Beautiful Feet Publish Glad Tidings…

dirty-feetWhen God called me to write and publish for His Kingdom, He led me to Isaiah 52:7: “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!”

Tonight I lay in my bed with both feet propped up as I type away on my laptop. I’m writing my second book, this time my own testimony, and the experiencing spiritual and emotional backlash as I wade through the dark and rocky waters of my past. I looked down and saw my feet. They looked awful. Then I thought of my verse, Isaiah 52:7.

Six months ago, I looked down at my feet and thought they were beautiful. Truly, I have/had slender and nicely formed feet when they aren’t broken and swollen. Today I think I have ugly feet.

I broke the bone in my right ankle a few months ago and I’m still having some problems. Then as I wrote this draft (now a couple of weeks ago) I received a series of about 18 bites from mosquitoes and yellow flies which caused Cellulitis in my left foot. When I woke up today, my left foot was as swollen as my right foot was a few weeks after I broke it. At the time of the draft of this blog, I was on two different medications for my left foot, and going to a new doctor tomorrow for my right ankle.

I reconsidered my verse. “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet…” They didn’t have hiking boots back in the Old Testament when Isaiah wrote about the beautiful feet. Imagine climbing a mountain without today’s luxuries to help out. At worst, their feet would be swollen, scratched, and blistered from climbing a mountain. At best, they would stink, be covered in dirt, and possibly be wrapped in animal hide of some type. 

Feet aren’t naturally beautiful after mountain climbing. I haven’t been mountain climbing in the natural, but in the spirit and in my own emotion, I’ve had to climb many mountains over these past few months, and I’m still climbing mountains now. I feel like Much Afraid in the classic Hind Feet in High Places; her companions Sorrow and Suffering grip my hands as we travel up the Mountain to be with The Great Shepherd.

It seems as if my natural feet are manifesting the beauty of my spiritual and emotional mountain climbing. I feel nowhere near the top as I strive through the calling God has placed on my life. The last thing I want to think about are my feet, where they’ve been and what has happened to them. Because having beautiful feet isn’t what climbing the mountain is all about.

Beautiful feet? I’m climbing the mountains of my past to bring a message of hope and salvation to others who are going through what I went through. I’m climbing the mountain of publishing to bring a message of Christ’s love to the world. I’m climbing the mountain to tell the world MY GOD REIGNS.

Rachael Hartman

Rachael Hartman is a Christian author and publisher. She has worked as a full-time newspaper reporter, and as a freelance contributor to magazines. She writes high school Sunday school material for Word Aflame Press creating lessons for Project 7 (P7) student-led Bible Clubs, and Link247. She enjoys health and exercise, reading, art, and playing with her two dogs Darla and Danny. She owns Our Written Lives of Hope bookstore & publishing services. Check out her web site at www.owlofhope.com and link to her on Facebook.

Praying Through

Family-PrayingHands

Sometimes I feel like I’m the only person who experiences all of the crazy emotions of life. Sometimes it seems that everyone else has a handle on controlling their emotions. Our culture tends to deal with emotions behind closed doors, giving the impression that others don’t go through what we go through emotionally. breathepray

Some people use behaviors to cope with their emotions: overeating, under-eating, exercise, partying, sex, drugs, alcohol, and much more. All of these behaviors have mood-altering effects. Each serves as a way a person can feel like they are in control (under-eating, exercise), or express they are out of control in their emotions.

1Lent 5But there’s one way we can use our emotional energy that actually makes a difference in our lives and circumstances: prayer. Prayer is more than emotion; it’s an act of faith that involves mind, body and spirit. Prayer connects us to God and builds a relationship that lasts beyond the hard times. And it’s a healthy way to express our emotions and cope with overwhelming feelings.

In church we often hear the term pray through used in the context of “praying through to the spirit,” or praying until we experience an emotional connection with God and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

2I’ve been through some times in my life where I found myself in a mess. During those times, I turned to God and I cried a lot of tears. My situation didn’t always change, but I was able to pray through it and become a better person on the other side of the trial. Prayer also served as an emotional release that helped me make it through my trial without turning to destructive behavior I would later regret.

