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Calming the Child

IMG_5049He who He who forms the mountains, who creates the wind, and who reveals his thoughts to mankind, who turns dawn to darkness, and treads on the heights of the earth—the Lord God Almighty is his name. Amos 4:13 NIV

Sunday morning I awoke to the sound of the wind gusting and branches smacking our metal roof. I hate storms, particularly anything involving wind or lightning. When I was a child, a tree had fallen on our house. Even though I had spent the night with my grandparents, who lived down the road, that accident created a domino effect of events that changed my life forever. 

As the wind howled and prevented my return to Dreamland, I prayed and asked God to calm the storm. And if He wouldn’t do that, then would He please calm this child. 

For the next two hours, my mind drifted to my current WIP, the previous day’s activities and the week ahead. For the most part, I didn’t focus on the wind until it picked back up again, then I repeated my prayer. 

These gusts of wind are nothing compared to storms others have endured, but they caused anxiety and sleeplessness in me. For me, for that moment, the wind was troubling. God heard the whispers because the wind died down at times, and I managed not to dwell on it. 

Wind can be cool and refreshing on a hot summer’s day. Or it can be devastating and wreck havoc. Even the strongest tree can crack if the wind is strong enough. 

My friend Dee (Delores Topliff) wrote a great post on our group MBT Ponderers blog a couple of weeks ago called Lessons from Aesop, talking about how adversity allows us to lean on God. 

God stays constant, never bending or breaking. And no matter how small or heavy are the wind gusts in our lives, He hears every prayer, every cry of our heart. Sometimes we may think He can’t hear us, but not only has He heard, but He’s at work calming the storm…or the child. 

Your Turn: Does howling wind comfort you or keep you from sleeping? How to you handle adversity in the storm?

Lisa Jordan
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Guest Blogger Casey Herringshaw: Not Always Waiting Patiently…

Casey Herringshaw is one of the sweetest, most encouraging people I know. We met through My Book Therapy, then in person at ACFW–American Christian Fiction Writers. She has a heart for Jesus and celebrating others.

She is a homeschool graduate and has been writing since high school. She lives in rural Eastern Oregon in a town more densely populated with cows than people. Taking the words and stories God has placed on her heart and putting them on paper is one of her highest passions in life. Casey is a member of ACFW. You can connect with her through her personal blog, Writing for Christ and her writing related group blog, The Writer’s Alley

~*~

I’m not a patient person.

Shoot, I just admitted one of my biggest flaws on the World Wide Web. But, I’m not. Never have been. My mom tells a story of me as a teeny bopper, cranking up the volume on the stereo between the silence before the next song.

Nope, patience is not my favorite skill and one I don’t employ often enough. But ask me about my publishing journey and I’ll gladly tell you I’ll wait as long as I have too. I’ll closet myself in the back corner, throw away the key, and edit until Christ comes back…instead of submitting, for fear I’ll send out an inferior product.

Ask me about any personal romance or love life and ooo baby, the patience flies out the window.  Suddenly I’m not so eager to refine who I am in Christ, not anxious to truly become the wife and child of the King I need to be, instead I want to jump in with two feet now…why have to spend all that time waiting?

As I sat here thinking about writing this post, I started comparing my two “goals” as you would have it. I would love to be published, but I’m willing to work and refine my craft until it becomes as good as I can make it—I’m willing to take all the time I need. But when it comes to romance and marriage, I’m not as willing to put in that patient work and effort. I mean seriously, at twenty-one, who doesn’t want to be snatched up and given a special new name? Suddenly I’m not so eager to spend as much time as I need.

Welllll…problem is God is saying wait. It’s not the right time. And if I’m not okay with that, I’m going to have a miserable existence. My question so often to myself, is why can’t I just accept His timing like I can with my writing?

If I’m willing to make my writing the very best it can, I should be just as willing to put in the time and effort to perfect my life in Christ.  Let’s face it, we are all works in progress, crafted by the Master’s hand, but we can only crafted as far as we allow ourselves to be sculpted to His will.

Maybe it won’t be this year. Maybe it won’t be next year, but like with my publishing future, I have to keep editing, keep revising and keep praying that God will mold me into the image of His love and perfect match for my future husband.

