peace. When I walked into the dining hall, it didn’t matter that it was a sea of unknown faces. I ***gasp***sat with people I didn’t know! In the hallways I said “hello” as I passed people. In the elevators I struck up conversations. And in every breath of every moment, God covered me with His peace.

He’d asked me to go and blessed my obedience.

And that’s the point I’ve finally gotten to. I desire obedience more than I fear the situation He’s called me into, because I know He will meet me in the middle of each calling and give me His perfect peace.

If you’re on the fence about something God is calling you to, jump. Just do it. He’s got huge arms and He loves you, no way He’s letting you fall.

And if it’s the ACFW conference, let me give you a little push: GO! The people who help make this conference happen bathe it in prayer. God’s presence is so strong, everyone is so kind, there is a wealth of information, and—as an added bonus—you can talk about imaginary people all you want without one person thinking you’re crazy!

 

Susan Tuttle is a homeschooling mom of three who is crazy about coffee, dark chocolate, and words—both reading and writing them. Combine that love of words with her passion for leading women to a life-changing encounter with Christ, and you’ll find her crafting Inspirational Contemporary Romance stories laced with humor, love, and healing transformations. When not cheering on her Ironman hubby Doug, chasing the family dog, or tackling complex math problems to teach her kids (yes, even the second-grader), you can catch Susan at her blog, Steps. http://stepsusan.blogspot.com/

 

A Challenge to Love: Guest Blog by Shelley Foushee

I Corinthians 13:4 says,  “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.”

You’ve probably heard this verse in just about every wedding you’ve ever attended. It was definitely in my wedding. Hi, I’m Shelley Foushee and I just wanted to share how this verse really impacted my life.

Every year as my New Year’s resolution I challenge myself with doing something I’ve never done. Usually this is a physical challenge like learning to play golf, mowing grass with a tractor, running in a half-marathon, but in 2009 my challenge was to love as I am instructed in I Corinthians 13:4.

You would think that compared to some physical challenges this would be easy.

Loving as Jesus does includes every single person with whom we come in contact. You know: your kids, husband, extended family. Not to mention teachers, sales clerks, or the “friendemy” who puts you down at every turn.

As I went through the year I had some stumbling blocks thrown in my way and was tempted to cry “uncle.”

But as I focused on what God wanted me to do with others, I realized how thankful I am that God doesn’t give up on me. He never shakes His head in disappointment when I let Him down, or withdraws from me when I don’t act like He wants. I became much more conscious of my own shortcomings. With this awareness, it became easier to show compassion. Not to overreact when situations were out of my control. To show forgiveness without keeping a record of wrong-doings. To take joy in the smallest things.

It was like a beautiful sunshiney day, after it’s rained for a week! God worked on my heart in a way that changed me. God is good every day. I just needed to take the time to notice.

Here’s my challenge to you. Try loving everyone everyday like Christ loves you. I promise you will be the one who is the most blessed.

My name is Shelley Foushee. I’ve been married for 16 years to Wes. We have two Awesome Children — Jessee (14 years) and Faith (12 years). I accepted Christ when I was 7 years old but I spend everyday of my life searching to know Him better.

Lean In and Listen: WOF 2012

A group of us Ridgecrest ladies, 38 in all, attended the Women of Faith conference in Charlotte, NC, over the past weekend.  All in all, we had a delightful time and there were many highlights from the conference, sitting only seven rows from the stage. Here are a few I thought I’d share from two of the speakers–

FROM PATSY CLAIRMONT:

“Proverbs says ‘It is better to live on a roof of a house in the searing sun in the wilderness than with a woman who is dripping complaints.’  Now that’s a very loose translation.”

“James says ‘Wisdom that is from above always comes through the sieve of the counsel of God’s Word. ‘Always test what you ‘hear’ against that standard and you’ll know where it came from.”

“The thing I criticize others for, I am usually guilty of this same thing.”

“Moses was a basket case, a bushwhacker, and a bench warmer, before God used him. But Moses LEANED IN and LISTENED at the burning bush, and things changed. God speaks through unexpected places through unexpected people.”

FROM CHRISTINE CAINE:

(Some of our favorite words from this dynamic Australian’s mouth were “awesome” and “chicks conference.” She took us to the 8th chapter of Exodus, to Pharoah’s response to Moses after the plague of frogs.)

“Pharaoh’s response to Moses’ question of when should God take away the frogs blows me away: Pharaoh said ‘Tomorrow.’ We all know God’s willing to get rid of the frogs, and He can get rid of the frogs. But Pharaoh says, ‘Come back and do it. . . TOMORROW.’”

“Very few of us dare to step into tomorrow. We’re ‘stuck in the moment.’ We live in a fallen world, where bad things happen to people. You must make a decision to deal with yesterday, then you can step into TOMORROW.”

“Every person can live in total freedom through Christ. . . but you must embrace the pain of the recovery.”

 Just a few snippets of what we heard–!

The praise and worship throughout the weekend was wonderful as well. Sandi Patty (who wears scary tall shoes, then slips into her glittery flip-flops). . . Mandisa (who looks wonderful and sounds even better). . . .and a special 3-woman team of praise leaders who led us in worship through many favorites. An extra treat happened on Friday night when comedienne Chonda Pierce spoke. As always, she brought the house down with her stories.

It was a refreshing, enjoyable time to get away, well worth the effort to make it happen. If you have the chance to go with your friends or church group when the WOF comes to a nearby town, GO. You’ll be glad you did! God will bless you!

Lookin’ up,