I encourage you to start praying through today! Even if you’re not going through a trial or in need of a way to cope, start building your relationship with God today. He will be there with you through it all!20140112-142715

Rachael Hartman

Rachael Hartman is a Christian author and publisher. She has worked as a full-time newspaper reporter, and as a freelance contributor to magazines. She writes high school Sunday school material for Word Aflame Press creating lessons for Project 7 (P7) student-led Bible Clubs, and Link247. She enjoys health and exercise, reading, art, and playing with her two dogs Darla and Danny. She owns Our Written Lives of Hope bookstore & publishing services. Check out her web site at www.owlofhope.com and link to her on Facebook.

The Game of Life

I’m the batter up and Dad’s on third base. I can hit it hard and send the ball flying, but what if I miss? Is it worth me making it to first base if Dad get’s put out of the game? If he get’s put out that’s the end of the game and our team doesn’t make the score.

I’ll bunt. I’ll bunt and let Dad run home. I won’t make a homerun, but we’ll win the game once his feet hit home plate. It’s a team effort. If we are going to win the game, I have to consider Dad.

In our fast paced world, we often don’t have time to wait on Dad or Prince Charming to step up to the plate. We are on an accomplishment roll and we don’t want to wait for a man to pay attention or catch up. If we wait for him, he may never come, and our deepest fear of being forgotten may become reality. We can’t give him the chance to forget us—it’s too painful—so we go on with our lives and don’t include the man waiting on the sidelines.

What we too often forget is that family is teamwork. Dad can’t be a dad unless I let him be. If I refuse to listen, what’s the point in him saying anything? If I don’t give him a chance to love me, then why should he try?

We need men to actively participate in our lives—as fathers, brothers, friends, and lovers. And they need us too. Men need to have a voice in our lives, to have an opinion, to matter, to provide, to protect us. Men need to have a purpose in our lives.

It’s our job to give them place to be the man God has called them to be. We have to make room for the man in our lives. We have to validate his role in our life, or he will drop out of the game.

This Father’s Day, consider your Dad, your husband and your brother. What better gift can you give to the men in your life than to allow them to be men? Respected, honored and purposed… Strong or weak, rich or poor, sensitive or not… Is there a place for him on your team?

Happy Father’s Day.

Rachael Hartman

Rachael Hartman is a Christian author and publisher. She has worked as a full-time newspaper reporter, and as a freelance contributor to magazines. She writes high school Sunday school material for Word Aflame Press creating lessons for Project 7 (P7) student-led Bible Clubs, and Link247. She enjoys health and exercise, reading, art, and playing with her two dogs Darla and Danny. She owns Our Written Lives of Hope bookstore & publishing services. Check out her web site at www.owlofhope.com and link to her on Facebook.

 

Where feet failed… Grace prevailed

Oceans-0My sister and I went to the beach about thirty minutes from my house last week. It was during the day when most people were at work and we had a nice stretch of the beach without anyone else there.

Oceans-1Swimming in the ocean has always frightened me. I don’t like the idea of wading into the murky waters not knowing what may be swimming in that water with me. I haven’t ventured out into the water since I was a kid, but the water felt so warm on my feet I couldn’t help myself.

I began to wade into the water. I didn’t want to go too far, so I knelt on my knees and the water came up to just below my shoulders. The waves came and I rolled gently toward the shore with them.

The further out I went, the more I was able to swim with the wave toward the shore. It was the closest thing to surfing I’ve ever done! Ha!

Oceans-2As each wave brought me closer to the shore, there wasn’t enough depth to swim in. When I was too close to the shore, the waves would crash against me harder and push me onto my knees into the rough sand. The waves pushed me and I hit the sand and slid so hard I skinned my knees.

The next day, I couldn’t stop thinking of the song “Oceans—Where Feet May Fail,” made popular by Hillsong United and Jesus Culture. The song began to take on a whole new meaning in my life.

Oceans-3I started thinking about how the ocean waves crashed me to my knees. My feet weren’t strong enough to keep me standing out in the power of that water. But when I was out further and my eyes were watching the waves, I could swim with them and rest in the rolling water.