Will you join me? Revising, waiting, praying…patiently.

Your Turn: Is waiting a struggle for you? How do you get through it? What area of waiting are you in right now? How is God helping you?

Lisa Jordan
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What Would You Do For Your Children?

 In my newest novel, Lakeside Family, Josie will do anything to save her daughter’s life…even if it means facing a man from her past–Hannah’s father. 

When I brainstormed Lakeside Family, I had to give Josie a good enough reason to want to find Nick again. After all, the man broke her heart ten years ago. Despite the pain and resentment she felt, she knew she needed to put that aside and find him. He was her daughter’s last hope.

As a mother, I would do anything to keep my boys safe. That Mama Bear instinct kicks in and I’m all ready to tackle the world on their behalf. Wouldn’t most parents do the same for their children? 

So why do we think God is different? Why do we put God in a box and think He couldn’t or wouldn’t do something for us?

We are God’s children. 

The Bible is filled with stories of His grace, His protectiveness, His “Papa Bear” instinct. 

And like our own children, we become angry or disappointed when God doesn’t give us what we want when we want it. Would we give in to our children over everything they wanted? No. So why do we expect God to do the same for us?

Positive parenting allows children to develop and grow into responsible adults who understand right and wrong and the consequences of their actions. 

We serve a loving God who wants the best for us. He is the role model for positive parenting. He is our Heavenly Father. And He wants the very best for us…whatever it takes. 

Your Turn: If you are a parent, what would you do for your children? If you’re not a parent, what have you seen your parents do for you? How does your parenting style or upbringing correlate with God’s parenting?

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**Be sure to comment on my Lakeside Family Book Release Celebration post for an opportunity to win fun prizes!

**My sweet friend Roxanne Gray interviewed me on MBT Ponderers. Stop by and comment for a chance to win a signed copy of Lakeside Family.  

Lisa Jordan
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Guest Author Dineen Miller: Loving God Helps Me Love My Husband

Dineen and I are kindred spirits in many ways–we are both new authors, we share the same agent and we understand the challenges of having a spiritually unequal marriage. When I met Dineen and her ministry, I realized I was not alone. I treasure her friendship. I hope her words bless you as much as they’ve blessed me. 

In addition to writing for Spiritually Unequal Marriage, Dineen Miller has won several prestigious awards for her fiction. She’s also a C.L.A.S.S. Communicator and has been featured on the Moody Radio Network, Family Life and Focus on the Family Radio. Married for 24 years to a guy who keeps her young, she lives in the Bay Area with her husband and two adult daughters, who surprise her daily with their own creativity.

Meet Lexie Baltimore, who is in the supernatural battle of her life. In obedience to God’s calling, Lexie uses her art and dreams to help others. But will she have enough courage to help herself when she becomes torn between her atheist husband and a godly man?

A widower and a father, Pastor Nate Winslow is drowning in darkness. Will he resist his treacherous assignment to win Lexie’s heart, or give in to the attraction between them?

As events unfold, Lexie becomes entangled in a twisted plot. Can she overcome the evil assailing her, or will she yield to the dark side? View The Soul Saver trailer, then purchase your copy of The Soul Saver!  

~*~

I will tell you, in all honesty, that I cannot love my husband in my own strength. It’s not possible. I tried to for a many years and would do fine for a while, but inevitably I would run out of steam. Resentment would seep back in and these feelings and thoughts more often had to do with how little I perceived to be getting back in the relationship. That was my own selfishness creeping in. To truly love my husband requires unconditional love that’s centered in Christ, not me.

Especially since he doesn’t share my faith. My husband and I are spiritually mismatched. Marriage in itself is fraught with challenges, but add a spiritual disconnect and you have an additional conflict, which bleeds into everything else.

First, I had to ask God to help me love my husband the way He loves him. To put a love in my heart for my spouse that far exceeds what I am capable of. God answered that prayer and keeps answering it faithfully, but it truly starts in my love for God. The more we love God—the more we live for Him—the more we are able to love others unconditionally.

