My New Favorite

3 Star Golden Vector Icon ButtonWith the release of a new book, authors typically follow the reviews closely to get a “read” on the response to their work. I’m one of those authors. Several times a day, I login and take a look. It’s kind of like showing up at work with your new baby and having the group give it the once over. You labored painfully, birthed it, and now it’s on display for everyone to see. And comment on. I recall my always-appropriate mother once step back from a wrinkly squawking bundle of joy and say, “Wow! Now that’s a baby!” It was the kindest remark she could muster in the moment.

That’s typical of the information you receive on your book baby. Some days you feel pretty good about the data. Other days, not as much. And the perfectionist in me can fixate on the few that are not so good.

I’ve been blessed not to have anyone take to my bundle with a hatchet or an ax to grind, but on a five-point rating scale, you pray for reviews in the four or five star category. But today, I’ve got a new favorite. A three-star favorite.

The review caught me off-guard, as three stars is not a predictor for great news. She had received the book free of charge through an Amazon program, and often folks get books they’d never have purchased on their own. So as a faith-based author, you occasionally get some folks unhappy that you reminded them about God.

But this reader titled her review as “Helped Me Realize a Thing or Two.” That created real curiosity on my part. Here’s what she said:

“I’m not usually into self-help relationship books that are based on religion but this one seemed like a good fit for my situation. I picked this up weeks before my husband plopped down divorce papers on the counter so… yeah. There’s that.

There is a lot of helpful advice here to take – religious or not. The religion base didn’t bother me as much as I thought it would. The thing that stuck with me the most was the fact of “I choose you.” and being married or even being with someone for over a decade, sometimes you forget why you’re there. Sometimes life sweeps you up and drops you both on your butt and all you can think about is all the stressful parts of life. You lose sight of the fact that this person is here because they decided to dedicate their life to helping you. To being there for you. Yet it’s so easy to push them away. To say we’re fine when we’re not. Then get angry that “no one was there for us.”

 I still choose my husband today and he still chooses me. Beyond that, we’ll have to figure it out. But I am thankful I decided to pick up this book.”

 And so, she helped me realize a thing or two . . .

God is at work in my work. When I’m sitting at the computer, I’ve got the Christ-following reader in my head. I thought I was writing for them. God’s got the bigger plan in mind and my hands on the keyboard belong to Him and His purposes. He sees every reader as a candidate for kingdom principles. I need to understand that.

5-Star reviews are great, but ministry is the point. Whether the reader’s a believer or not, I write to point others to Him and His love for us. Period. Not to entertain or amuse, (but maybe to challenge) and to draw them closer to an intimate connection with God.

Since ministry is the point, God holds me accountable for that privilege. There are days when getting the words on the page is demanding and difficult. Getting the right words on the page must always be my standard; can’t settle for anything less.

So thank you three-star lady. Today – and maybe for a lot of days still to come – you are my favorite.

Week 2 of the I Choose You Challenge!

IChoseYou-2PursueWeek 2 of our challenge is about pursuing your mate. How long has it been since you’ve had a “Hubba bubba hey baby!” moment? You’ll find some tips to telegraph that message this week. Here’s the link: Week 2 ICYT  Hope you’ll take a moment to leave a comment – fill us in on the steps YOU took to let your loved one know you are still on the chase!

Podcast At My Faith Radio: Learning to Love Your In-Laws

RadioDeb recently guested at My Faith Radio with host Susie Larson. If you missed the broadcast, you can listen to the podcast here: MyFaithRadio 

Divided loyalties, inside jokes, new traditions… entering marriage can bring a host of emotions and tensions between a spouse and his or her new family. Fortunately, it is possible to enjoy the process. Listen as Deb DeArmond returns to talk about how to establish healthy in-law relationships.

Susie and Deb explore:

• Common stereotypes of difficult mothers-in-law (Marie Barone of Everybody Loves Raymond,for example).

• How mothers can train and raise their children, specifically their sons, to leave.

• How a daughter-in-law can “turn the mirror” back toward herself and look at her own heart and posture first.

• How to respond prayerfully to a distant or hostile in-law.

• The right way for a man to honor his mother while cleaving to his wife.

Key Scriptures: Matthew 22:39Ruth

Deb’s “Just 18 Summers” Featured Post

Cup of latte coffee

 

Do you know the story of  “Just 18 Summers?” If you are a parent or planning to become one, you need to know about this great resource. In a nutshell, here’s their story in founder Michelle Cox’s words:

During a Sunday church service, my pastor prayed with a couple who were dedicating their infant son to God. As they turned to walk off the platform, Rev. Sexton said these words, “Don’t forget—you have just 18 summers. Take time to make some memories.”  

Moms and dads, you have just 18 summers with your child. Please don’t miss the moments! Take it from a mom who would give a million dollars if she could walk down the hall and tuck her little boys into bed just one more time.

How many summers do YOU have left? What you do with your children now will determine whether you look back someday with regrets or sweet memories.

