by Rayna Neises | Family, Growing in Faith, Review by Rayna
Daring to Hope: Finding God’s Goodness in the Broken and Beautiful is an amazing and encouraging read. I was so blessed by Katie Majors’ amazing commitment and obedience to the Lord.
As a teenager, Katie went on a mission trip to Uganda which changed her life forever. When she returned to the states her desire to follow the dreams she had before she went we completely gone. She decided to make the move to Uganda permanently rather than to head to college.
In Uganda, she started a nonprofit called Amazima Ministries. Her mission is Helping to educate and empower the people of Uganda with God’s love.
She is passionate about helping people, in this book she shares how she works with woman and families to find the love of the Lord and improve their lives in any way she can.
She is active in fostering orphans, providing lay health care, helping families be united after the death as well as adoption. This book is filled with stories of raising those beautiful girls and the challenges of loving and losing.
I was so encouraged and blessed by her open heart and home. She shares how looking for blessings in even the small ways helped to heal her broken heart when one of her girls has to be returned to her mom after 4 years of being hers.
The wisdom shared in this book will bless and challenge you as you look to live out your life loving and serving as God has called you to, in your life, right where you are!
by Rayna Neises | livingPEACE, Review by Rayna
Living here on earth is not easy, no doubt. It might appear that some have it easy but that is just how it appears.
Glory Days by Max Lucado reminds us of how hard it can be living this life by walking us through the book of Joshua. His goal is not for us to just see the battles but rather to learn to see the God who fights for us. Joshua’s story reminds us we can overcome because He has already overcome.
Like all of Max’s books, Glory Days is well researched and Biblically based ENCOURAGEMENT. His style of everyday life stories related to scriptures followed by great questions that help you reflect on your life and what God has for your life.
Hearing all the ways God fights for us brought such hope to my heart as I read, I was blessed. Finding the courage to cross over the Red Sea and establish our home in the Promised Land is possible with the reminders Max provides in this book.
by Rayna Neises | Growing in Faith
The 5-year anniversary of a big ending in my life is coming up at the end of the month. My dad and I were co-owners of a Sylvan Learning Center in Hutchinson, KS. I loved what I did.
Sylvan Learning Center gave me a chance to use all of my gifts and talents in exactly the way that made me excited to go to work every day.
I even thought of Sylvan and my time in Hutchinson as my Promised Land (read more about that here).
But it came to an end.
2 years after Ron and I were married I was still living part-time on the farm and part-time in Hutchinson (they were 90 miles apart) in order to keep the business going. Enrollment had been dwindling and things had been changing with the business for a while. But at the end of the Summer in 2011 all but 14 of my students stopped their programs. There was no way to keep the doors open.
I had been sensing change was coming for a while but as usual God had to make it impossible for me to ignore Him in order for me to give up and jump on board with the change. It was time to move on.
I’m so thankful God’s hand was obviously in the midst of it all.
In 6 short weeks, my house was sold, all the assets of the business were gone. Everything else was all packed up and moved to the farm.
It was the end of being a small business owner (for a while), the end of being my very own boss, the end of a dream I didn’t even know that I had.
As I have said so many times before God is good. Just taking the time to look to Him we will see His provision. Though my certificate was expired since I never thought would teach again, I was able to walk into a part-time teaching job in October.
I was blessed with a great environment and a bunch of kids I fell in love with.
I was able to teach while I completed my coach training and here I am today. A small business owner again loving my job, feeling blessed and called to my work.
That’s the thing about life, there are endings, they are natural, even if we don’t feel they are. I’m sure there are some of you, like me, that fight endings with all you got.
Dr. Henry Cloud’s book Necessary Endings * has been a great read for me. It states that “when we fail to end things well, we are destined to repeat the mistakes that keep us from moving on.”(p12) Not ending well will often lead us to make choices that bring us to the same places again and again.
Not learning our lessons or dealing with endings will set us up to make the same mistakes over and over again.
Learning how to do endings well and how to process the experience allows us to move beyond patterns that can keep us stuck. Moving forward allows us to embrace what’s next.
I have Ecclesiastes 3:1 on the wall in our bedroom to remind me of how God created this world to have endings. “To everything there is a season, a time to every purpose under the heavens.”
We have to learn to realize that somethings are only for that time, only in that season are we meant to stay there. When it’s time for an end, it’s time for a new season, not the end of everything just the end of that season.
So if you are facing an ending today, face it with the Lord. He can give you a new purpose, He can help you see what is next.
If you need help building a new dream or even learning to like this new season, coaching can help. I would love to talk with you about coaching. Contact Me .
How do you face endings? I would love to hear about an ending that has you stuck or moving into new blessing!
by Rayna Neises | Review by Rayna
Review by Rayna: When God Doesn’t Fix It: Lessons You Never Wanted to Learn, Truths You Can’t Live Without
Most of us know Laura Story from her beautiful songs. What I love most about her songs is the vulnerability of the lyrics and her way of sharing truth, it touches us all.
I was excited to see that her book is more of the same.
I was amazed and encouraged by her willingness to share her struggles and heartaches. Life has been full of ups and downs for Laura and her husband, Martin. This book is a look into some of the things Laura has learned about God during this season of her life.
