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Category: Devotional Writings

Strength Through the Struggle and Ordeal

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When you think of a butterfly, you think of a delicate insect with beautiful wings that are easily damaged. However, when a butterfly emerges from its cocoon, it struggles until it breaks through the chrysalis, forming a hole and squeezing its body through. Through that immense effort, working through the cocoon develops fortitude and strengthens its wings. Pushing through the hole squeezes the fluid from its body into its wings slimming down the body and inflating the wings. The butterfly is meant to struggle; it needs the struggle to forge it into a complete and functioning butterfly.

Often, we find ourselves at our best place after we’ve gone through a struggle. Authors understand the concept of the hero’s journey — a basic storytelling method about ordinary people who become heroes (or quest conquerors or victors or whatever). Think Percy Jackson, Harry Potter, Luke Skywalker, Neo (The Matrix).

There are several parts to the three-act story of the hero’s journey. You can see them on the attached diagram:

In order for the hero to return back to his ordinary world, he needs to be transformed through tests, allies, and enemies and also through an ordeal.

Those tests and ordeals are the struggle that transform the plain ordinary into the heroic.

James 1:2-4 says: Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Our trials produce perseverance which matures and completes us! I know it’s hard to see in the midst of the conflict, the tests, the ordeals, that we will be better on the other side, more complete, not lacking anything.

If this is where you are now, take heart my friends. God has you in the palm of His hand. No matter what the struggle, He won’t leave us. Isaiah 41:10 says: So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

I saw a meme the other day that said this: On my worst days, I remember that my track record for getting through the bad days is 100%, and those are pretty good statistics.

Like the butterfly, we need to struggle and squeeze through, because that’s what will develop our spirit and make us strong. Like the hero in the hero’s journey, we need to face those trials and ordeals so that we can be victors.

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Love’s Letters is Now Available!

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Just in time for Valentine’ Day!

I have to tell you, I’m so very excited about the release of the marriage devotional Love’s Letters: A Collection of Timeless Relationship Advice from Today’s Hottest Marriage Experts.

Back when I regularly blogged as Hallee the Homemaker, I collected marriage and relationship books written from a Christian worldview. Marriage and the dynamics of men and women are an area of passionate study for my husband Gregg and me. 

When the publisher of Love’s Letters: A Collection of Timeless Relationship Advice from Today’s Hottest Marriage Experts contacted us to be a part of the project and I saw the names of the other authors, I was floored. We have their books and now we get to write one with them!

I want to encourage you to get this book. If you have a couple in mind, get it for them, too. The ebook is only 99 cents for the release, and the paperback is $6.99. It is FILLED with loving wisdom from people like us who have a passion for strong marriages and lasting relationships.

Love’s Letters: A Collection of Timeless Relationship Advice from Today’s Hottest Marriage Experts is the first ever collaboration featuring twenty-eight couples who champion God’s greatest gift-marriage. Each day’s devotional is written by a different husband and wife team, sharing timeless advice that will elevate your marriage to the next level.

This historic charity anthology brings together pastors, authors, entertainers, social media influencers, military, first responders, and professional sports chaplains as they and their spouses share their hearts and wisdom about marriage.

Get your copy today:

Amazon   Barnes and Noble  AppleBooks  GooglePlay  Kobo

Authors included in this collection are:

Richard & Sheri Bright
Hallee & Gregg Bridgeman
Chris & Holly Brown
Jody & Nan Burkeen
Debra Clopton & Chuck Parks
Rashawn & Denisse Copeland
LaMorris & Megan Crawford
Luke & Anna Cunningham
Ron & Cheryl Edmondson
Jeff & Shaunti Feldhahn
Debra & John Fileta
Kellie & Allen Gilbert
George & Tondra Gregory
Clayton & Ashlee Hurst

Scott & Katie LaPierre
Amber & Guy Lia
Shawn & Tricia Lovejoy
Joel & Emily Malm
Juan and Ruthy Martinez
Adam & Jami McCain
Joshua & Keesha Melancon
Jamal & Natasha Miller
Sean & Lanette Reed
Michael & Alicia Rowntree
Scott & Leah Silverii
Dave & Rebekah Stotts
Larry & Devi Titus
Special Author Couple

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Monday Morning Coffee and Chat 1/25/21 – Love’s Letters!

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Happy Monday! Today I’m chatting about Love’s Letters: A collection of Timeless Relationship Advice from Today’s Hottest Marriage Experts!
Grab a cup of coffee and join me!
Click here to order the book:
What’s Hallee drinking? Hallee’s Brew! Try it today!

