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Truth will You Set Free

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Writing has been such a huge part in helping me process through some of the darkest parts of my life. Writing has had incredible healing power in my life. It has also been an outlet to express my happiest and most joy filled moments. Today, I am thankful for a whole lot more joy in my life lately. I wrote the following because life might not always look like we want it to. It can feel impossible and hopeless at times. But for me, the darkest times have now made me appreciate the joy filled times 100x more. Freedom is possible. The messy work of healing is worth it, no matter how long it takes or how messy it gets. "…the truth will set you free…" But first it might destroy you, first it might shatter you, first it might break you into so many pieces that you can't ever imagine being put bac...

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Gratitude

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Before you get started, find a comfortable spot where you can sit quietly with your Savior. Spend a few minutes in silence. Ask God to meet you there in the quietness of this moment and to speak His heart to you as you sit with Him.Have a journal and pen/pencil ready to jot down any thoughts that come to you during this experience.Take a moment now to read through the following Scripture passage slowly. You may want to read it out loud. As Jesus continued on toward Jerusalem, he reached the border of Galilee and Samaria. As he entered a village there, ten lepers stood at a distance, crying out, "Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!" He looked at them and said, "Go show yourselves to the priests." And as they went, they were healed of their leprosy. One of them, when he saw that he was healed, ...

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Father's

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 As I recently sat next to our old hurting dog to say goodbye, I was thankful for my husband's arm on my shoulders as I sobbed. My husband is a steady rock for me and for my children. With Father's Day approaching I am reminded of how he continues to be involved in our children's lives even though they are out on their own; he provides wisdom and support as they face life's curve balls, steep mountains, and dark valleys of fear, anxiety or loss. He celebrates their successes. He provides guidance for big decisions. I see how he is a father to others whose fathers are absent. I watch how hard he works to provide. The unending emails and problems to solve seven days a week. I smile when I see how he makes my grand-nieces and nephews laugh by his silly antics, pushing them around the mer...

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Heavenly Children

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 "You are supposed to destroy the works of the devil and stomp on hell for a living. The cross is the revealing of your value. If you get who you are because of what he did, it doesn't matter what people have done to you." Todd White Our world is in chaos. And many of us feel defenseless. So many voices are shouting to be heard. Often their messages are different, outright contradictory, depending on their experiences. How do I respond as a believer? I honestly don't have all the answers. There are a few words that keep landing in my brain though, like the cotton from the trees that keep landing on my porch, clinging: listen, pray, serve. Fight for righteousness and the innocent. In other words, be more like Christ. As these thoughts were circling in my head, I ran into a friend as I ...

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John

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 "I talk to God but the sky is empty." Sylvia Plath Sometimes life just doesn't make sense. Like when you finally reach a stage in life when you and your spouse can fly the coop and enjoy time just the two of you...then divorce papers are filed, or an illness strikes or you are left alone at a graveside without a chance to say goodbye. Or when the child you have loved and nurtured turns against you, or turns to alcohol or drugs, or disappears without a trace. Recently I've been talking to God about my second-born son. He has been struggling, too, but, not with anger or alcohol issues. He is my high achiever. He graduated from his college and master's degree programs with a 4.0. He is incredibly diligent, meticulous, and detail-oriented, and if given a chance, would make a phenomenal e...

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Flirting with Temptation

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Before you make a decision, ask yourself this question: will you regret the results or rejoice in them? Rob Liano If only I would! If only I would stop and give thought to my decisions. Not all decisions, mind you. In many decisions I am quite strategic. But, when it comes to the little decisions, you know, the spontaneous ones like "I'm hungry, and that ooey gooey brownie would help tide me over till supper" decision or "That shirt is as cute as a button, and if I don't get it now, it may not be here the next time I come" decision? Those are the types of decisions that trip me up time-and-again. When I'm hungry or flirting with temptation in my favorite clothing shop, I fare rather poorly. brother, Jacob… 29-30 One day Jacob was cooking a stew. Esau came in from the field, starved. Esau s...

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A Sacred Romance

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Mary's heart began to thump and her hands to shake a little in her delight and excitement. What was this under her hands which was square and made of iron and which her finger found a hole in? It was the lock of the door which had been closed ten years and she put her hand in her pocket, drew out the key and found it fitted the keyhole. She put the key in and turned it. It took two hands to do it, but it did turn. And then she took a long breath and looked behind her up the long walk to see if anyone was coming. No one was. No one ever did come, it seemed, and she took another long breath, because she could not help it, and she held back the swinging curtain of ivy and pushed back the door which opened slowly — slowly. Then she slipped through it, and shut it behind her, and stood with her...