Take a look at Matthew 22:37-39:

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

First, and foremost, we’re told to love God with everything we’ve got. THEN, we are to love others. Maybe, like me, you thought the part about loving God came first, because God wants to be first in our lives. You would be right, but I also think it’s because that second part isn’t going to happen unless we grasp the first.

Jesus boiled down the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Bible, to two commands. Love God first, then love others. In that order. God never seems to have only one reason for anything He says and does. He is the most efficient being there is! He doesn’t just tell us to make Him first in our lives, He’s also telling us that in order to be able to love others like this, we have to love Him first.

Loving God first opens the door for God to love others through us. That is how we love sacrificially. This is especially crucial in my own marriage because this is the love that wins a heart to Christ. And that is my calling in my marriage, to love my “prebeliever” with a love that comes from God so that he can get a taste of who God is. In my love for my husband, I can be a sacred influence in his life.

The truth of the matter is, loving your spouse, or anyone for that matter, means loving sacrificially. And the only way to love sacrificially is through Christ. 

Your Turn: If you’re married, how has God helped you love your spouse?  If you’re not married, how has God helped you to love others?

~*~

I have a special gift for anyone who signs up for my occasional newsletter. They will receive a free copy of my ebook, The Making of The Soul Saver. It’s a 38 pages of extras, like the special features DVD that comes with your favorite movie. You can read about the stories behind the story, my on location research, the cast of The Soul Saver if it were a movie, an interview with Lexie Baltimore and three brand new Soul Saver scenes! I’m thrilled to share this with you! And I promise not to abuse your inbox. 🙂

 

Sign up here: http://authordineenmiller.com/news-press/

Lisa Jordan
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Guest Blogger Jessica Patch: Nothing Says I Love You Like Dog Poo

I met Jessica R. Patch online through her hilarious, yet spiritually moving blog, What Are You Doing Here. She’s one whom I can’t wait to meet in person. Her posts make me LOL and nearly bring me to tears. And I always leave with some nugget of wisdom. 

Jessica R. Patch writes inspirational contemporary romance with plenty of mystery and suspense. A passion to draw women into intimacy with God keeps her motivated, along with heaping cups of caffeine in the form of coffee. When she’s not hunched over her laptop or speaking to a women’s group, you can find her sneaking off to movies with her husband, embarrassing her daughter in unique ways, beating her son at board games and contemplating how to get rid of her irksome dog (she hasn’t attempted any of them…yet). She is represented by Rachel Kent of Books & Such Literary Agency.

~*~

I woke up early, on purpose. Bible study, coffee, and reading a few blogs before Zumba and work. My husband was ten minutes to giving me my morning kiss and heading off to his job.

Naturally, my dog gets up when I do. I don’t know why. I’m an animal tolerate. I want to be an animal person. I’m just not.

I let her out to do her morning biz and proceeded to the brewed heaven. Before I had the chance to take a sip, Sarah (my dog) is at the door, nose to the glass ready to come in. But I notice something about my little Schnauzer/terrier mix. Something is clinging to her backside. A lot of something.

Oh. My. Gosh. I can’t let her in! But…

I go into the bathroom, hubby is standing at the sink–khakis, bare chest, a smidge of shaving cream still lingering behind his ear. “The dog has poop stuck to her butt.”

He looked at me through the mirror. “Ok.”

He makes no mention to help me out. I go back to the kitchen grab a wad of paper towels, roll up the sleeves to my picked, but favorite robe and step outside. “I hate you,” I muttered. I tried to pull it off, but it smeared into her fur. I gagged. Wiped.

Then puked all over my patio.

I came inside, turned on the water, rinsed my mouth and hubby came in and saw me. He was already running late. I fell against the wall, pulled a perfect Lucille Ball….waaaaaah! “I didn’t sign up for this!”

He went outside, got the dog and brought her in. Then he washed away the filth, cut off some funky hair and said, “I didn’t either. But I love you… Throw the scissors away.”

I sniffed, wiped my eyes and kissed my husband good bye.

And I realized the honeymoon is over, but my husband is still deeply in love with me. What else could it be?

And then I thought about God. Isn’t that the kind of love He has for us? When no one else wants to let us in because we’re full of filth and stankiness, He does. He loves us enough to not puke on the patio. To cut wash us clean, and to cut away funky “hair.”