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Do Not Forget To Entertain Strangers

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I used to volunteer for the soup kitchen in Winchester, Kentucky. I had a babysitter for the (toddler aged) boys and cooked 2-3 days a week until I was called away from that ministry to focus entirely on my writing.  One day, hardly any help showed up.  It was just me and one other girl for a while, then one more girl came.

On a normal day, we cooked the meals on wheels lunches starting at 7:00. Around 9:00, someone would come and deliver bread and desserts that a local store donated, and then the driver would come to pick up the meals on wheels food that we’d prepared that morning.  Once that was done, I was supposed to lock the doors and unlock them at 11:45 when it was time to serve lunch.  The day that the staff was really small, I forgot to lock the doors.

I was outside of the kitchen in the dining room sorting the bread and the desserts.  The items we couldn’t use for the meal that day were put on a table and given free to the people who came to eat.  A lot of people came early to get the good stuff every day.  Any boxes of doughnuts and such, we would put on the tables, open, for people to just enjoy.

I was alone in the dining room.  This is a long room – the length of the church building – and I was at the end, near the kitchen, well away from the only entrance to the room.  As I was sorting bread, I turned around and a man was standing right next to me, his arms outstretched as if he was coming in for a hug.  He was tall, unkempt, unshaven, sweaty, filthy, and he smelled really bad.  I’d never seen him before.  But I hugged him anyway.  It felt wrong not to.  He slapped me on the back and said, “I’ve just been telling people about Jesus!”

I smiled and said, “Amen, brother.  Isn’t that what we’re supposed to do?”  I gestured to the table.  “Do you want a doughnut?”

“Boy, do I!”  He quickly sat down and opened a box of 3 cinnamon rolls.

I asked, “Do you want a cup of coffee, too?”

Around a mouthful of pastry, he said, “Oh yes.  Coffee.”

I went into the kitchen, poured him a cup of coffee, and took it to him.  He said, “Man, they don’t treat us like this in Indiana.”

I turned around to do the bread, then just a second or two later turned back around intending to ask him where in Indiana he was coming from.

He was gone.

The box of pastries was gone.  The cup of coffee was gone.  The chair was pushed in.  There were no crumbs anywhere.  It was probably 20 yards to the doorway (If you look at the pitcture, I was way up by the column by the kitchen window, and he would have had to come past where I stood to take this picture) and there was no trace of him.

I asked the girl who was working with me if she saw the guy leave, and she said, “What guy?”

I don’t know who that man was.  He was probably a homeless guy from Indiana.  But, Hebrews 13:2 immediately came to my mind and stayed with me all day:

Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels.



You Aren’t An Impostor

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Impostor syndrome is the name given to the feelings when a person doubts his or her accomplishments and has a persistent internalized fear of being exposed as a “fraud”. No matter how much evidence there is to the contrary, people with imposter syndrome still can be filled with incredible self-doubt.

I suffer from this on an extreme. It just is how my brain works. I’m not sure what triggers it — maybe it’s a subconscious reminder of a series of bad decisions through my teen and young adult years or maybe it’s just how I’m wired — but the entire time I’m writing, teaching, speaking, or just interacting with people in my day-to-day life, in the back of my mind I’m waiting for someone to expose me as a fraud. To claim and make sure everyone knows and understands that I don’t have the right to my authority, to my words, to my talents.

I could let it cripple me. It would be very easy for me to give in to the fear and just stop succeeding.

Here is an interesting fact: Successful women are more highly susceptible to it. I think that’s fascinating.

The thing is, it’s normal. Isn’t that crazy? It’s normal and it’s common and it’s okay to think those thoughts as long as you don’t let those thoughts drive you or impede you.

If you happen to suffer from imposter syndrome, too, let me tell you how I mentally fight it back so that I CAN teach, and I CAN write, and I CAN speak and know that I CAN do those things well, with grace and strength to inspire and to educate.
I remind myself of some truths:

You are God’s creation. He gifted you with talents and skills for this very moment. Every step you’ve made to reach this point, He’s affirmed over and over again.
You are a loving wife of an adored husband who would give you the moon if you requested it.
You are a good mother with great kids who thrive.
You are a good friend to AMAZING friends who step up when you need them because they know you’ll have their backs, too. And even when it’s hard, it’s okay to ask for their help.
You have words to offer the world that encourage and inspire and energize. Words God gave you and to hold them back would be a detriment to His kingdom plan.

If you suffer from imposter syndrome, let me encourage you to fight it off – even if you have to do it daily (like me). Write down encouraging truths about yourself and repeat them out loud if you need to. Sometimes, I need to.

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Monday Morning Coffee and Chat 5/6/19 – Modern Day Parables

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Hello! Welcome to Monday morning coffee and chat! Today I’m talking about my mission statement and spreading the gospel through my fiction.


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