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Wave Battered and Faith-Filled Naomi

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Death, like ocean waves, surrounded me, and I was almost swallowed by its flooding waters. 2nd Samuel 22:6 I have heard it said that trouble comes in threes. I know it's just an old wife's tale, but oddly enough it happens from time-to-time. It's happened to me. How about you? The first time it happened I was a freshman in college. The troubles started when my parents divorced and sold our home. A couple months later I was involved in a rollover car accident that completely totaled my car. Then three months later, after a constant struggle with neurological issues, I discovered that I had broken my neck in the accident. Surgery, a month-long hospital stay and six months in a metal body/neck brace followed. Fragile and unable to care for myself, I was released into the care of my precious G...

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Learning to BeliEve

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The name Eve denotes the collectivity that is common to the behavior of living things." Her original design, taken out from Adam (earth) in the form of a rib, which is actually the Hebrew word, "side", is this idea that Adam and Eve, "Earth" and "Life" became a face to face symbiotic life force truly "made for each other" in the original sense. Fast forwarding to today we are actually faced with the choice all over again. Earth and Life, do we hear the choice to create as earth and as life. Flesh and breath. There is a Sara Groves song called Generations (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cK_WmVFAIP8) which starts with the these lyrics. "I can taste the fruit of Eve. I'm aware of sickness, death and disease The results of her choices are vast, Eve was the first but she wasn't the last." The ...

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Sarai with an H

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 Sarah said, "God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me." —Genesis 21:6 Meet Sarai. She is ninety years of age. Abram was nearly 100. Well past childbirth. But God had a special surprise up his sleeve, and Sarah would bear a son in one year. I forgot the story… "No longer will be called Abram; your name will be Abraham, for I have made you a father to many nations of you, kings will come from you. As for Sarai you wife; her name will be Sarah. I will bless her and will give you a son. Abraham fell facedown; and laughed and said to himself, will be a son be born to man a hundred years old? Will Sarah bear a son at the age of ninety." —Genesis 17:15-17 The Hebrew letter "h" is the letter symbolizes breath. The Hebrew people felt that writing or sp...

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Nameless Sinner

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 (Based on Luke 7:36-50) The butterflies in her stomach wouldn't stop. The son of God, Jesus, would be walking through the door soon. She straightened her skirt dyed blue from indigo flowers and held a little-too-tightly her alabaster jar of perfume as she silently waited in the corner. She was still in awe at her good fortune to end up in the home of Simon the Pharisee, a religious man of God! She didn't want to draw any attention or ire. Every now and again a guest would look her way with disgust or haughtiness, and her eyes would shoot quickly to the floor. Most, thankfully, ignored her. Thoughts swirled around her mind like bats on a midnight rampage. If only she could send them away! "Would Jesus accept her? Would he indeed be a friend to sinners? Were those just rumors? Would sh...

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In the Garden

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"Do not abandon yourselves to despair. We are the Easter people and hallelujah is our song." —Pope John Paul II In the place where Jesus was crucified, there was a garden containing a new tomb in which nobody had yet been laid. Because it was the preparation day and because the garden tomb was conveniently near, they laid Jesus in this tomb. On the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene arrived at the tomb, very early in the morning, while it was still dark, and noticed that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. Mary stood outside the tomb weeping. As she wept, she knelt to look into the tomb and saw two angels sitting there, dressed in white, one at the head, the other at the foot of where Jesus' body had been lain. They said to her, "Woman, why are you crying?" "Because they have t...

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Second-Guessing Myself

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 Don't be anxious about anything... —Philippians 4:6 I don't know if you've ever experienced this or not, but I have found that sometimes after I have said yes to serving the Lord in one capacity or another, I begin to second-guess myself. I think of all the other qualified folks out there who could do a much better job than me, and I grow a little weak in the knees. But then, just about the time I have convinced myself that I really ought to bow out of my obligation, God encourages my quivering heart by reminding me of the type of people He used in the past. Take Amos, for instance. When God needed a preacher to talk some sense into His people Israel, He didn't go to the nearest synagogue or seminary to find His candidate; he chose an ordinary man who tended fig trees for a living. W...