When the poo hits the fan, that’s when love it tested. Or in my case, when the poo hits my dog’s butt.

Your Turn: What has your spouse or loved one done for you to show real love?

Lisa Jordan
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4 Cs of Marriage

“God created marriage.

No government subcommittee envisioned it.

No social organization developed it.

Marriage was conceived and born in the mind of God.”  

~ Max Lucado

This past weekend I attended a 50th wedding anniversary celebration where a couple from church renewed their wedding vows followed by a nice dinner at a local hotel.

As we watched this lovely couple pledge their faith and renew their commitment to one another and their families, I kept thinking about the examples they set for others. They have servants’ hearts for God, others and each other. Married 50 years, and they continue to go on trips together, show affection toward one another and model Jesus in the skin. 

I didn’t need to ask about their secret of a successful marriage because I knew–when they recited their first vows in 1962, they didn’t repeat words. They made a promise to one another and to God. They put others before themselves. They maintained a strong faith in their household. He is so considerate of her, and I’ve never heard her speak a negative word about him. They have raised four children together and continue to model Jesus in the skin for their grandchildren. I know they’ve had their problems, but they don’t put them on display for public viewing. 

In today’s society, marriage gets a bad rap and is often proclaimed as an archaic institution. Many people are blinded by infatuation and lust and rush into marriage before taking the time to consider making a promise for a lifetime. Check out the tabloids and you’ll see headlines of marriages lasting hours. Why is celebrating 50 years a momentous milestone instead of a norm?

I believe it’s a combination of 4 Cs: choice, commitment, compromise and communication. 

  • Marriage is a choice. We live in a society where marriage is a choice unless you grew up in a culture where your future spouse is chosen for you. The majority of us met our spouses, fell in love, and chose to spend our lives together. Sometimes people put more thought into buying a car than into their marriage. 
  • Marriage is a commitment. Many people put their own wants, needs and desires first–before God and before their intended or current spouses. Putting yourself below God and the needs of your spouse doesn’t mean you should be a doormat or your spouse’s slave. Putting God and others before yourself is a Biblical command that applies to marriage and to life. 
  • Marriage is a compromise. Maintaining a strong and healthy marriage takes work, consideration and compromise. God instructed the husband to be the leader in the home, but the wife is his support. Making decisions together and reaching compromises shows your ability to work together. 
  • Marriage is about communication. I believe this is the biggest obstacle married couples need to overcome–failure to communicate. Yes, it’s tough talking to your spouse about certain subjects, but if you’re willing to rant to your friends about the things that bug you, why can’t you talk to the one you promised to love, honor and cherish for the rest of your life? And, by the way, I’m so guilty at this, but getting better. We all have those lies that echo in our heads, and those lies flare up when the need to talk with our spouses about the big things arises. Whether it’s money, parenting styles or even drawing attention to an issue that drives you nuts, you need to talk about it. Otherwise, resentment builds a wall between the two of you. Before you handle those tough issues, pray about it, seek wise counsel from a trusted individual such as your pastor, then go to your spouse when you have his or her full attention, and ask, “Hey, can we talk?” Be sure to begin your conversation with you instead of directing the blame on your spouse. For example, “I have concerns about the way our budget is being handled.” instead of “You’re doing a crappy job of making the house payment on time.” Speak to your spouse in love and focus on the positive. 

I completely understand marriages do fall apart despite a spouse’s or a couple’s best efforts to keep it together. I believe there are solid reasons for dissolving a marriage, but that’s a different blog post. 

Each marriage is different, and your relationships are unique. Comparing your relationship to someone else’s is like comparing your kids. Pray for your spouse daily. Ask for God’s anointing on your marriage. Support and encourage your spouse to be the best he or she can be. Together, you can strive for that 50th anniversary milestone. 

Your turn: What’s the best piece of marital advice you’ve been given? What advice would you share with a newlywed couple? 

(If you haven’t yet, consider subscribing to my blog to receive posts in your inbox. Use the first box in the right sidebar. Also, consider “liking” my Facebook Author Page.)

Lisa Jordan
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