Alas, the words to one of our favorite Christmas songs – “’tis the season to be jolly” – ring hollow this year. What we all need is a Christmas gift that delivers hope.
Unless you’ve been playing possum, you know how bad things are: people are not only losing their health insurance, but many are unable to afford to purchase new health coverage. Numerous businesses are cutting employee’s work hours in order to comply with the healthcare law and still remain in business. And millions of people are either unemployed or underemployed.
Are you plagued with problems? Are you scared? Worried? Dreading the future? Do you know someone who is unemployed, or who has lost their health insurance? Do you know young college graduates who are underemployed because they can’t find a job in their major or who can’t afford to purchase health insurance?
When adversity enters our lives, our situation can look hopeless, and we wonder if our lives will ever improve and return to normal. We get so caught up in anxiety and fear that we forget there is One who can help us with our every need.
In the anthology book I co-authored with La-Tan Roland Murphy—God’s Provision in Tough Times—the twenty-five true stories were written to help people who are in the midst of struggles. Each story demonstrates how God worked—often in incredible ways—to help the writers successfully get through their crushing situations. Some writers found themselves in circumstances so bad that it would have been easier to give up than to keep going. But rather than quit, they turned to their faith in a God who promises to provide for each believer’s every need.
Do you need a Christmas gift that provides hope and encouragement for someone—or even yourself? This book just may be one of the best gifts you ever give.
God’s Provision in Tough Times is reasonably priced and available in both paperback and Kindle at Amazon, in paperback at Barnes & Noble online, and in paperback at Christianbook.com. You can also ask your local Christian book store to carry it.
Click on one of the links below to go directly to either Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Christianbook.com to purchase copies.
To purchase a paperback copy of God’s Provision in Tough Times at Amazon: Amazon paperback
To purchase a Kindle copy at Amazon: Amazon Kindle
To purchase a paperback copy at Barnes & Noble: Barnes & Noble paperback
To purchase a paperback copy at Christianbook.com: Christianbook.com paperback
I pray this book is a blessing to you.
God’s Provision in Tough Times includes heartfelt stories by Alycia W. Morales, Beth K. Fortune, Carrie Fancett Pagels, Cecil Stokes, Dan Walsh, Deborah Raney, Dee Dee Parker, Eddie Jones, Eva Marie Everson, Felicia Bowen Bridges, James L. Rubart, Ramona Richards, Roger E. Bruner, Tamara D. Fickas, Torry Martin, La-Tan Roland Murphy, and Cynthia Howerter.
And do not neglect doing good and sharing; for with such sacrifices God is pleased. Hebrews 13:16 (NASB)
To God be the Glory
I love the movie “Rocky.” Yes, I’m talking about the first Rocky movie that came out in 1976. I love this movie for several reasons: I once lived in Philadelphia (where the movie is set), and I love to watch an underdog win.
Rocky’s life was nothing special until he was given the unlikely opportunity to fight Apollo Creed, the World Heavyweight Champion. After focusing all of his time, money, and talent on training to fight Apollo Creed, Rocky comes to realize the night before the nationally promoted fight that he can’t beat Creed. There’s just no way a poor wanna-be fighter can realistically beat a world-class winner.
So why bring up such an old movie now? It’s because I can relate to Rocky on a personal level. Yesterday was a tough day for me. The Evil One used others to tell me all the reasons why the book my co-author, La-Tan Roland Murphy, and I wrote will never be successful—and that it will never recoup a penny of the thousands of dollars we’ve spent to pay contributing writers, an editor, a professional marketing guru, and promotion costs on a book that God clearly told us to write. Man, just kick me and tell me to be hopeless.
Then I thought of Rocky. Realizing he could not win, he was faced with two options: either don’t show up for the fight—or show up and believe that he’s capable of giving his very best effort.
Hmm. Give his very best effort. Now why do those words ring a bell? Because in the movie “Facing the Giants,” high school football coach Grant Taylor realizes that he can’t win at anything in his life, and he is faced with, yes, two options: either give up—or turn to God, focus on Him, and give his very best effort to a God who believes in him.
That reminded me of when my husband was going through the long battle of unemployment. Innumerable people told us that Tim would never get another job. Why? Because he was too old and had been unemployed for too long. These two facts made him unemployable—from their perspective. Which happened to be the perspective of most people. Except Tim and me.
