Friday, October 16, 2009

Is Fear Holding You Back?

“For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7 (New International Version)

For most of my adult life, I’ve let fear keep me timid. There were times when I would take a step forward and be bold. But most of the time, I didn’t. It wouldn’t matter how excited I was, or how much I longed to be a part of something special. Fear would hold me back. I would often ask myself, “Am I good enough? Am I smart enough, interesting enough?” And sometimes I’d even wonder, “Am I spiritual enough?”

If you’ve ever given in and let fear hold you back, you know exactly what I’m talking about. Fear will crush your dreams. It can cripple you, and keep you from doing the things you want to do most.

Then something changed. Something happened in my life a couple of years ago and I had to face some very frightening realities. I knew the only way I could face them was with Jesus by my side.

A dear and wise friend told me God did not give us a spirit of fear. She’s absolutely right.

The Bible is full of wonderful, hope-filled scriptures that I pray will help us all come through our fears with the peace that only He can give us.

If you’re hampered by fear, I would encourage you to pray about it and remember this scripture.

The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear? Psalm 27:1

Know that you aren’t alone. Who knows what can happen when you let God be your wings. You can SOAR!

I wouldn’t presume to say nothing bad will ever happen, or that you won’t experience pain along the way. But Jesus can give you the courage to face your deepest fear and come out the victor. I know He did for me.

We all have something from our past to explain why we let fear get the better of us. But there comes a time when we have to conquer it. At least, that time came for me. I made the commitment to overcome my fears, and with God’s help, I’m doing fairly well. I won’t lie and say I’ve been able to obliterate all fear from my spirit. I still have this little germophobic thing I’m trying to deal with. But I’ve come a long way. Just a couple of months ago, I did this:

And this:

And I’m so glad I did. I had the best day with my son, a day I’ll treasure forever. If I had let my fear get the better of me, I don’t think my memories of that day would be as precious as they are.

After this, the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision: “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward.” Genesis 15:1

God gave Abram the best reason of all not to fear: He promised to be his shield, and He promised to be his very great reward. He’s promising the same for us.

So take a chance. Spread your wings and fly, knowing you won’t be alone. God is with you, and He’ll bless you.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Ooh, La La. Seattle, France, Romance, Pasteries...and Whidbey Island, too.

I was so excited when I came home from work yesterday. Not because it was the end of the work week—an intense week where I started three classes and wasn’t able to write a single word on my manuscript—but because a cardboard carton from Amazon was wedged in my mailbox. I love boxes from Amazon, B&N, and Overstock. They always contain my favorite things…books.

Hooray for books! My husband says I have way more than I need. But I don’t think there’s such a thing as too many books.

As I scrambled to get the carton out of my mailbox, scraping my fingers in the process, I realized it was too small to contain both of the books I ordered. Only half my order had arrived. But my disappointment quickly faded when I pulled the book out of the box and saw the delicious cover. My treasure? An inspirational novel, Pièce de Résistance by Sandra Byrd. Book number three in the French Twist series featuring an adorable heroine, Lexi Stuart.

If you’ve read the first two books in this series, then you’ve probably been waiting for this book just so you can feast your eyes on the drool-worthy cover. Each book cover in the French Twist series is enough to make the most dedicated dieter waver.

If you haven’t read the first two books, you’re in for a treat. Let me recap them for you.

Book One: Let Them Eat Cake
Lexi Stuart is fresh out of college and unable to find a job. Her love life isn’t so great, either. But the course of her life changes when she accepts a job at her favorite French bakery. The inner-workings of the bakery are enough to keep the reader engaged, but author Sandra Byrd mixes romance with an inspirational journey amidst a bustling Seattle setting. Oh, yes, and Lexi visits Whidbey Island, too.

Book Two: Bon Appétit
This book follows Lexi to a small village in France where she will apprentice in a family owned bakery. Your mouth will water over more than the cover since the author has included several recipes. I found this to be my favorite of the first two books because I could so easily imagine myself in Lexi’s place as she struggles to please everyone around her. Things get difficult for Lexi as she finds herself torn between the man she left behind in Seattle and the French single dad who is her boss.

Book Three: Pièce de Résistance
That brings us to Pièce de Résistance and Lexi’s return to Seattle, (notice the Space Needle on the background of the cover?) where she’s put in charge of a new high-end French bakery. She only has a few months to prove herself and make the business a success, but it won’t be easy. Romance proves to be a challenge as well, since both men are still in her life, but Lexi is relying on God to show her the way.

I started reading Pièce de Résistance last night, and was thoroughly hooked—especially after the author mentioned Lexi’s vacation on Whidbey Island. Since I can’t wait to see how Lexi’s romantic dilemma untangles, I’m headed the beach where I can spend the day reading and soaking up the last of the bit of sunshine.

The French Twist series is the perfect recipe for a satisfying read: Seattle, France, pastries and romance. Oh, with a dash of Whidbey Island, too.

I suppose you don’t have to have read the first two books to read Pièce de Résistance, but for purposes of personal pleasure, I would highly recommend it.

Okay, I’m off to finish this yummy book. But before I go, I want to know, have you ever been to Whidbey Island?