January Roundup: Links, Quotes, Books & More


Free As a Bird
by Rend Collective

“You break us out of our cages
Into the wide open spaces
We are free
Free as a bird on the wind
No prison wall can contain us
Your beating heart makes us fearless
We are free
Free as a bird on the wind
Love cannot be tamed
You shattered every chain…”

ABCs of Jesus’ Love

Visit this page anytime and let me know if you’d like to add to the words describing Jesus’ love along with a verse supporting it. Remember, there is also a print-out of the original list.

 Another verse about Jesus’ Love:

❤  Freeing Love 
“So if the Son sets you free,
you are truly free.

John 8:36 NLT

Books

I am not always able to keep up with the abundance of books that promote hope, healing, and freedom, so I haven’t always read every one I post here and on the Books Page. Though many are on my long wish list. 🙂  Many will be from recommendations of online friends. If you ever know of a book that is not listed and that supports this website’s mission, please let me know. 🙂

The Voice: Listening for God’s Voice and Finding Your Own
by Sandi Patty
(Link is to Valerie Murray’s review of this book)

“Christian music icon and forty-time Dove award winner, Sandi Patty has long astounded listeners with her powerful voice. And yet, off the stage, Sandi struggled to have a voice at all.

Through deeply intimate stories of her life and the empowering spiritual truths she’s learned, Sandi offers readers wisdom to navigate the journey from voicelessness to discovering the voice God has given you. With a poignant history of sexual abuse, infidelity, divorce, and crises of self-image, Sandi lived much of her life feeling unworthy of love or value. And like so many of us, she coped by living through the voices of others, allowing other people to prescribe her identity. As she performed around the world, Sandi met others just like her, who hid wounds behind quiet smiles and struggled to live with fractured identities.

Sandi’s warm and invitational writing will draw you to the voice of God who sings over your life saying you are seen, you are loved, and your voice is worth hearing. With timeless wisdom, The Voice will help you uncover your God-given identity and a voice of your very own.

‘God heard my voice even when I couldn’t hear it myself and then his voice broke through my walls and wounds, insecurities and self-doubts. I am voiceless no more!'” (Amazon Book Review)

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Hope Harbor

💞  Articles/Blog Posts That Inspire Hope and Healing 💞

My husband and I lost a loved one (his brother) to cancer. His memorial service was yesterday. So in honor of Adrian and all those who are still fighting cancer, these links share how we can best support those who struggle with it. How we can give them hope and not cause additional emotional pain on top of what they already suffer.

💞 10 Things Cancer Patients Love to Hear  – Cancer patients share what they love to hear.

💞 5 Things Christians Should NOT Say to Cancer Patients by Lee Wilson – “For years now I’ve felt there was a disconnect between the well-meaning reactions of church members toward Christians affected by cancer and other diseases of similar dread.” Many cancer patients hear words that cause emotional pain on top of what they’re already suffering. Lee shares by experience what not to say and some things we can do.

💞 How To Support Someone With Cancer by Dr. Michelle Bengtson – From experiencing cancer with both herself and her husband, Michelle has learned these 12 important, insightful tips for supporting someone with cancer. 

Nature Retreat

“The woods would be very silent
if no birds sang except
those who sang the best.”
John James Audubon
“Be as a bird perched on a frail branch
that she feels bending beneath her,
still she sings away all the same,
knowing she has wings.”
Victor Hugo

I really miss birds during these winter months! My brother’s photos from Arizona truly brighten my days, and I’m sure you’ll enjoy them, too. Thank you, John! 🙂

White-breasted Nuthatch
Red-naped Sapsucker
Northern Mockingbird
Northern Flicker
Acorn Woodpecker
White-throated Thrush

🐾 Surfbirds – The World Birding Website – lots of beautiful bird photos, great articles, trip reports, blogs, forums, and more

🐾 BirdNote – I love this! BirdNote is a two-minute radio show that combines rich sounds with engaging stories to illustrate the amazing lives of birds and give listeners a momentary respite from the news of the day.

🐾 Bird Photography from National Geographic – A list of links to the Top 25 Wild Bird Photographs of the Week posts. Awesome photos!

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Quotes

I’m adding a new category this month – Grieving.

❤ “Tears have a wisdom all their own. They come when a person has relaxed enough to let go and to work through his sorrow. They are the natural bleeding of an emotional wound, carrying the poison out of the system. Here lies the road to recovery.” – F. Alexander Magoun

“It’s okay to cry. Giving in to the tears is terrifying, like free-falling to earth without a parachute. But it’s vital to our wellbeing as we process the deep anguish.” – Lynda Cheldelin Fell

“Tears water our growth.” – William Shakespeare

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Thank You
to anyone and everyone who recommends
links, books, quotes, etc.

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Stepping Into the Unknown With Fear and Trusting Jesus Will Never Abandon Us

One of my favorite places to visit as a child was Island Park in a small town in NW Iowa. I remember the challenge of crossing the river on stepping-stones at the bottom of a waterfall.

