Just a quick note today, but I didn't want you to miss this.
I'm excited to be a part of this amazing paperback giveaway! In fact, I wish I could win!
Curl up with a good book this fall! Enter for one of multiple chances to win this set of clean reads!
Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway here!
I've been writing a while now, it seems. (See all my various weights and hair-styling attempts in the pics, LOL). We have a lot of new friends here, so I wanted to share again about why I started writing over the next few posts. If you've heard it before, or you're only interested in the fun book deals, you can always skip to the bottom of this page. I won't care one bit!
Twenty-seven years ago, a car ran a red light and crashed into the vehicle I was a passenger in.
I was pregnant with my daughter. Time seemed to move in slow motion as I watched the car careening toward us. I kept looking at the light, thinking: It’s green, it’s green, they’re going to stop. My head was turned to watch as the other car came closer to impact. I saw the other driver’s head turned. He was talking to his passenger. I felt our car speed up as thankfully my elderly father somehow noticed the car and pressed the gas. (I believe that was a miracle.) If not, the accident would’ve have been much worse.
The other car never pressed the brakes and crashed into the back door and trunk of our car. I was in front passenger seat, my mother was on the passenger side back seat. Thank the Lord.
We landed an inch away from a telephone pole in the yard of a fire station.
I left in an ambulance, due to neck pain, but my fear was for my unborn child.
She’s twenty seven now and fine, but what I didn’t know would stay with me beside some aggravating neck problems after that wreck …. was anxiety.
I began feeling tremendous anxiety in vehicles. And eventually began having panic attacks on the interstate while driving, which was odd because my wreck wasn’t on an interstate. But somehow the wreck triggered something in my brain that had to do with the fight or flight mode.
This was an acute stress response.
I’d heard of panic attacks on a news show and thought, that’s silly. Just do whatever it is, and go on with life. But that judgement (like so many I’ve made) came back to bite me.
This issue that I thought was silly became a problem I would deal with for the rest of my life. So far.
I’m a person who tends to be open. I am what I am. This is it. I’m open about the problem. I joke with my friends about the fact that if we’re going somewhere requiring us to drive on the interstate, we can take my car, but I’m not going to be the one to drive.
Because I’ve shared about my anxiety issue, over the years I’ve met a lot of people who confided that they too had panic attacks, or suffered from depression, bipolar, or some other disorder.
What I found that hurt my heart almost worse was that, not only did these people suffer from some disorder that in and of itself was miserable, they also suffered from shame because of it. Embarrassment. The feeling that no one would understand. That people would think, like I used to, they should just get over it. People like me before I had suffered my own first panic attack.
So I had a crazy idea. (Probably crazy idea number eight-million-five-hundred-two.)
I wanted to write a story that showed no matter what our weakness or problem or disorder, we are all still useful in God’s kingdom, in our families, and in our community. We can be a part of doing good things even while we are still suffering.
Sometimes we just have to accept ourselves and look outside of our issue that’s plaguing us. Look outside and see how we can be a good friend, a good family member, a listening ear, a volunteer— do a job that we can do. And know that God loves us.
I'll let that be part one of how I started to write.
As always, if you have a prayer request, you can simply reply to this email.
And for the book fun!
I joined this Christian Book Giveaway with other Christian authors. (Note: I haven't read all of these books.)
Christian eBook & Paperback Giveaway!(2) Winners of eBook "Gift Baskets of ALL ebooks pictured!
(31+) Winners of individual ebooks or bonus paperbacks (randomly selected)
One short chapter tells Tamar’s bizarre story.
Tamar’s husband, Er, was the son of Judah. He was a man so awful that God did away with him. Likewise, his brother Onan who was supposed to give Tamar a child in his brother’s place. He did not want to give her a child for selfish reasons. I read that the firstborn’s heir would receive a double portion. Having a child—a son—provided for the widow, as women didn’t have many rights or avenues to care for their own financial needs at this time, so Onan was sleeping with her but refusing to provide for her. God got rid of him too.
Judah had one son left, and he didn’t want to take any chances on letting Tamar around this one, lest he lose him too. So he’s blaming Tamar instead of his wicked sons? What had happened to turn these early descendants of Abraham so evil already? Likely, the pagan culture nearby. God had warned them about hanging out with the Canaanites who practiced idolatry and the abhorrent practices that went along with their worship.
Judah sends Tamar home to her father’s house to wait until his son is old enough to provide a child. So for years, she’s dressed as a widow, unable to remarry—a childless woman with nothing.
Tamar takes matters into her own hands when she realizes that Judah is going to ignore his duty. Here we go again. We women do tend to go this way, don’t we? She might have asked God to intervene somehow, but instead, she dressed as a prostitute, face covered, and waited for Judah to pass. Her father-in-law was widowed, so he took the bait, leaving his calling cards—his seal, cord and staff—as a promise to send her back a kid (a goat). I had to laugh at the wording in English of the bargain, since he’s offering a kid goat, rather an actual kid son.
Ironically, when he hears Tamar is pregnant, having prostituted herself, he thinks she should be killed. Burned even. Double standard, for sure. Then she nails him with the truth. He was the man she’d been with. The child inside her was his. He finally admits he was the one in the wrong.