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He leads me beside quiet waters

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He leads me beside quiet waters… he restores my soul. —Psalm 23:2 I am sitting by still waters today, but there is a party on the lake. People having fun; diving in and dive-bombing into the water. Someone is tubing on the lake as well, and jets skis too. It is not exactly quiet, but it does restore my soul. Just when I was going to write that it is calmed down now, there is another whoop from the party boat. It is so peaceful here by the water, despite the party. I took my shoes off and dangled my feet in the lake. I love the sound of water lapping up on the shore. It is so soothing. It reminds me of the Allegheny river when I was young. My Grandpa Simey would take us out on the rowboat. We would pack a lunch and I remember the waves lapping on the shore of the river as we parked our boat...

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My sister Sherri

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My Sister Sherri. She was tomboy. I was a girlie girl. We about as opposite as good be. I had romantic heart. I love with my strength. I reached out to her while she was pregnant. She didn't understand my nurturing love her. She saw Josh and Amy have family. Tina got married and settle Edinburgh, UK. Gabi Boysen get married and have a family. Sal' settled Utah. She was Independent. Her love of God, Jesus, and Holy Spirit guided her life. She is walking whole with Jesus. She's chatting with Grandma and Grandpa Simey. She's chatting with Grandma and Grandpa O. Joking around with Mark Johnson. Set your heart things, where is Christ is seated at the right of God. Set you minds, on above not earthly things. For your hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears then you will...

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Peace

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Russia and Ukraine. Covid. Human trafficking. Skyrocketing crime and cost of living. Health challenges. Strained relationships. Elites and their power-grabbing global reset dreams. Loss of loved ones. In our tumultuous world, so many of us are searching for peace. Inner peace. And for peace around us. We want to find peace and wrap it around us like a soft, calming fleece or weighted blanket, but often it feels more like we find a threadbare quilt. Oftentimes I think true peace eludes me when I let my focus too long linger on the wrong things. When I shift from remembering my God is still good, even though evil abounds around me. When I forget God's light inside me and my brothers and sisters is stronger than the enemy's screams and distractions. When I forget the enemy roar...

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Expectation

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I'm sitting in an English country garden writing today's blog for Heart Matters Publishing. As the summer days turn to autumn I'm glad the mornings are still warm enough to invite this morning's moment. In fact, I sat here a couple of weeks ago too, surrounded by books and Bibles, a gift tag slotted in as a marker in my latest read, Secrets of The Secret Place, a cup of coffee and shadows speckled on the weathered table. Such sweet memorable moments, and on this morning I found myself not only taking a deep rest-filled breath of fresh air, but also meditating on part of Psalm 62, specifically looking at verses one and five. "Truly my soul silently waits for God; from Him comes my Salvation" (62v1)"My soul, wait patiently for God alone, for my expectation is from Him" (62v5)"My expectation ...

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A Bright Fields

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 Our besetting sin is to hurry, and the remedy is to turn aside: I have seen the sun break through to illuminate a small fieldfor a while, and gone my wayand forgotten it. But that was the pearlof great price, the one field that hadthe treasure in it. I realize nowthat I must give all that I haveto possess it. Life is not hurrying on to a receding future, nor hankering afteran imagined past. It is the turningaside like Moses to the miracleof the lit bush, to a brightnessthat seemed as transitory as your youthonce, but is the eternity that awaits you. R. S. Thomas (1913–2000) was an Anglo-Welsh poet and Anglican priest who lived in Wales and served in small rural parishes with his wife, the artist Mildred "Elsi" Eldridge. Yet Thomas insists that life is found when we, like Moses, turn ...

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Happy Valentine's Day!!!

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Have a Blessed Valentine's Day! LuAnn, Julie and Sally

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Longing for Heavenly One

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They were longing for a better country… a heavenly one. —Hebrews 11:16 Think for a moment about the word paradise, what comes to your mind? Do thoughts of a tropical retreat with white sandy beaches and swaying palm trees hit the mark? Or does a cabin up in snow-capped mountains with stunning views better fit your notion of the word? My idea of paradise would be a cottage with flower-filled gardens set in the Lake District of England. The mere thought of getting away to places such as these stirs our hearts with longing. There is something almost magical in the plotting and planning of a trip, whether it is to Boston or Barbados, Portland or Paris. Once we've settled on where we are going, the anticipation begins to build as the longed-for day of departure approaches, which to me is half t...

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A Sanctuary

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I love old churches and cathedrals. It started years back when we lived in France. The churches there are so ancient and so beautiful. I found it difficult to pass through a town or village without stopping to take a peek around and sit for a spell inside, if time allowed. The hallowed silence within their walls breathed such peace to my soul. Being a foreigner in a new land, it felt the nearest thing to home. Since then, I have made it a habit of visiting old churches wherever I go. We've been to old churches in the French Alps when we visited, and when we were in Scotland and the UK, we visited beautiful cathedrals, even ruins of old churches and abbeys in Robin Hood's Bay. There seems to be a reverence about them. A hallowedness. As much as I love the church in Big Sky with its beautifu...

