You know that feeling when you read a good book and your whole soul fills up with hope and encouragement? Naturally after feeling like this you want to tell everyone about it! That is how we felt when reading Box of Butterflies by Roma Downey. It is an absolutely beautiful book including poems and art, but most importantly Roma’s words about faith, God’s grace and love, and the value of living a life dependent on and thankful for Him.
There is one part toward the end that we felt so inclined to share, but be sure to pick up a copy to read the entire book. It is a treasure of a book, one that you will want to hold on to forever and loan to dear friends and family. On page 207, Roma writes an incredible passage comparing our journey here on earth to Dorthy’s journey in The Wizard of Oz, stating that our “true home is within us. True home is in God.” We can search the earth and think we need certain things to make us whole and make us feel at home, but who we truly need, God, is with us all along!
“I hope that in this book you have begun to see the beauty in your journey. How it may have twisted and turned, and had ups and downs, but ultimately that you were never alone on the Yellow Brick Road. That even in the dark forest, God was preparing you. That even as you danced in Munchkinland, it was time to say thank you. That even though when you arrive back home and nothing has changed on the outside, you’ll see that you’ve been changed on the inside. And that is all that matters. When we awaken fully to God, it’s as if we finally remember that we are not merely caterpillars but that we are, in face, beautiful butterflies with wings to fly.” -Roma Downey in Box of Butterflies
Thank you, Roma for such beautiful, wise, love-filled words that encourage, inspire, and uplift us as the beauty in all of our journey unfolds, even after twists and turns and ups and downs.
As we approach the new year, we can’t think of a better Q&A than one with Rebekah Lyons– author of Rhythms of Renewal, a book all about releasing anxiety and entering a life of rest and renewal. Yes, please! It is on our hearts to make 2020 a year of slowing down to savor the gift of life and to resist the temptation to get caught up in the stress loop that never ends well. If you agree with us, this Q&A with Rebekah will inspire you to implement four rhythms into your life: rest, restore, connect, and create. Keep reading for more! xo
Your book, Rhythms of Renewal, is truly a game-changer. What do you hope your book will ignite within a reader while or after reading it?
My hope is that the reader will feel empowered and equipped to take charge of their emotional health through tangible and practical steps. With the understanding that transformation happens one small step at a time, one day at a time.
Out of the four rhythms, is there one that particularly is near & dear to your heart…if so, which one and why!?
Rest is dear to my heart because I know how important it is. It is the foundation for having something to offer someone else. When I don’t rest, I burn out. It’s also the most challenging for me because I tend to like to run hard and fast, but each time I do that without resting, I feel the waves of burnout. I think the reason why 77% of our society experiences physical symptoms of stress is because we’ve lost the permission to rest.
In the Create section, we particularly loved how you described the importance of dreaming and creating space to dream. What is it about this step that is so important when living out the lives that God designed us for?
We are all born with birthright gifts that are established in our mother’s womb. These are unique to every one of us, and I believe that calling is where our talents and burdens collide. So part of the journey is reawakening the things that were effortless for us at 8, 9, 10 and finding that childlike wonder and excitement around the things that we loved to do. That way as adults when we recapture those things, it brings back a feeling of joy and confidence when we feel fully alive.
In the conclusion, you have an exceptionally beautiful quote about strength: “There’s nothing more beautiful than finding strength on the other side of yes. It’s not a strength of doing, but one of being. Being in the center of his will.” Can you elaborate more on this God-given strength that equips us and enables us to do what He has called us to do?
Strength comes when we surrender the life we thought we wanted, and embrace the life we are given. It’s a strength of contentment and peace. Knowing that god goes before us and brings people around. Some of the hardest things I had to say yes to were the things that inspired and matured me the most. So now I understand that strength is holding my plans loosely and embracing the moment right in front of me.
The way you write about your daughter, Joy, is beyond beautiful. Can you try to describe in a sentence (or two!) what bringing Joy in your family has meant to you all?
