Friday, February 26, 2010

Book Review: Beautiful Things Happen When a Woman Trusts God by Sheila Walsh

Beautiful Things Happen When a Woman Trusts God was written by Sheila Walsh and published by Thomas Nelson, Inc., copyright 2009, Nashville TN. It is a compelling account of what God does when people trust Him with all of their hearts. Walsh begins the first three chapters with her own testimony of how God brought her through a struggle with depression. She continually challenges the reader to trust God completely, reminding us that it is a greater challenge than we imagine. She also speaks of the her discovery that she is not the only one facing the kinds of trials she has experienced. In sharing her struggles with others, Sheila Walsh found that in so doing, she allowed them to share their own trials. In opening her heart to others in this way, she is able to minister to them and receive ministry from them as well.
In subsequent chapters, Walsh leads the reader into a study of men and women in the Bible who learned to trust God with various trials in their lives. Among the people studied are Anna, Mary, Martha, and Lazarus, Saul of Tarsus, Tabitha, Gideon, Jospeh, Samson, Nicodemus, and Abraham. Mrs. Walsh herself studied the lives of these people in the Scriptures and each one's story ministered to her in a particular way. These chapters also include accounts from Mrs. Walsh's own life. The reader learns that many people, including those whose lives are chronicled in the Bible, faced difficulties in their own lives and learned to completely trust God. The concluding chapter reminds us that as believers in Christ, the end of our life's journey is Heaven.
Sheila Walsh exposes the pressure many feel to be "perfect", and reminds her readers that God loves them unconditionally and uses even their imperfections to refine them and make them more like Christ. Because of her openness about her own difficulties, she is able to speak powerfully to the reader. She reminds her readers that they are not alone in their trials, just as God taught her that she was not alone. At the end of the book, Mrs. Walsh includes a Bible study for each chapter of the book, with many thought-provoking comments and questions. The readers are encouraged that God is in control and will use everything in their lives to conform them to Christ's image.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Snapshots in Words

I have so many precious memories of the cute things my children have said and done, so I thought I'd share some with you. Becca, our firstborn, is a Valentine's baby. What a perfect gift. She is the first grandchild on both sides of the family and my grandfather's first great grandchild. From the time that Becca was six weeks old, we traveled to Yale New Haven Hospital with her in tow to visit my mother-in-law, who was ill with cancer. All the nurses on the floor loved her, as did her Grandma Aldrich! Becca could make her smile when nothing else could! Once when my mother-in- law was at home and sick in bed, we came to visit. Grandma Aldrich heard Becca cry and insisted on getting out of bed just to see "her" baby! She passed away when Becca was only three months old, but she did plenty of spoiling while she was living. She would be proud of Becca today. My Grandpa Stoddard also enjoyed his great-granddaughter, though he did not say much. After his passing when Becca was six months old', I learned that every time he and my parents and sisters came to visit us, he talked about Becca all the way home!
Becca learned to talk early and quickly developed a good vocabulary. When she didn't know the word for something, she would make up a descriptive term based on words she already knew. She called popsicles "cold lollipops," and moths were "butterfly-bees". Colored leaves and flowers she picked up on our walks were "pretties". She was quite picturesque in her descriptions. My favorite was her take on a sunset. We were driving home from a day of errands and she said,"Look! They painted the sky!" I said, "Yes, Becca, God painted the sky. That's a sunset." After that, she would say, "God painted the sky" every time she saw a sunset.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

God is Faithful and Merciful

OK, it's time you got to know me a little bit. I've been married for almost 30 years. My husband's name is Al, and we have seven children. Their names are Becca, Gail, Melissa, David, Caroline, Janet, and Erin. Yes, you read that right.... there's only one boy in there. He is literally surrounded by sisters! I did wonder what he was going to do with six sisters, especially since he is the middle child, but I realized that if God chosen to give us six girls, He has also chosen David to be their brother. It's been interesting. David learned to love babies (especially his little niece!) and is a Marine Reservist. God is faithful! People have asked me how we manage with seven children, and how we can possiby afford to raise that many. The only answer I have is "We pray.... a lot! And God is faithful." I could tell you many stories about His grace and provision, but that would take all night. Maybe in some future posts. There's a verse in Psalms 127 that God has used over and over in my heart. It says "Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is His reward." (Ps. 127:3 KJV) Children are a blessing and a gift from God, even when things get difficult. God's Word does not change, and He is faithful to hear our heart-cries on behalf of our children, or about any other matter. My husband and I are born-again Christians--- we've trusted (and still are trusting!) Christ ahd His work on the cross for the forgiveness of our sins and restoration of our relationship with God. Because of Christ's work, we have fellowship with God the Father and can come freely before Him in prayer. "Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need." What a privilege and comfort that is! Praise God for His mercy and faithfulness!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Savoring Memories

Well, we left Pennsylvania at 3pm yesterday and arrived in Connecticut at 10:15 PM. It was a delightful weekend with all my daughters except one who had to work. Babies have a way of drawing families together! Actually God is answering a specific prayer for us. We have been praying that He would use our granddaughter's birth to draw people closer to Him and draw members of our family together, and I'm seeing Him do just that! It is wonderful to cuddle and play with my granddaughter, but it is also amazing to watch my "baby" play with her baby, and to watch my other children interact with their little niece. I especially loved watching my son with her over Christmas. He's 6'3" and a Marine Reservist, but he melts around her! I miss him as well, as he's in Florida and can only get home at Christmas. He just recently got Facebook, so sometimes I can keep in touch with him that way. He has begun to call us a bit more, which is nice. A major difference between a son and a daughter? The length of their phone conversations with Mom! (LOL)