Being Bold in a Time of Fear

There have been many blog posts, memes, and more going around recently about fear, having faith over fear, trusting God, etc. I’ve written about this previously on my blog as well.

We’re living in fearful times, no doubt. We’ll need to have strength, courage, and a lot of patience to get through this time.

Don’t you feel like you’re in some kind of limbo just waiting to get through to the other side?

For me, I’m pretty good at trying to project ahead. For example, I’m one of those people who is nervous about seeing the dentist, even though I like my dentist  and go every six months, like a good little girl. On the day of the dentist appointment, I’m projecting ahead. I tell myself “Okay, by 4pm, I’ll be home and all finished with this visit.” I know if I get through a certain amount of time, then the appointment will be behind me. I’ll be past the tough stuff.

But right now, in this crazy year of 2020, we’re not sure when the tough stuff will end. Many of us thought that surely by the start of summer, this would be behind us. Unfortunately, we’re halfway through the summer and we’re still in the thick of a pandemic.

So, do we look to the holidays? To the end of the year? Will 2021 be better?

It’s so difficult when we’re knee-deep in muck and darkness. The light at the end of the tunnel isn’t really visible yet. How do we push through?

The words from Psalm 138:3 (NIV) struck me. “When I called you, you answered me; you made me bold and stouthearted.”

Other Bible versions talk about increasing our strength, but I really like the words “bold” and “stouthearted.”

God will definitely increase our strength. He can make us bold. But the word “stouthearted” fills me with such hope and confidence.

It makes me believe I can do this for the long haul. The definition for stouthearted says, “brave and resolute; dauntless.”

Whatever trial you’re facing, whatever darkness or hardship, pray with confidence. Pray and KNOW that God will heal you, and he will increase your strength, and make you bold and stouthearted.

You can do this. We can all get through this time with a little faith, a lot of prayer and the unwavering belief that God is still here, and that through Him, we are bold and stouthearted.

What about you? How have prayers or Scripture increased your faith and confidence?

ACFW New Releases: August 2020

August 2020 New Releases

More in-depth descriptions of these books can be found on the ACFW Fiction Finder website.

Contemporary Romance:

The Price of Dreams by Toni Shiloh — Ballet has always been my life, but one terrible moment may have destroyed everything I’ve worked so hard for—especially my title of Octavia Ricci, principal ballerina. I thought for sure my physical therapist, Dr. Noah Wright, could help me obtain my dream once more, but he wants more than I’m prepared to give. I’ve seen firsthand the trials of interracial relationships. I’m a product of one myself and promised I’d never put my hopefully-someday kids through that drama. Everyone keeps telling me to let go of other people’s expectations, but I’m just not sure I can. Besides, if my dreams of returning to ballet are futile, what hope is there in seeking unconditional love? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

Peace in the Valley by Kelly Irvin — After a devastating wildfire sweeps through her town, one young Amish woman is shown a different way to practice her faith . . . but pursuing it could cost her everything she holds dear, including the man she loves. (Contemporary Romance from HarperCollins Christian Publishing)

Contemporary:

The Plans We Made by Kathryn Cushman and Lauren Beccue — Caroline Chapman is reeling from a broken engagement. Determined to start again, she moves cross-country for her dream job of planning events in the historical mansions of Newport, Rhode Island. Just as her life is getting back on track, she gets an email that shakes her very foundations. Linda Riley’s life looks picture perfect – a wonderful husband, two great kids, involved in church and the community. Then comes the diagnosis that shatters the facade. In order to save her son’s life, she must reveal secrets that can rip everything apart. Connected by more than painful circumstances, these two women discover a sacred bond. In this beautiful story of love, loss, and the fight for life, Caroline and Linda experience the reality that things don’t always go according to The Plans We Made. (Women’s Fiction from White Glove)

Historical:

In High Cotton by Ane Mulligan — While the rest of the world has been roaring through the 1920s, times are hardscrabble in rural South Georgia. Widow Maggie Parker is barely surviving while raising her young son alone. Then as banks begin to fail, her father-in-law threatens to take her son and sell off her livelihood—the grocery store her husband left her. Can five Southern women band together, using their wisdom and wiles to stop him and survive the Great Depression? (Historical from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas)

The Heart of Courage by Lynne Basham Tagawa — In 1753, troubling news comes to Russell’s Ridge… Susanna Russell longs to escape her valley home. When war breaks out, she gets her wish to study in fabulous Williamsburg. But she realizes she’s lost something important along the way. Something—and someone. James Paxton is studying for the ministry. But when violence threatens the valley, his path becomes clouded. What is God’s will for his life? The answer is alarming—and impossible. Red Hawk spies white surveyors near his home, a harbinger of trouble to come. Shawnee chiefs go to Philadelphia to treat for peace, but the unthinkable happens, and Red Hawk loses all he once held dear. Then he has a strange dream. What can it mean? (Historical from Blue Rock Press)

Historical Romance:

Heart of a Warrior by Angela K. Couch — All Christina Astle wants is to reach Oregon before her baby is born, but the wagon train is attacked, and her husband killed, stranding her in a mountain labyrinth. Raised in the East, within civilization’s embrace, survival is not a skill she’s learned. Neither is evading the lone warrior dogging her trail. Disgusted by the greed and cruelty of men like his white father, Towan has turned to the simpler existence of his mother’s tribal people. He is not prepared for the fiery woman who threatens to upturn his entire life … and his heart. (Historical Romance from Prism [Pelican Book Group])

The Shopkeeper’s Widow by Izzy James — When the love of her life returns with a load of smuggled firearms, she must discover a new way to happiness. (Historical Romance from White Rose Publishing [Pelican])

Dinah’s Dilemma by Linda Shenton Matchett — Dinah Simpkins has no chance of making a good marriage. Her outlaw brothers and her father’s gambling addiction have ruined the family’s reputation. Then the Westward Home and Hearts Matrimonial Agency provides an opportunity for a fresh start. After Dinah arrives in Nebraska, she discovers her brothers played a part in the death of her prospective groom’s first wife. As a former Pinkerton detective Nathan Childs knows when someone is lying. The bride sent by the matrimonial agency may be beautiful, but she’s definitely hiding something, and he has no intention of marrying her until he uncovers the truth. But an easier solution may be to send her packing. Then his young daughter goes missing. He and Dinah must put aside their mutual hurt and mistrust to find her. (Historical Romance from Shortwave Press)

Katherine’s Arrangement by Blossom Turner — Marrying him is her only choice to save her family, but Josiah Richardson isn’t at all the man she expected. A marriage of convenience is the last thing she wants, but there doesn’t seem to be a better option for her family or herself. Meanwhile, Josiah works hard to befriend Katherine, to earn her trust and win her love. And Katherine is pleasantly surprised to find herself drawn to Josiah, until an unexpected friendship tears apart all they’ve worked for. Where once the promise of love had budded between Josiah and Katherine, now they wonder what to do with their so-called marriage. Is love strong enough to weave its healing power through two broken hearts? (Historical Romance from Wild Heart Books)

The Black Midnight by Kathleen Y’Barbo — Called to London by her great grandmother Queen Victoria, former Pinkerton agent Alice Anne von Wettin goes undercover to assist Scotland Yard in catching Jack the Ripper after working a similar case in Austin, Texas. (Suspenseful Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

Romantic Suspense:

Accidental Target by Theresa Hall — Allison Moore can’t deny what she sees—a lifeless hand sticking out of a tarp in the back of a crashed pickup truck. Seconds later, she’s on the run with a murderer on her heels. Nowhere is safe and no one can be trusted…except police sergeant Jackson Archer. But with someone set on silencing her, can Jackson keep his promise of protection? (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Minutes to Die by Susan Sleeman — It’s the intel every agent fears—terrorists have been smuggled into the country intent on unleashing the most deadly attack since 9/11. With the threat imminent, FBI Agent Kiley Dawson and ICE Agent Evan Bowers are charged with taking down this terrorist cell. Only problem is, Kiley blames Evan for the death of her former partner, and she can barely be in a room with him. But with millions of lives on the line, she has no choice. If it wasn’t for a bad call Evan made, Kiley’s former partner would still be alive, and Evan has to live with that guilt for the rest of his life. When he starts falling for her, the agent’s death seems an impossible obstacle—but it’s also the last thing he needs to think about. As the terrorist plot veers toward targeting Kiley’s family, the two are pushed to the breaking point in a race to save countless lives. (Romantic Suspense from Bethany House [Baker])

Speculative:

Kokopelli’s Song by Suzanne J Bratcher — Seventeen-year-old twins Amy Adams and Mahu Sekatewa team up with Mahu’s friend Diego James to stop ancient evil from tipping our universe into chaos. (Speculative from Scrivenings Press)

 
Rose in the Desert by K.M. Daughters — Anna Babic Robbins, dubbed “The Rose Of The Adriatic” by pilgrims to her village, leaves her home bound for America. She is to deliver secrets concerning the fate of the world to a Chicago priest who will shepherd mankind to prepare to hear God speak. Four women travel to Las Vegas, and while there, snow begins to fall during triple digit heat. They soon learn that the non-accumulating snowfall is a worldwide phenomenon—a universal sign from God preceding the gift of a permanent sign inexplicable by earthly standards. With the culmination of these miraculous events, all their paths intersect, and God will reveal His plans to each soul on earth. Will mankind listen? (Speculative from White Rose Publishing [Pelican])

Plus check out these recent additions to Fiction Finder published within the past month:

Song of Mercy by Brenda S. Anderson, When a vlogger spots a man stalking young children, she’s spreads it on social media only to learn she may be mistaken–the man might be innocent. (Contemporary Romance)

Faith and Hope by Amy R. Anguish, Two sisters. One summer. Multiple problems. (Contemporary Romance)

Grace in the Desert by Christine Dillon, Must yesterday’s pain strangle tomorrow’s hope? (General Contemporary)

Where She Belongs by Pamela Harstad, A Hawaiian woman desires love and struggles to belong, but a murder changes everything. (Romantic Suspense)

Two Hearts by Ruth Kyser, Tory Hendricks visits a guest ranch in the Hill Country of Texas where she meets the owner, Reed Montgomery. Even though they’ve both decided to remain single, they become good friends. The question is, does God have something more in store for them than just friendship? (Contemporary Romance)

Legacy Redeemed by Robin Patchen, Vanessa will fight to rescue her sister. Caleb will fight to protect Vanessa. But Abbas has evil plans for them all. (Romantic Suspense)

No Secrets No Lies by Tamara Tilley, Charlie lives in hiding. Hunter lives in the limelight. She is afraid to be a part of his world. He cannot imagine her not being in it. (Contemporary Romance)

Devil’s Cauldron by Michael Jack Webb, The FBI asks an ex-Special Forces Ranger once accused of domestic terrorism to investigate a Black Swan event in Antarctica. He must battle interdimensional, supernatural enemies attempting to regain power over humanity after ten-thousand years. (Supernatural Thriller)

I’ll Be Yours for Christmas by Dalyn Weller, Christmas magic in the Cascade Mountains. (Contemporary Romance)

We Need a Time-Out!

2020 has been an unexpected year. No one could’ve predicted a worldwide pandemic, or riots, or the general unease and discontent of today’s world. It’s a frightening time overall, isn’t it?

Maybe we all need a time-out!

We’ve all had times that have been scary and times when we are overwhelmed with fear or anxiety. So, how do you find a way through a tough time, besides just gutting it out?

