In mid-December, as I was praying about my One Word for 2017, God gave me the word SERVING. I whined. “Really, God? I don’t want that word. This has been an emotionally exhausting year. I need a word that’s easy. Can’t I have RELAX, QUIET, RESTORE, something restful?” Yes, I was reluctant to accept the word God placed on my heart.
2016 was a stressful year…my husband needed to finish and defend a PhD dissertation, I faced contest deadlines for writing a manuscript in four months, and amid winter storms, we were moving from our apartment in Colorado back to our home in New Mexico. Toward the end of the year when we felt all our challenges had been completed, my father suffered a stroke and passed away a week later. I was overwhelmed. But the spiritual theme I’d used in the manuscript I had completed echoed in my mind…
But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. Isaiah 40:31 (KJV)
Yes, God gave me the strength to accomplish a great deal during the past year. I wrote THE END on a 73,000 word book and received encouraging feedback from a top New York editor. My husband successfully completed his ten-year education project and is now “Doctor Engineer.” Our move was delayed by icy roads, but we arrived safely home. Most importantly, my father, a man of strong faith, lived independently as he wished up until the stroke. As God’s compassionate plan, my dad didn’t suffer long and joined my mother in heaven. During all this, God blessed me with the treasured blessings of strength and comfort, along with the faith and hope of eternal life, provided by our Lord’s grace.
I’m abundantly blessed with love, faith and forgiveness. Then as I continued to contemplate my One Word, I found myself reflecting on the wise thought in the Bible: of those given much, much is required. God knows me so well….my fears, my weaknesses, my talents. While I was still delaying my One Word declaration for 2017, God placed this Scripture on my heart:
Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 1 Peter 4:10 (NIV)
So with grateful acknowledgement of all my #TreasuredBlessings, my One Word for 2017 is SERVING. I anticipate with joy what God will do with my servant attitude.
Were you given a #OneWord2017?
May you always walk with God’s treasured blessings!
I’m reviewing Julie Lessman’s new book, Isle of Hope: Unfailing Love (Isle of Hope Series Book 1).
I’m thrilled Julie has written a contemporary romance…..and in the lovely coastal setting of Isle of Hope, Georgia. Please have a snickerdoodle (as featured in this book) and some peach tea….either iced or hot, as we chat about this emotional book of forgiveness.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
She stole his heart.
He stole her peace.
Can hope steal their pain?
At the age of eighteen, Lacey Carmichael was a wild girl bent on fun, promised to Jack Carmichael, a straight-and-narrow pastor’s kid bent on the seminary. When her father kicks her out of the house, she runs away from Isle of Hope, turning her back on everything she loves. Now, eight years later, she’s back as a woman of faith, hoping to make amends to the father she defied, the boyfriend she deserted, and the best friend she denied. Only the bridges she’s burned are still smoldering, kindled by an adulterous affair by Jack’s pastor father that damaged his son’s faith. But can a turning of tables—and hearts—lead the way back to “hope” for them all?
Please enjoy some snickerdoodles before reading my review. I loved all the food treats included in this story! Here is recipe I found on the AllRecipes site for Snickerdoodle Mix in a Jar. This would make a yummy hostess gift for the upcoming holidays…..or a friendship gift to go along with a copy of Isle of Hope.
Extraordinary!Isle of Hope: Unfailing Love is a riveting story of humility, selfless love, and extraordinary forgiveness!
“Wow!” and “Oh, my!” …..my thoughts as I read the pages of Isle of Hope, a novel packed with emotion!
The first line of Isle of Hope lets us know there is drama and intensity ahead in this story. This is a reunion romance–a romance which started back in high school between Lacey, the class flirt, and Jack, a pastor’s son. Years later, they are back in Isle of Hope for a wedding celebration. Many issues come to light as the story evolves. Just as I felt the characters had solved an emotional crisis and all would be fine, another mountain would rise before them, definitely surprising me. This book compelled me to read as fast as I could to find out if their happily-ever-after was even a possibility after so much pain and regret.
I like Lacey’s courage and her persistence as she tries to reconcile with her father concerning their hurtful past. Jack is great. He shows such tenderness towards the woman who left him. He is dedicated to his family and to helping his pediatric patients. All the other characters were intriguing, but I especially liked Tess, with her warmth and gentle faith…and her nurturing gifts (bribes?) of food, including bacon for Beau, Ben’s dog. It is satisfying to live with these characters as they struggle with forgiveness. Isle of Hope is fantastic to read…filled with the unimaginable pain of betrayal, which then escalates with the tension of powerful anger and hopeful love. Julie Lessman is a passionate writer who excels at filling a story with heart-thumping emotion, while including the gentle reminder that God is our HOPE, and He is truly in control.
“You should know better than anyone—there is no hope without forgiveness.”
“I believe that the truth spoken in love is not only the best gift I can give, but the most critical as well.”
“This is the moment you’ve been praying for.”
“It’s never too late to love.”
*I received a copy of this book for my review. This is my honest opinion of this extraordinary book.
ABOUT JULIE LESSMAN AND HER CONTEST
Julie has a contest on her website, which you can check her contest page for how to enter. JULIE’S CONTEST PAGE
For more information about Julie Lessman, you will find her website is filled with information about her books, how to sign up for her newsletter, and her spiritual journey. JULIE LESSMAN WEBSITE
As I’ve mentioned above, Isle of Hope is an extraordinary book. Since I mainly read contemporary romance, I was delighted to learn Julie has expanded from her historical novels to begin a contemporary series. After reading this first book, I’m hoping for some of the characters I so enjoyed will have their own HEA.
I appreciate the forgiveness theme in this book. We probably all have some issues, big or small, in our lives which cause bitterness. This book powerfully hit me with the reminder that forgiveness is the only way to peace….and God will give me the strength to forgive……extraordinary strength…..if I listen and obey.
I need to tell you this: Julie is such a gracious person. Regretfully, I had to back out of her official blog tour because I had over committed my time. Since I like to believe I’m a responsible blogger, I was embarrassed to let her know I couldn’t promise to have a review done by the date of the blog tour, even though I had already accepted an electronic version of her book. Perhaps someone else might have been upset and angry that I had broken my promise of promotion and reviews. However, Julie absolutely understood my situation, making me feel completely forgiven. I have the greatest respect for Julie because she does truly live her faith. It’s not just words in a book.
Please help me remember you are our God of hope and extraordinary forgiveness. You know all things…my sins against others for which I need forgiveness and the forgiveness I need to extend to others as you have forgiven me. Please continue to help me have a forgiving and humble heart.
Thank you for gifting authors, like Julie Lessman, with the ability to write words which challenge me to walk more perfectly in your ways. Bless Julie’s efforts with this book to bring the hope of extraordinary forgiveness to many.
I ask this in the name of Jesus Christ.
Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
Ephesians 4:32 NIV
Thank you for joining me for #TuesdayTea!
May all your days be blessed with the extraordinary treasure of God’s forgiveness!