She’s been the glue that brings us together in a whole new way. I can hardly remember life before her. She makes every day fun. And because my other children are older, we are all getting to experience the joy of her childlike wonder together.
We are so excited to have Julia Sadler, author of the book: Pray Big Things, with us today on LSK. Julia has an incredible story to share of faith, trust, endurance, and hope and we just know that her answers to our questions are going to inspire you. Keep reading to learn more!
Q&A With Julia Sadler
*Tell us what inspired you to write Pray Big Things!
I wrote PRAY BIG THINGS after the most challenging and exciting season of my life and marriage. After experiencing three miscarriages in less than a year and praying specifically and consistently, my husband and I conceived our miracle triplets. I ended up going into labor at 22 weeks and was told the babies would be born blind, deaf, with brain bleeds, or not even survive at all. By God’s grace we all survived 49 days of hospital bedrest, 63 days in the NICU, and all were home the night before our 9-year wedding anniversary!
By being open about the losses, infertility, bedrest, and NICU on social media and on the TLC show, Rattled, I was able to connect with so many women and couples struggling to find hope in these hard situations. I had actually contracted to write a different book but knew PRAY BIG THINGS was the one I was meant to write. Even if these aren’t your specific struggles, everyone has a prayer and dream they’d give anything to see fulfilled—and that’s what PRAY BIG THINGS is all about. I challenge readers to take God at His word and see Him work beyond anything they’ve ever imagined.
*We love the title description: The Surprising Life God Has for You When You’re BOLD ENOUGH TO ASK. Can you elaborate on what it means to you to be bold when praying to God?
That’s a great question. I think we are scared to ask God for what we really want. We are worried our requests aren’t holy enough, important enough, or matter enough in the grand scheme of the universe. However, this is completely contrary to Scripture. James 4:2 says, “You have not because you ask not.” It doesn’t get simpler than that!
For whatever reason, many people have bought into the lie that following Christ isn’t exciting when really it’s the most fulfilling and surprisingly life we can lead. I had to be bold in asking God what purpose He had for me as I lay in a bed for 49 days, but He was faithful to give me people to minister to and encourage. Big prayers honor our big God and I think we would be amazed at what God will do when we are bold enough to ask.
PRAY BIG THINGS is not a “name it and claim it” book. I actually put my therapist hat on for a few chapters and talk about what to do when God says “no” and how to process anxiety, anger, grief, when God doesn’t answer our request the way we want. But even when God says “no we can still trust in a loving God Who has a perfect plan He is working out in our lives.
*Why do you think it is more natural for us humans to settle for less when God truly has created us (and wants us) to be bold and live in abundance?
I think settling for less is comfortable. We say we want more, but our actions –or inactions– prove otherwise. A lot of us think we need to let God off the hook. If we don’t ask, then He can’t disappoint us or let us down. “Praying Big” is definitely what I call “2.0” to the high school senior girls I teach in Sunday School. To “Pray Big Things” is the next level in your relationship with God. It’s more than what most people do, but it will get you further than most people ever go.
*How did you muster up the courage to be so vulnerable and open re: your story of infertility and miscarriage? Your vulnerability is such a gift to your readers!
I truly believe my purpose in life is to point people to Christ, and I decided a long time ago to use whatever I have to do that. Romans 1:16 in which the apostle Paul declares his commitment to sharing the gospel is my life verse. When I found out 6.1 million American women struggle with infertility, and I saw so many people of faith and of no faith being encouraged through our openness and story, I knew our experience—as hard as it had been– was a gift from God to use to talk about Jesus. I absolutely love getting messages from people telling me they have renewed hope because of God’s work in our lives! There’s nothing better than that!
*What is the one thing, most of all, that you hope your readers feel and walk away with once reading your book?
I want people to know that God can be trusted and that there is a surprising life awaiting everyone who dares to PRAY BIG THINGS!
This past week Jase and I went to New York for a work trip for him! He was promoting his new show- In The Room, which aired on E! this past week with an interview with Tom Brady. I am so proud of him!!