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New Beginnings

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I was asked to write on new beginnings for this weeks blog post and although I had a few ideas of the directions I could go I ended up wrestling with these two simple words. This left me wondering how I might best express these thoughts and a poem emerged. I hope the questions in this short poem and the overall prose will help you see the art of taking time within new beginning seasons, for what goes around comes around and Gods cycle is one of grace. New Beginning I wonder how I will read the past from this moment? Is it place or time or both? Something never lost but never again to be walked. Mine and yours and ours. I only have the past to look back on this day, this moment, new beginning. And now. And now. And now. But I do get to write it anew, from a new beginning point of view. We w...

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Prayer Power

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"Pray without ceasing." 1 Thessalonians 5:17 "More Prayer." Those are the words God gave me for 2022. You know, the whole news year's resolution thing and seeking his direction. As usual, God's answer was short and sweet. Days later he led me to a book I had started years ago, Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire, by Jim Cymbala. I had forgotten what it was even about. Flipping through my highlights up to the bookmark, it didn't take long to figure it out. Prayer. Of course, right? Filled with great scriptural and personal stories of the power and priority of prayer, I ended up unable to put it down, highlighting most of the rest of the book. Here are just a couple nuggets: More people are dipping into drugs than are getting baptized in water. What is going to reverse this tide? Preaching alone will not...

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Count Your Blessings

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Faith is the strength by which a shattered world shall emerge into the light. - Helen Keller Throughout the years, it has been my habit to keep a Faith Journal. I call it a Faith Journal because what I have written on those pages... when my faith is firm and the eyes my heart are open to see the various blessings that God has touched my life with, have been the greatest source of encouragement to me when my faith is especially thin, and my eyes so clouded with tears that I have a hard time seeing God's presence anywhere. As I flip through that journal, I am reminded that yes! God has walked with me through every twist and turn along life's way. He has whispered my name on the wind and touched my innermost being with beauty. He has embraced me through the hugs of friends and spoken deep int...

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Goals

New Years. A time of year we observe that God did indeed make each of us one-of-a kind. One friend says, "I never make resolutions," and laughs carefree. Another will pull out her latest New Year's Resolutions typed in serious Arial or Calibri on 90 lb. bright white paper from her nicely-labeled folder. This year I observed some cementing their 2020 intentions on Facebook. Others reflected on the woes of the past year. Still others looked forward to the new year with the same excitement they did when pumpkin spice lattes came out in the fall. I love this diversity. But some of you may be feeling New Year's stress or ambivalence; I hope some of the following thoughts are helpful. When is not important. Self-reflection and goal setting are beneficial, but when can be what makes sense for you...

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We Heart Matters Publishing gals care about women. Their joys. Their struggles. Their everyday, ordinary lives. We write from those very same places hoping to uplift, challenge and encourage your soul and deepen your faith.

The Heart Matters Gals

  • Julie

    Julie

    I’m turning 62 this year. I can hardly believe it myself. But, I’ve decided that I no longer want to live comfortably. I want to live with a spirit of adventure like I had in the past. To be unafraid of what’s new or different. I want to remain so open to the Spirit of the living God that his love compels me to go wherever he leads me.
  • LuAnn

    LuAnn

    I am passionate about people leaning into all that Jesus is. You. Me. Us. Journeying together with God. This is my greatest blessing. And now that my kiddos are out on their own, I’m learning to navigate my new normal. And I am finding there is life after little ones and teens after all!
  • Emilie

    Emilie

    I am currently finishing my degree in relational communications and plan to graduate in the spring of 2020!! I am thankful I have had time to grow, heal, appreciate a slower pace of living, and to invest more time into relationships with family, friends, and God. Through this process I am learning what I want to prioritize in my life and figuring out ways to make that happen. Most of all, I am figuring out that life is all about process, taking steps closer to where I want to be and celebrating the little victories but also accepting that there will be setbacks and disappointments along the way.
  • Sally

    Sally

    Sally Cranham is a singer and writer from the UK. She uses biblical narrative and her own experience to write deeply into the heart of the human condition. She currently works as a volunteer for SourceMN as their Arts Outreach Coordinator and has lived as a Residential Volunteer at Source’s anti-trafficking transitional annex alongside women who have come out of the life of prostitution.
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