Happy New Year. May God richly bless and keep you and yours this coming year. Join me today on Lifeline Radio with host Neil Boron and LISTEN LIVE as we discuss how to make God-honoring New Year Resolutions by setting healthy boundaries and making intentional SANITY choices. Begin this new season by claiming God’s promises for your life and learn how to live in the fullness of love, joy, grace, and peace in the coming year. Streaming live online at WDCXradio.com on Thursday, January 2 from 3:00-4:30 PM (CST).
Welcome to the 12 Pearls of Christmas blog series!
My friend and Pearl Girls Founder, Margaret McSweeney, has once again provided a series of inspirational posts that I’ll be sharing with our Setting Boundaries Books blog community over the next 12 day Countdown to Christmas.
I hope you enjoy these Christmas “Pearls of Wisdom” from 12 authors who were so kind to donate their time and talents! If you miss a few posts, you’ll be able go back through and read them on this blog throughout the next few days.
The Pearl Girls are giving away a pearl necklace in celebration of the holidays, as well as some items from the contributors! Enter now below. The winner will be announced on January 2, 2014, at the Pearl Girls blog.
If you are unfamiliar with Pearl Girls™, please visit www.pearlgirls.info and see what they’re all about. In short, they exist to support the work of charities that help women and children in the US and around the globe. Consider purchasing a copy of Mother of Pearl, Pearl Girls: Encountering Grit, Experiencing Grace, or one of the Pearl Girls products (all GREAT gifts!) to help support Pearl Girls.
Without further ado, let the countdown to Christmas begin!
God bless and keep you this Christmas and always.
A Teenage Pregnancy
by Robin Jones Gunn
It was early, early morning, that delicate time of day just before sunrise when it seems as if all of creation is still asleep.
In the cold, gray light she gazed at the infant in her arms. He was less than an hour old and so, so small. Instinct prompted her to draw her newborn close that he might feel the rhythm of her heart. He curled his tiny hand around her finger and she smiled. His eyes closed, and with feathered breath he gave way to the blessed sleep that follows such a long journey.
In weary awe she studied his face, his ears, his nose. He was here. He had come at last.
A single tear fell from her eye and rolled across his cheek. She kissed the tear away but could not kiss away the memories that came with the tears; memories of the day she found out she was pregnant. How exhilarated she felt and yet how terrified. She was young, and there was much she didn’t understand.
Trying to justify her condition to her parents proved more difficult than she’d hoped. But the most excruciating memory was the moment she stood guileless before the man she hoped to one day marry. She had no words to make him understand the awful truth—the child she carried was not his.
Leaving seemed to be her only option. A gracious aunt took her in and welcomed her with open arms. From the moment she arrived she was showered with motherly words of hope and sisterly touches of love. Week by week, month by month, the child inside her grew.
Was it a miracle when she returned home, her belly round, her face flushed, and found him there?
What prompted this man to take her back and make her his bride? Did he now believe what she had tried to explain all along, that none of this was her own doing?
When the time was right they left their small town together, as husband and wife, with her due date rapidly approaching. The labor began—tightening her abdomen with a force she had never before imagined. Perspiration streamed from her forehead. The contractions multiplied with a frenzied urgency until the need to push overwhelmed her young body, and the baby was born.
Nothing of the past mattered anymore. He was here. Naked, perfect, quivering in her arms. With a thrill of hope, she believed that her life, her world, would never be the same.
Now as the first silver streaks of dawn pierced through the cracks in the stable, she tenderly wrapped her sleeping babe in swaddling clothes and laid him in the manger.
Robin Jones Gunn, bestselling author of the much-loved Christy Miller Series and the award-winning Sisterchicks® series, has had more than 4.5 million copies of her books sold worldwide. Her frequent speaking engagements have taken her around the globe. Robin and her husband live in Hawaii and have a grown son and daughter. You can learn more at Robin’s website.
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Find out why Setting Boundaries for Women is one of the hottest topics on the web today! Listen to my recent interview (from Monday, August 26) with Debbie Chavez.
The Debbie Chavez Show is carried Monday through Friday on Internet radio at Faithplace.org with listeners in all 50 states and over 95 countries. Debbie Chavez is a faith-based, internet talk radio host as well as a dynamic and transparent women’s conference speaker. Debbie Chavez is a pastor’s wife who interviews expert guests for Biblical wisdom and answers listener questions.
Tune in LIVE today, from 3-4 (CST) when I get to visit once again with Alison Stevens. We’ll be talking about Setting Boundaries for Women.
Views From the Heart is a dynamic, live, interactive talk show on Christian talk station 96.7 FM in Albany, NY with host Alison Stevens. The program streams live on NewLight967.com and airs every day live during afternoon drive time (4-5 EST).
Views from the Heart is like no other program in the Capital Region. “Views” and guests help to point listeners to the heart of God and help them to see hope in a world of distractions that can lead to spiritual mediocrity and defeat within themselves and their families. It is an excellent forum where Christian authors, speakers, teachers, entertainers, and organization leaders share the message that God has placed on their hearts.
The Debbie Chavez Show is carried Monday through Friday at the internet radio station. Debbie Chavez is a faith-based, internet talk radio host as well as a dynamic and transparent women’s conference speaker. Debbie Chavez is a pastor’s wife who interviews expert guests for Biblical wisdom and answers listener questions.