That chance encounter at Sunday service has become a novel, a movie, and a wonderful resource for parents: Just18Summers.com

Michelle recently invited me to guest on the site in honor of Valentine’s Day and my three sons. Find it here: Deb@18Summers

I hope you’ll take a moment to read the article, but don’t stop there. Look around at the great resources and be sure you subscribe so you don’t miss a thing!

 

I Choose You Today Challenge

300x250FaithHappenings copy2015 could be a changing year in your marriage!

Come join us on a journey to take your marriage to the next level – regardless of where it is today. Good marriages can become great, broken marriages can become whole.  We’ll be exploring the power of choice and discover the ability to transform relationships with four little words: “I Choose You Today.”

My newest book, I Choose You Today: 31 Choices to Make Love Last will provide us a roadmap to highlight intentional, purposeful choices that will benefit every marriage relationship. “I choose to respect you. I choose to romance you, and I choose to laugh with you” are just a few of the chapters we will explore. The book is a quick read that would serve well as a devotional for couples or individuals, as well as those engaged to be married. Filled with anecdotal stories, tips, tools, and insights that provide a practical approach to enhancing the life you are building together.

Here’s what others are saying about the book:

  • “It’s often been said that our choices define us.  That’s true personally, but it’s also a key to our relationships. Deb DeArmond has provided a practical and insightful book detailing 31 choices we can make as husbands and wives that have the potential to transform even a good marriage – and make it a great one.”  —Greg Smalley, Vice President of Family Ministry, Focus on the Family
  • There is no deeper joy in life than great love. Fortunately for us, I Choose You Today gives us a clear roadmap to achieving it with our spouse. Every couple- married or not- will benefit from reading Ms. DeArmond’s book.         -Meg Meeker, M.D., best-selling author of Strong Fathers,Strong Daughters and Co-host of Dr. James Dobson’s Family Talk radio broadcast

While we’re learning together, we’re going to have some fun! Prizes, giveaways, and lots of other surprises.

So sign up today Here’s the link: IChooseYouChallenge

And remember -with all this 50 shades of crazy… it is refreshing to hear God’s perspective on a healthy marriage. Happily ever after is not a fairy tale, it’s a choice!

Do We Love? Or Do We Love Well?

0036_Miller 9780891124504Today we have a special treat: a guest post from Kathy Collard Miller and her husband, Larry Miller.  This article is excerpted from their newly released book, Never Ever Be the Same (Leafwood Publishers) which offers Christians hope that they can change their ungodly reactions through identifying their self-protective strategies and trusting God instead. The book includes biblical principles, insightful stories, and helpful instruction, and it  has individual and group discussion questions. I hope you enjoy!

 

Do we love our family members or do we love them well? All of us love others imperfectly. But loving “well” means we love them for their benefit rather than what it does for us or how it makes us look. We’re not talking about perfection but we are talking about desiring another’s good. We’ve all been around someone who is supposedly expressing love for us but it is disingenuous because it is really about them looking good or getting what they want. We don’t really feel encouraged or cared for.

I, Larry, may be wrong but I sensed a lack of loving well when I received an e-mail from a man who was considering buying one of our marriage books for his wife. He wrote, “I choose to love my unsaved wife as I love myself. She has a lot of issues and it’s my hope, prayer and confidence that my example, the light that I allow to shine in our home, and the love that I extend to her, just as God has done for me, will be a part of what God uses to save her.”

I didn’t have any kind of relationship with this man to be able to inquire into his motives. But I could sense that he might easily come across to his wife as thinking himself better than her. I wondered if he communicated a belief that he never needed to repent of anything and that she should be grateful for the way he puts up with her.

And I also wondered, “What is his motive for needing to explain?” Does he speak to others with this same kind of superior attitude? If his wife shares with him the superior attitudes she senses, how would he respond? I had a deep sense that he wasn’t loving her well. Unfortunately, he had concluded he loved her so well that he was amazed his sparkling and pristine example of Christ’s love hadn’t compelled her to become a Christian.

Here are other common ways we do not love well:

  • A husband buys his wife for their anniversary (or birthday or Christmas) what he wants for himself, not what she values. He looks forward to the admiring looks from his friends when he uses the item himself.
  • A wife plans an elaborate surprise birthday party for her husband, but he would rather enjoy a weekend away with her. But the accolades the wife gets at the party motivates her to throw another party the next year.

We’ve all been guilty at one time or another, but we may be able to avoid this error by focusing on how God loves us well. He always responds to us for our greatest good and desires our greatest benefit. Let’s make a commitment to do the same for those we love.

How has God shown you that kind of loving “well”?

 

 

Kathy Collard Miller and Larry Miller are speakers and authors. They have been married 44 years and Larry is a retired police lieutenant. The Millers live in Southern California, and have two grown children and one grandson. Visit them at www.LarryAndKathy.com. Kathy blogs at www.KathyCollardMiller.com.

Find their book at your local Christian bookstore and in both print and digital versions at:

Never Ever Be the Same is available at your local Christian bookstore and in both print and digital versions at:  Amazon: http://amzn.to/1ITmLfy,  CBD: http://bit.ly/1AuJZSX, Barnes and Noble: http://bit.ly/1BJz3lC,