Laura starts the book reminding us that all of us are just one phone call or major event away from life change we never imagined. In that moment we think life as we know is over. The truth is life as we are yet to know is just begun.
I appreciated the way in which Laura ended each chapter by stating a Myth she had believed and the Truth which God had revealed to her through her life.
I believe that every Christian struggles with many of the myth’s Laura shares and would benefit a lot from hearing the Truth Laura learned about each one.
One of the most meaningful parts of the book was when Laura challenges us to make a list of why questions. When I listed all things I would love for God to tell me why they happened it was pretty long. Laura goes on to instruct us to write down all the answers to our whys that God has given us.
I was encouraged because I was able to write a few answers but….there are a lot of my questions still waiting to be answered. Laura admits that most of her why questions are not answered either. She is quick to remind us that God never promises the answers our whys.
She then reveals that making the shift from the question of why to how has made all the difference in her life. “Man asks why, Jesus asks How. Man says, “Why did this happen? Jesus says, “How might my Father’s Glory be displayed through this situation?” Learning that God’s Glory can be displayed in spite of our circumstances is a life changing truth.
Throughout the book Laura also shares her struggle of sharing her story when there is no pretty bow wrapping it all up. She encourages us all to step out and share our story even in the messy middle. God is working and hearing what he is doing in others’ lives brings great encouragement. The number of people touch by Laura’s honest struggles and her songs about them has continued to blow her mind. You can encourage others too.
Be brave step out and share how God’s Glory is working even in your messy middles.
These are just a couple of the nuggets of truth I found in Laura’s writings. I know that you will be blessed and challenged by reading this book too.
Laura closes her book with these powerful statements….
Share your story.
Give God the Glory.
Live a Better Broken.
How have you found peace in God’s answer to the HOW questions in your life instead of staying stuck in the whys?
by Rayna Neises | Growing in Faith
When was the last time you were distracted, totally freaked out and incapable of accomplishing the task set before you? Just a few weeks ago I was right there; totally overwhelmed, frustrated and distracted by my environment. I couldn’t accomplish the task at hand!
I was driving my regular 220 mile trip to Kansas City to stay with dad, when I had a tire blowout! That was scary. When I got out of the car to look at the flat, of course it had to be the drive side back tire.
I drove a short distance to find a safe place to change the tire but there was no such thing. I had to just do it! When I got out, I was discouraged even more, there was only five feet between my tire and the white line. Not to mention the cars and trucks were flying by at more than 75 miles per hour shaking my car as they passed.
I got the jack and tire iron out to try to break the lug nuts loose. I don’t know when the last time was you changed a tire but holy cow those things are on tight.
As I struggle to loosen the lug nuts I could hear trucks and cars coming toward me and I would look up in fear. I was not able to focus on what I was doing.
I got back in my car and call my husband and he gave me some tips to get the tire iron to stay on the lug nuts in order to be able to loosen them so I got up my courage and got out of the car again.
I took a deep breath and said to myself, I can do this, I can do this.
As I bent over to start trying again and another car came flying by, I just couldn’t focus.
I was so distracted, I kept looking up and thinking of all the terrible things that can happen if a car or truck were to come over the 5 feet and hit me.
Then I realized I can’t do this… I can’t do this if I’m worried about getting hit by a truck.
Finally, I just said, “OK, Lord you got this, you know what’s coming and you know what’s going to happen, so I’m just going to trust you! You have got my back and I’m going to focus on the tire.”
This scripture came to mind (not word for word but I remembered reading it not too long ago),”Both riches and honor come from You, and You rule over all, and in Your hand is power and might; and it lies in Your hand to make great and to strengthen everyone.” 1 Chronicles 29:12
Then I put my head down and I focused on breaking those lug nuts. I did it! I thanked the Lord and went to work on the next one!
Just about that time a nice gentleman finally stopped to help me. It was so wonderful to have someone take it care of it for me. Trusting God first then praising Him for providing some much needed help.
As I reflect on that experience I think about how easy it is to be distracted by all the what ifs in life; what if I don’t succeed, what if this doesn’t work, what if I don’t get the job, what ifs and fears are around us every day.
Here are a couple of things I do to quiet the what ifs….
Memorize Scripture. Here are just a few scriptures to help you remember God’s sovereignty.
Proverbs 16:9 “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.”
Genesis 50:20 “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.”
Second Chronicles 20:6 “O Lord, God of our fathers, are you not God in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. In your hand are power and might, so that none is able to withstand you.”
Take a deep breath and look at your situation from a different perspective.
WebMD.com states, “Deep breathing is one of the best ways to lower stress in the body. This is because when you breathe deeply, it sends a message to your brain to calm down and relax.” When we are able to calm down and relax it gives us time to let the truth of scriptures come to mind. This can give us God’s perspective and help us to focus on the here and now not the what ifs.
There are always a million things that could go wrong but we serve a God who knows it all! We serve a God who loves us more than we can even understand! He knows what our future holds so as we start to focus in on the task that he has given us, we can trust him to take care of everything else.
What do you do to quiet the What Ifs? How are you trusting God to take care of things you can’t fix, things you can’t control or tasks set before you?