In a terrible, unenviable situation, Tim and I had, yes, two choices: either give up hoping for a new job—or believe in God’s promises that He will give us what we need and when we need it—for starters.
Like Rocky and Coach Taylor, Tim and I refused option one; there was no giving up and throwing in the towel. Instead, we put our focus on the winning team—God. And in doing so, we ignored the naysayers and believed that God can do all that He says He can do. And God did: Tim was given a good job.
Now, back to me and the naysayers and the book. Just like Rocky, Coach Taylor, and Tim, La-Tan and I have, yes, two choices: either we believe that our book cannot be successful because most books are not—or we put our trust and focus on God—who told us to write the book in the first place—and allow Him to do what He wants with it.
And so, La-Tan and I are going to ignore what is reality from a human perspective—that we cannot recoup our financial expenditures because the book can’t possibly be successful enough to do this. Instead, we are going to focus on God who says He can and He will if we choose to obey Him and leave all the consequences up to Him.
TO GOD BE THE GLORY—ALL THE GLORY
Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us. Ephesians 3:20 (NIV)
Shortly before my husband lost his job in 2008, I asked the Lord to tell me His will for my life. Because I gave up my teaching career 24 years earlier to be a stay-at-home mom, my teaching skills were as obsolete as dinosaurs. With my children at college, I yearned for a career—but one ordained by the Lord. When God told me to “Write. You have a story to tell,” I could never have imagined that the story He wanted me to write was one that had yet to unfold.
My husband’s job loss actually set my writing career in motion. After obeying God and selling our house, we moved halfway across Pennsylvania to stay with my aunt while my husband searched for a job. Knowing no one except Auntie and my husband, I had plenty of time on my hands—time to write.
A story came to me soon after we moved into Auntie’s house, and I wrote almost daily for the 18 months we lived with her. The story was about searching for faith when all appeared lost, and as I wrote, the characters encountered unimaginable twists and turns filled with fear and trials. My own days of seeking God’s presence in the midst of hopelessness drove the story. As my faith deepened, so did the faith of my characters.
The story turned into a novel. Although it will never be published or win an award, it served several purposes during our months of adversity. Through the pages, I sought God and eventually found Him. As the plot unfolded, I learned that God never wastes our pain; what I was learning through the refining fires of unemployment was reflected in the characters’ lives and allowed them to become believable people. As my characters learned to trust in the Lord no matter what frightening events stood in their paths, I learned that I could trust God to get me through—not out of—the absolute worst times of my life. Writing this novel taught me how to weave my faith and experiences into stories that could touch the hearts of readers.
In retrospect, God used this first novel to help prepare me to be a professional writer. Just when I thought I had no employable skills, God provided a new career using the trials of my life and my deepening faith as the foundation for stories He wants me to tell.
What unexpected twists and turns have taken place in your life? Can you see how the Lord orchestrated all of the events of your life—both good and bad—to place you where you currently are?
So be careful to do what the Lord your God has commanded you; do not turn aside to the right or to the left. Deuteronomy 5:32 (NIV)
TO GOD BE THE GLORY
Photograph by Cynthia Howerter ©2013
Do you ever find yourself thinking that it’s just too late in your life for certain things to happen? I didn’t even realize that I do this. That is, until I took a lovely walk through the French Quarter in Charleston, South Carolina on Monday with my daughter Megan.
We stopped at an art gallery and admired numerous paintings by highly skilled artists. One piece in particular caught my eye, but the hefty price tag prohibited me from purchasing it.
Taking into account my age and my lack of income, I bemoaned my circumstances to Megan as she walked slightly ahead of me on a narrow sidewalk. “I love oil paintings, but I’ve never had the money to purchase any.”
Megan murmured something.
“What?” I called out to her. “I didn’t hear you.”
She continued walking but turned her head toward me as she repeated her comment. “Yet.”
“You haven’t had the money to purchase works of art. Yet.”
“Yet,” I repeated.
“Yet,” Megan affirmed.
In the window of another shop were photographs of England, the one place I’ve wanted to visit since I was eleven years old. “I still haven’t been to Europe.”
