I was in bondage… Jesus paid my ransom!

When I am restless and undone, you are there to gather the pieces, tear off the chains of bondage and lift me up on your wings. Safety. Full of compassion and love for the broken lost one wandering in the wilderness. Remove the blinders I have put on. Help me walk in your light, run to you. Catch me when I am falling. When my legs won’t carry me to you, You come to me. When I cry out you don’t turn and run away. You draw near. You heal me. A shelter. A stronghold in the storm.

I myself am not worthy of anything but in God’s abundance of love, grace and mercy I have been redeemed. He has called my name and I am His. Adopted as a child of the ruler of all things. A daughter of the one true King. I have no reason to shrink back; to fear. Because of what Jesus has done for me… shedding his blood on a tree, taking my sins upon himself as the ultimate sacrifice, in full obedience to His Father… for me! Not because I am at all worthy, but because of His pure unadulterated love that covers me and makes me look pure in the eyes of the Father so I can live in relationship with Him. If I am to be like him I need to live in relationship with others. Extending the same love, mercy and grace, being real; not fake out of fear. I can let myself be known, not because I have anything to prove but because of what God had done. I am here to worship the king. The creator of all things. The one who causes my heart to beat and keeps the world in its perfect position, rotating at the perfect speed. The one who provides my every need. My guide and constant companion. All glory to God for what He has done, what He will do and most of all, for who He is!

Amen

Author Spotlight: Wanda Brunstetter

I don’t know when I started to like it or what initially drew me to it but I love Amish fiction! On a trip to the Shipshewana Amish community I found some intriguing books by Wanda Brunstetter. I picked up a few and fell in love. I love the ease at which I could read the stories. They were relateable and fun. I especially liked that they contained a lot of cooking and baking.

Wanda has been writing about Amish fiction for years. Her husband grew up in the Mennonite church. As she met more and more extended family she began to fall in love with the Amish way of life. She researches extensively for her novels. All this hard work can clearly be seen in the way she fluidly depicts Amish life.

Are you drawn to the simplicity of Amish life? Have you ever visited an Amish community? Wondered what it is that makes them want to maintain their lifestyle even when there are so many modern conveniences that would make life quicker and “easier”? Pick up any of Wanda’s novels and you will fall more in love with this fascinating people group.

Her newest book, The Seekers: Amish Cooking Class tells the story of Heidi Troyer as she organizes an Amish Cooking Class in her home. What will happen when a handful of Englischers sign up to learn to cook? Life lessons are learned in addition to cooking lessons and Heidi is stretched in her faith as she learns more about her students.

I received a digital copy of this book from NetGalley and later joined Wanda’s Clippity Clop Book Club and was given a hard copy of the book in exchange for my honest review. The book starts out by introducing all the characters rapidly one after another. The introductions were short but sweet. This was very confusing for me at first, to keep everyone straight. I had trouble remembering who everyone was. I couldn’t tell who was Amish and who was English. The story line seemed so predictable from the beginning. But, as the story progressed it got better and better. The characters were further developed and didn’t seem as fake. They were normal, everyday people, just like me. The Amish culture was present throughout the story but wasn’t overpowering and over the top like some Amish fiction. I would have liked to know a little more detail about the type of Amish these characters were. Some things they had and did are not allowed according to some other Amish books I’ve read. I was surprised Heidi had an indoor bathroom, for example. Overall the story was great. There was a clear antagonist that twisted the story a little bit. I’m glad it wasn’t all sunshine and roses. I found myself rooting for Heidi and her husband and took it personally when the villain took advantage of these kind people. The story line is simple but the concepts presented are complex and authentic. People go through these issues. I could picture myself in the book as one of the characters. Loved the relationship between Eli and Loretta and wish I could see what happens with them. Maybe in a future book?

Check out more of Wanda’s work on her website: http://wandabrunstetter.com/
or on her facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/WandaBrunstetterFans/?ref=br_rs

Home by Ginny Yttrup

Just finished Ginny Yttrup’s book Home.

Home is a story of life. A writer goes on a journey of self discovery as she struggles to write a novel. Relationship struggles, mental illness, infertility, fear, temptation and many other real life situations come together to make this story real but beautiful. It went where I never would have expected it to go. There’s no predictability in this book which is fantastic! Love how the story within the story helps better understand the character writing it. The character development is great. Such depth. The characters are believable and feel things that everyone would feel. I loved how they all dealt with their emotions and many went through the stages of grief in their own way. The beginning of the book was a little bit of a struggle but stick with it and you’ll be happy you did. The timeline was confusing when switching between character’s point of view. At first this was really obvious but as the book progressed the chapter separations by character overlapped (in terms of parallel concurrent timing) a little less so the flow was better. Overall the book was great. I could see myself in the characters and the topics covered were ones I deal with myself. This book led to a lot of self exploration in ways similar to the characters in the book. I love when a fictional book has this sort of effect on me as a reader. It makes fiction seem more like nonfiction!

I received a hard copy of this book from Goodreads giveaways and a digital copy from netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

 

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“I am the vine; you are the branches.”

While preparing for small group I came across the verse John 15:5 “I am the vine; and you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” The branches on the vine are completely dependent on it for everything, much like my children when they were babies were completely dependent on me to sustain them. I am completely dependent on Jesus. Without God my heart would cease to beat, my lungs wouldn’t fill with air, my life would be over. Apart from Jesus I can do nothing. I am insufficient on my own. No amount of gifting, studying, learning, or collecting of money will be able to help me with everything. I have to constantly ask myself if I’m relying on Jesus or if I am relying on myself in some vain attempt that most of the time proves useless. My God is creator of the Universe, sustainer of life, and supplier of all my needs. Who are you relying on? No matter what the branch does it cannot bear fruit apart from the vine. Are you attempting to produce fruit in your own power? Abide in Christ and you will bear much fruit. God gives in abundance… He overflows us with gifts and blessings. Do you see it? Or are you stuck frantically looking around to keep up alone?