Recently a verse in Psalms from chapter 131, verse 2, struck me. It says, “I have calmed and quieted myself” (NLT). Or if you prefer NIV, “I have stilled and quieted my soul.”

On their own, those may not seem like life-altering, earth-shattering words that pierce to the depths of your heart. But they leap out at me as wise advice. Here’s why:

When I was 19 years old, back in my wicked youth, I had a boyfriend with a motorcycle. While returning from a wonderful picnic in the mountains with friends to celebrate my 20th birthday a few days early, we got into an accident. A pick-up truck turned right in front of us and we had no where to go except into the side of that truck. My right side hit the truck, bounced off, and my left side hit the pavement.

Ouch!

While I was waiting to be taken to x-ray, then surgery, for an obvious broken leg and a banged up shoulder, another patient was brought into the emergency room. I don’t remember what was wrong with her, but I do remember that she was hysterical! Not funny hysterical. She was terrified. She wouldn’t stop screaming. Her fear had completely overwhelmed her and the panic took over. I distinctly remember the doctors trying to calm her and saying they couldn’t help her unless she settled down. I even remember wanting to shout at her to be quiet so she could get help! Her hysteria was delaying treatment and relief.

When we panic, I think we cease to make smart decisions. I know it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. You can either be frozen in fear and not able to move at all, or you can scream hysterically, and prevent any action to propel you forward. Either way, you’re stuck in the same place.

When I think about Psalm 131:2 – “I have calmed and quieted myself”, I think that means we take a breath. We breathe in God’s spirit and strength. As Psalm 46:10 (CSB) says “ Stop fighting and know that I am God.”  You’ll recognize that verse as “Be still and know that I am God.”

We need to stop fighting the fear. We can acknowledge it, but we have to take a step forward into the next phase or we’re stuck. Fear does a good job of stopping us in our tracks. It can blind us with panic, so we can’t see what steps we need to take next.

I find that being still, calming myself, taking a time-out to breathe in God’s presence, can propel me to get through the tough stuff, or at least take that first baby step through the fear to get to the other side.

I’m listening to the message of these verses:  To be calm and quiet, to be still and stop fighting. And to KNOW that He is God and has all of this under control.

So, what’s stopping you these days? Do you need a time-out to talk with God?

 

When You Are Tested by Your Own Words (Video and Text)

Do I really believe my own words?

 

Link to Video: HERE

 

 

 

 

Text to video:

Hey everyone. Hope you’re doing well.

I was reading over my old blogs on TalkingAmongFriends.com and don’t you just love it when your own words come back to bite you? Yep, that’s what happened here. My blog from the end of June called “Living Fearlessly” talks about, you know, having faith, and God’s there, and you know, you can overcome anything.

I even quote Psalm 112. This is verses seven through eight from the NLT Version and says, “They do not fear bad news. They confidently trust the Lord to care for them. They are confident and fearless and can face their foes triumphantly.”

Well, yay! That’s all encouraging and I’m glad I wrote it. And then, you know, won’t you know God is going to now test me on that. That’s a little tough some days. Again, your words come back to bite you. So, do I believe what I’m writing? Do I believe in the encouragement that I put out on my blog? Yes I do. I don’t always want to be tested on it, to be really honest, but it is a reminder that tough times are coming.

We’re in the middle of a tough time. We know that with the pandemic and everything going on. Many of us are facing personal difficult times and that’s what I talk about this week on my blog. You know people have lost jobs, they’ve lost loved ones, they are facing a scary diagnosis. I’m kind of facing a personal issue, too, that’s not going to go away anytime soon.

So, am I going to live fearlessly? Am I going to trust boldly and confidently that God’s got this? Not that I want to be tested, but this is where in praying every day, we can rise above and I can try to face this as confidently as I can. Because you do have to believe every single day God’s there. And God’s in charge.

So I hope you feel that. I hope you are filled with that peace, and that knowledge, and we’re going to get through this.

Take care everyone, and we’ll talk to you again soon.