Faithplace.org consists of shows produced and distributed by the 501(c)3 non-profit organization Great Awakening Productions. Their mission is to fill the spiritual void in conventional talk radio with biblically-based perspectives that are presented by hosts who are not only dynamic, transparent, and frank…but have years of accumulated wisdom and experience in their fields. They desire to point listeners toward a deeper relationship with the God of the Bible. Currently, they have listeners in all 50 states and over 95 countries.
Join me on Dr. James Dobson’s Family Talk Radio to discuss Setting Boundaries with Food on Tues., Aug. 13
Has food become more than fuel for your body? Has it become your friend, comforter, and ally in times of stress? Join me on Dr. James Dobson’s Family Talk radio this Tuesday, August 13, where we’ll be talking about Setting Boundaries with Food, the 2013 Selah Book-of-the-Year. For local stations, or to stream online or access the archive, visit the Family Talk website by clicking on the graphic above.
As contemporary women, we have many responsibilities and tasks. We are single, married, divorced, or widowed. We are students, educators, volunteers, or retirees. We are employees or employers. We may be homemakers, wives, parents, and grandparents. We could be caregivers of our aging parents or our spouses with health challenges. Some of us are raising our grandchildren.
We take care of husbands, kids, houses, cars, cats, and dogs. We cook, shop, handle the budget, pay bills, and conduct household maintenance and upkeep. Many women do all of this while also working outside the home full-time or part-time.
We wear many hats, yet underneath all of this doing, being, and accomplishing, we are daughters of God, called to guard our hearts, fulfill the purpose of God, and fulfill our purpose as His ambassadors, His representatives. That is the core of who we are.
How about you? Think about your own situation. Ask yourself some questions you may never have asked before.
- Does God want me to take responsibility for individuals in my life who aren’t taking responsibility for themselves?
- Does God want me to pull out my checkbook every time my adult child gets into a financial bind?
- Does God want me to endure fear and pain under physical, verbal, or emotional abuse?
- Does God want me to put my health at risk by assuming responsibilities that aren’t really mine, simply because I’ve not been able to say no?
(Excerpt from Setting Boundaries® for Women, Six Steps to Saying No, Taking Control, and Finding Peace by Allison Bottke, Harvest House Publishers, © 2013. All rights reserved. Pages 47-48)
Dear Blog visitors, what do you think God expects from women?
I’ve mentioned several important areas of life where women usually need to set boundaries, including relationships, home, workplace, church, and self. We’ve distinguished between helping and enabling, but I’ve deliberately set aside the most critical difference for this chapter. It’s that important.
Before a woman makes relational and psychological boundaries, she must consider her most necessary boundary—that of guarding her own heart. By that I mean a woman should know and respect the boundaries God has given for her heart’s protection. Protection is, after all, one of the purposes of boundaries.
According to Scripture, everything we do flows from our heart. Therefore, once this primary boundary is in place, we can set all other boundaries much more easily
“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it” (Proverbs 4:23).
(Excerpt from Setting Boundaries® for Women, Six Steps to Saying No, Taking Control, and Finding Peace by Allison Bottke, Harvest House Publishers, © 2013. All rights reserved. Page 57).
The 5th book in the Setting Boundaries® series from Harvest House Publishers will officially release Thursday, August 1. On that special book launch day, I’ll be giving away one free copy of Setting Boundaries for Women every fifteen minutes for three hours as I travel between this Blog and my Facebook Page from 11:00 to 2:00 (CST). Stop by and share your Setting Boundaries feedback, make comments, or ask me questions. Visit my website Home Page for more information.
In the meantime, I’d like to share some tidbits from Setting Boundaries for Women, Six Steps to Saying No, Taking Control, and Finding Peace. Tidbits that I hope you will find helpful on your journey to set or maintain healthy boundaries.
Many women live their entire lives unaware of how much better life could have been if only they had seen their need for boundaries and implemented them. Some women may neglect to set boundaries because the idea seems limiting, restrictive. But rather than restricting us, properly defined boundaries with others and with ourselves actually increase our freedom to be the women God designed us to be.
This is why boundaries can be so crucial. Boundaries properly set in place enable us to have control over our lives and our destiny.
“Control” is a word you’ll see often in this book. That’s because your goal in setting boundaries is to gain or regain healthy control over your own life whenever possible. Of course, sometimes you can’t control the unfolding panorama of external influences, circumstances, and situations. However, even then you can always control your responses and attitudes toward those circumstances as you also surrender them to God. That will be key to remember. You may not be able to control every outward influence or circumstance in your life, but you can control the way you react or respond.
Exercising this type of self-control with the help of the Holy Spirit is life changing. Women who passively accept the barriers that keep them from appropriately controlling their lives remind me of Proverbs 25:28—“Like a city whose walls are broken through is a person who lacks self-control.” Broken walls are like broken boundaries. The good news is that just as a city can rebuild broken walls, so too you can build the boundaries that will allow you to control your life and fulfill God’s destiny for you.
(Excerpt from Setting Boundaries® for Women, Six Steps to Saying No, Taking Control, and Finding Peace by Allison Bottke, Harvest House Publishers, © 2013. All rights reserved. Pages 13-14).
Dear Blog visitors, how would you respond to this question, “Can I still be a good Christian woman if I take control of my life?”