Whenever we spend time in NYC, I am so happy. After living there twice, something comes alive in me reminiscing on all the life-giving memories and experiences. We stayed in the coziest hotel, 1 Hotel, and I couldn’t of been more content! Plus we visited some of my favorite restaurants when we were there, including Springbone Kitchen + ABC Kitchen.
Trips With Jase Are The Best
Jase and I love traveling together. My happy place is definitely with him whether at home or away, but traveling together is always so sweet. We had just been in Idaho with our families before going to NYC, so we had two memorable trips back to back. Yay for the holidays! Traveling well together comes naturally to us which I am just so thankful for.
NYC This Time Of Year Is Magical
If you haven’t been to NYC during the Christmas season, definitely add it to your list of things to do! It is truly magical. There are so many bright lights in the big city as it is, but add Christmas decor and the entire city is glistening at all times.
The hustle and bustle of NYC is real, and during the holidays is even busier! But the energy is so special and really puts you in the Christmas spirit. The restaurants feel cozier, the shopping is exciting, and the Rockefeller Center is a must-see.
Just last week, one of our favorite authors and speakers, Rebekah Lyons, came out with a new book. Her book, You Are Free, is one we have recommended here on the blog before and her new book, Rhythms of Renewal, is once again a must-read.
We are so excited to soon be asking Rebekah a few questions, so of course the Q&A will be posted here on the blog, but until then we had to share an excerpt from her book that we keep re-reading. Focused on four rhythms: rest, restore, connect, and create, this new book from RL encourages readers to incorporate these four ways of being in their lives in order to truly rest, experience restoration, deeply connect, and beautifully create.
Just from the dedication page, it is clear this book is one that your soul is going to soak up. She shares this psalm in the opening page:
“Show me the right path, O LORD; point out the road for me to follow. Lead me by your truth and teach me, for you are the God who saves me. All day long I put my hope in you.” Psalm 25:4-5
Then on page 21, just in the introduction, Rebekah writes this:
“Through study and experience, I’ve come to understand four rhythms that help us replace stress and anxiety with life-giving peace and purpose. They help us nurture and sustain lasting emotional health. These rhythms aren’t complicated- Rest, Restore, Connect, and Create…however, these rhythms do take practice. Practical acts like fasting from media (Rest), exercising (Restore), sharing a laugh (Connect), or recovering an old talent (Create) can help us break the anxiety-inducing cycles of the world around us and bring balance to our otherwise hectic lives. They can help us cultivate the spiritual and mental space needed to allow God to bring us through complacency and fear and into freedom.” -Rebekah Lyons
Here’s to breaking “the anxiety-inducing cycles of the world around us” that are so easy to slip into. Instead, root yourself in these rhythms and find yourself flourishing and truly living from a place of peace, rest, and strength! Thanks, Rebekah, for writing such a faith-filled and much-needed book.
The other day someone in passing said to me when saying goodbye, “take good care of yourself”! Their words made me think: what does “take good care of yourself” actually mean? How does one do that well?
TAKING CARE OF YOURSELF…
…means different things for different people at different times. But man oh man, is it important. Our loving Lord of course is our great caretaker; He takes care of us in multiple ways from His throne. I believe though that He equips us to take care of ourself AND in His great provision, surrounds us with people who will also care for us. It’s our responsibility, though, to care for ourselves to the best of our human ability. This includes caring for our physical bodies, emotional selves, spiritual souls, and our God-focused minds.
…for all of us to fight off the guilt that the enemy uses when we do focus on and care for ourselves. Don’t be surprised when the devil tries to tell you you are selfish or you should be doing something else for someone else. It’s simply NOT TRUE. Taking good care of yourself by rest, relaxation, taking time to do your favorite hobby, investing in yourself, doing something that makes you smile…all of those things fill up your energy tank in order to take care of others in your life well! You have to be filled up in order to fill others up.