Wow, this is a gross story to me. How about you?
Yet, God doesn’t shy away from the nitty gritty of real life in his Word, making it much more believable. The Bible is not a fairytale. This is a story of a woman being done wrong and an early quest for social justice. Tamar ends up having twins, and this woman is also in the lineage of Jesus.
France Rivers has a wonderful historical fiction series about the women in Christ’s ancestry if you’re interested in reading more and putting yourselves in their place. Of course, I love reading biblical fiction and that may not be your thing.
What are your thoughts on this weird story?
I love hearing your take!
What would it be like to be the other sister? Not the pretty one with the lovely figure like Rachel. But Leah, the one with weak eyes. The one no one wants to marry. The one who was sent, veiled, into a dark tent to a man who did not desire her.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve felt unattractive and unwanted at different spaces in my life. I’ve felt awkward and out of the loop. Un-chosen. Not because of my sisters, but maybe there was that other girl or woman who seemed to have it all together. She didn’t have to watch everything she ate to have a flat stomach. She didn’t fight hair that frizzed in the Mississippi humidity. She seemed to sail through life with a perfect smile and with a perfect family and that gaggle of friends always there to support her.
Don’t we all know someone who appears that way? Especially now with social media!
Genesis 29:31 said that God saw Leah was not loved and enabled her to conceive. God saw her. He sees us too. Then Leah went and named her son Reuben and said “It is because the Lord has seen my misery. Surely my husband will love me now.”
Good grief, Leah!
Is it just me, or were Leah and Rachel totally trying to depend on their husband to find their worth?? My husband is a good man, but friends, I have to find my worth in the Lord or I’d drive myself nuts! Truth. And another thing I’ve found is that men and women communicate differently. When I want to spill my worries and guts for a good long talk, I call one of my women friends who will just listen. It’s so sad that Leah and Rachel weren’t there for each other.
Though never feeling loved, Leah ended up being the mother of Judah who was in the lineage of Christ. We don’t know who we could be influencing with our lives, despite believing we are unwanted or un-chosen. So, friends, let’s not dwell on what we don’t have. Instead, let’s praise God for what we do have and encourage each other along our journey.
What are your thoughts on Leah? Any guesses what is meant by weak or tender eyes?
I'm still slowly doing my study of Women in the Bible. If you want to receive all the posts I make about them, just leave a comment, and I'll add you to a special email group. This week, I'm taking a fresh look at Rachel.
Thoughts on Rachel
What would it be like to be forced to share a husband with your sister? I mean siblings can have enough squabbles over borrowed earrings and clothes, right? And to make matters worse, it had not been the sisters’ choice to share Jacob, but a trick perpetrated by their own father. Not a good start for a marriage.
Jacob and Rachel met at a well, much like Rebecca had been found at a well by Abraham’s servant. Only this time was different in that the bride groom, Jacob, saw her for himself. Genesis 29 says he kissed Rachel and wept aloud. That is not how most men display their emotions these days. Jacob quickly fell in love with the shapely and beautiful Rachel and was willing to work seven years to gain her hand. A long time to be engaged. A long time to wait.
Then the deception came, when Laban sent a different veiled daughter into the dark wedding tent.
And the morning after, the bitterness began. A father had broken the hearts of both his daughters.
Rachel’s sister bore children quickly, and even better during those days, Leah bore sons. Barren, Rachel was so jealous of her sister, she demands to Jacob, “Give me children, or I’ll die!” As if he could! There may be a bit of a drama queen coming out of the pretty girl, but again, infertility is a tough emotional journey for a woman.
Like Sarah, Rachel took matters into her own hand, rather than trusting God, and she forced her servant to become a surrogate. (Surely, she’d heard the sad story about Hagar and Ishmael?) Yet, more sibling competition ensued. Leah followed that lead, giving a servant too.
Finally, Rachel had a child, through God’s doing and not her own. Then Jacob began planning to take his family back home. Through fierce bargaining and God’s help, he finally gathers the large crew and his belonging and slips out of town. Only, Rachel decides to steal some of her father’s idols, bringing her father Laban hot on their trail. Then she lied and hid the things in a rather unsavory fashion. Of course, she’d learned trickery from from the best.
Rachel’s last act in life was delivering another son, and the birth process literally killed her. I feel sorry for Rachel. She never seemed to be truly happy, despite her husband’s great love for her.
One of the phrases I’ve tried to teach my kids and myself is: Joy should not be dependent on our circumstance. It’s not always so simple as it sounds, but life is much more tolerable when we allow God to be our source of Joy.
What are your thoughts on Rachel?
This week I'm highlighting my fellow Mississippi author and friend Stephenia H. McGee's free book! Check it out! Amazon
Here's Stephenia and I at one of our brainstorming sessions. Always plotting, ha!
I hope the month of August is a good one for you! Don't plant any strange seeds from the mail, LOL!
As always, if you have a prayer request, send me a message on my contact form.
Virtual hugs and blessings,
Stay in the Loop!
For News & Giveaways Click Subscribe Button!
Under the Southern Sun
Janet W. Ferguson