My daughter, diagonally in front of me on the threadlike sidewalk, muttered something.
She turned sideways, still walking. “Yet.”
“You haven’t been to Europe. Yet.”
Yet. I pondered the word, my foot twisting on a raised cobblestone. “Yet,” I said out loud.
“That’s right, Mom. Yet.”
“So what’s your point? I don’t have the money to buy art and I don’t have the money to travel to Europe.”
“Yet. You talk as though you’ve given up on your dreams. If you give up on your dreams, they definitely won’t happen.”
“I’m being realistic, Megan. I’m an unknown Christian writer who just started their career and hasn’t earned a penny.”
“Yet. You never thought you’d write a book, but you just signed a book contract.”
Yet. I stopped and let her words sink in. Yet! This child is right! I’ve given up on my dreams. Dreams can’t happen if we give up on them, if we allow them to die, if we stop pursuing them.
I hurried to catch up. “Yes, Megan. Yet! Buying fine art and traveling to England have not happened yet!”
She glanced at me and smiled, the teacher and student trading roles. “Yet.”
What about you? Yes, you. What dreams have you given up on? Maybe you should tell me while we’re having this conversation. I’ll start the sentence, and then you fill in the blank: “I have never…….”
This is where you need Megan: “Yet.”
Isn’t that three-letter word unbelievably empowering?
What’s your biggest dream? The one you’ve never told anyone, the one you are most afraid will never happen? I know you have one. This time, say your big dream out loud. Speak life into it. Revive it. I’ll help you begin: “I have never……”
And Megan says: “Yet.”
You see, what you are saying, in essence, is this: I have had this dream for a long time, but it hasn’t materialized. Yet. I thought my dream was dead because I thought it was impossible for it to actually happen. But if I remain hopeful and focused and keep my dream alive and continue to work, it could happen. Yet.
I’ll take the last turn: “I have never written a best-seller.”
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for giving me such an incredible daughter, and for the opportunity to share her wisdom with my friends.
“Surely there is a future, and your hope will not be cut off.” Proverbs 23:18.
TO GOD BE THE GLORY
Photograph: Cynthia Howerter © 2012
It’s official! God’s Provision in Tough Times has released on Amazon.com and is ready for ordering!
Like you, I cannot wait to get my copy of it! Yes, even the author has to wait to get their copy!
To celebrate the release of this God-ordained book, I am giving away two free copies of God’s Provision in Tough Times! All you need to do to enter the book giveaway is to: 1) be a subscriber to Soar With Eagles if you are not already, and 2) leave a comment.
You may begin leaving comments now! The drawing for the two winners of the God’s Provision in Tough Times Book Giveaway will be held on Friday, June 28 at 1:00 p.m., and the two winners’ names will be announced on Soar With Eagles on Friday at that time.
If you enjoy the book, please consider leaving a favorable comment on Amazon.com. The more favorable comments the book receives, the higher the visibility Amazon will provide it on their website. Also, please tell others about God’s Provision in Tough Times.
A little information about God’s Provision in Tough Times for you:
Cynthia Howerter and co-author La-Tan Roland Murphy have both experienced God’s provision in tough times. Along with 15 guest writers, they candidly share their own personal stories of unemployment, underemployment, and financial despair.
You will find encouragement and hope as you read each story. Many of these writers lost their income, savings, homes, and health insurance. Some found themselves on public assistance while others faced homelessness. Their faith and trust in God was refined and strengthened as He provided a successful path through their difficulties.
Each writer’s personal story demonstrates the power of God who knows exactly what you are going through and who promises to care for those who put their faith and trust in Him.
God’s Provision in Tough Times includes personal accounts by guest writers Alycia W. Morales, Beth K. Fortune, Carrie Fancett Pagels, Cecil Stokes, Dan Walsh, Deborah Raney, Dee Dee Parker, Eddie Jones, Eva Marie Everson, Felicia Bowen Bridges, James L. Rubart, Ramona Richards, Roger E. Bruner, Tamara D. Fickas, and Torry Martin.
It is the sincere hope of La-Tan, our 15 contributing writers, and myself that God will use this book to touch the hearts of many people and draw them close to Him.
TO GOD BE THE GLORY!