A couple of steps were missing and left wide gaps of uncertainty. As I sat on a step and reached my bare toes underneath the water, I could still feel the missing step’s slimy, slippery foundation. Dare I step forward?

Sometimes I didn’t dare. Other times I risked it, but I soon changed my mind when I nearly slipped into the rushing water. However, there were also times I did brave it and got to the other side of the river with a shout of victory.

Sometimes a flood drowns out Island Park. The river rages and obliterates all traces of any steps at all. When devastating storms in our lives churn up chaos in our hearts, the way forward can get blinded by fear. What if we take the wrong step? What if we fail? What if we get hurt again?

When Peter walked on the water towards Jesus, he stepped out in blind faith. His eyes were fixed on Jesus, and he gave no thought to missing stepping-stones. But then his heart looked away from Jesus, and all he saw were the winds whipping up the waves to a frenzy. His courage crashed. And he sank in fear… Save me, Lord! (Matthew 14:22-34)

Jesus stretched out His hand and rescued him. Even though he doubted. And He will do the same for us, even when we become faint of heart. Jesus never holds our lack of trust against us. He rescues us anyway.

Our lives are like taking small steps of faith, aren’t they? Small steps, not without fear, but in spite of fear. Sometimes one step forward and two steps back, but still forward.

We don’t know what lies ahead of us in this world. As we reach our toes ahead into uncertainty, our hearts may tremble with fear. Sometimes we slip and slide and fall wounded. Sometimes fear sinks us when we lose our focus on our only hope in Jesus. In panic, we cry out to God.

Again and again, Jesus will grasp our hand with His hand of powerful, unfailing love, pull us up again, and give us the strength to go on. He’s got us in His firm grip, and He’s not going to let us go.

“If God hadn’t been there for me,
I never would have made it.
The minute I said, ‘I’m slipping, I’m falling,’
Your love, GOD, took hold and held me fast.
When I was upset and beside myself,
You calmed me down and cheered me up.”
Psalm 94:17-19 MSG
“That’s right. Because I, your GOD,
have a firm grip on you and I’m not letting go.
I’m telling you, ‘Don’t panic.
I’m right here to help you.'”
Isaiah 41:13 MSG
“When struck by fear,
I let go, depending securely upon You alone.”
Psalm 56:3 VOICE

“I Am Not Alone”
by Kari Jobe

 

We Are Never Insignificant in God’s Eyes

Do you feel unnoticed and insignificant? Like you’re nothing but a number to some people? Or a mat to wipe their dirty feet on?

In the world we live in, whether in families, society, or at work, it’s easy to feel overlooked and unappreciated, isn’t it? 

The earth is but a tiny speck in the solar system, only 1 millionth the size of the sun. Consider that tiny speck holding well over 7 million people (World Population Clock). Can you imagine what size each of us is in comparison to such a vast universe?

In such magnitude, not one of us can be visible to the human eye. And that may be how we feel at times. Invisible and insignificant among so many.

Yet to God, each one of us is not only visible but cared about. He keeps track of every life from the moment of conception to the day of death. Even before that, He knows us! We are precious to Him. He knows every detail of our lives, even down to how many hairs are on each of our heads at this very moment. He knows the depth of our thoughts and feelings. He knows every single hurt in each of our hearts, and He cries with us. 

“Since you are so much more precious to God
than a thousand flocks of sparrows,
and since God knows you in every detail
– down to the number of hairs
on your head at this moment –

you can be secure and unafraid of any person,
and you have nothing to fear from God either.”
Luke 12:7 VOICE

No, this life is far from easy. Troubles can become like immovable mountains. People can hurt us and make us feel like we’re insignificant nothings. Negative voices and past pain can wrap us in seemingly unbreakable chains. Satan himself stalks us like a hungry lion seeking to devour us. But God…

But God is still bigger! In times when we can embrace how powerful, tender, and unfailing God’s love is for us, it can fill our hearts with hope.

We may be merely statistics to a census bureau or feel unnoticed and insignificant to others, but our Creator counts each one of us worthy of His consideration, compassion, and unconditional love around the clock day after day, year after year, and into eternity. 

He loves each one of us as if you are or I am the only person on earth. I just can’t comprehend such powerful love and grace, can you?

There are so many in this world who feel unloved and insignificant. Are you one of them? I deeply long for every single one of you to feel special and loved. You are not insignificant, no matter what anyone says. You are not unlovable. You are not overlooked. God has the power and the desire to reach into and heal the wounded places of every hurting heart. His arms of unconditional, fathomless love reach out to us, no matter who we are, where we’re from, or where we’ve been.

“And may you have the power to understand,
as all God’s people should,
how wide, how long, how high,
and how deep His love is.
May you experience the love of Christ,
though it is too great to understand fully.
Then you will be made complete with all
the fullness of life and power that comes from God”.
Ephesians 3:18-19 NLT
“How precious are Your thoughts about me, O God.
They cannot be numbered!
I can’t even count them;
they outnumber the grains of sand!
And when I wake up,
You are still with me!”
Psalm 139:17-18 NLT

Your Unfailing Love
by Chris Tomlin