Oceans-4I have to be honest and say there are only a few times in my life where I really stepped out and took a leap of

faith to trust that God could carry me through, no matter what happened. This past month has been one of those times. I had to depend on God because I was out in an ocean that was too big for me and I was powerless against it.

Oceans1When I considered my circumstance, I felt I was going to drown and loose everything I had invested in. When I put my eyes on God, He steadied my heart and gave me the grace to trust in Him. It is in this ocean, where my feet failed, that my faith in God was made stronger—and I know now more than ever before that I am His and He is mine.

Rachael Hartman

Rachael Hartman is a Christian author and publisher. She has worked as a full-time newspaper reporter, and as a freelance contributor to magazines. She writes high school Sunday school material for Word Aflame Press creating lessons for Project 7 (P7) student-led Bible Clubs, and Link247. She enjoys health and exercise, reading, art, and playing with her two dogs Darla and Danny. She owns Our Written Lives of Hope bookstore & publishing services. Check out her web site at www.owlofhope.com and link to her on Facebook.

Stop the spam already!

 

Stop the spam already!

SPAM… unwanted junk email. I thought it might be an acronym for something techie, so I Googled it. It’s not an acronym.

The canned “meat” SPAM was invented during the Great Depression when meat was too expensive for every day. The “meat” SPAM is an acronym. Some say it comes from SPiced hAM. Others say it’s based on ingredients: Shoulder of Pork And Ham (basically the unwanted parts).

 

Regardless, e-mail spam is not an acronym and it’s also not canned meat, though much of it is canned (in the informal derogatory way of prerecorded music, laughter, or applause, considered to be lacking in freshness and spontaneity).

The word for junk email “spam” was coined based on early geek culture (yes, geek—not Greek) that was centered on movies such as Monty Python, Star Trek and Lord of the Rings. In particular, the name for e-mail spam was inspired by a Monty Python skit (watch it HERE) in which the characters go to a diner for breakfast and find everything on the menu is uses SPAM (the “meat”) as a main ingredient, which infuriates one of the customers who hates SPAM.email-spam

And thus spam e-mail has invaded our lives and inboxes. The unwanted, annoying, canned e-mail that is grasping for our attention but never receives it.

Have you ever felt like spam? I have. It’s a dreadful feeling and it’s based on a lie from hell that tries to convince us no one loves us.

1 John 3:1 See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him.

Not everyone will understand you or accept you. Not everyone will take the time to get to know you. Not everyone will like your personality. you-are-not-spam

But someone will. Just keep walking and being you, one day you’ll find people who do get you, understand and accept you.

It starts with you, right here right now, accepting yourself for who you are with all of your glorious talents and abilities and all of your mistakes and imperfections. Be you. God loves you; He made you.

You are not spam. You have a purpose and calling from God. Love Him, worship Him and put your trust in Him.

 

 

Rachael Hartman is a Christian author and publisher. She has worked as a full-time newspaper reporter, and as a freelance contributor to magazines. She writes high school Sunday school material for Word Aflame Press creating lessons for Project 7 (P7) student-led Bible Clubs, and Link247. She enjoys health and exercise, reading, art, and playing with her two dogs Darla and Danny. She owns Our Written Lives of Hope bookstore & publishing services. Check out her web site at www.owlofhope.com and link to her on Facebook.

Help yourself by helping others…

I’ve always been a helper. I get a lot of fulfillment out of helping others, teaching something new, helping others reach their goals or find an answer to their problems. Last week I was helping a client with social media marketing and I learned a few new things about WordPress through some of the questions she asked.

I liked the theme she selected, and I decided to try it out on my blog. I also decided to expand my WordPress blog to act more like my website. I still have www.owlofhope.com, but now all of the information is here as well.

Let me know what you think!

Overwhelmed

overwhelmed1When I was six years old my family moved to Fort Sheridan, Illinois. Our military housing was a mile or so from Lake Michigan, and that part of Lake Michigan was lined with gigantic boulders. I remember climbing on the rocks and taking pictures with my family.

I always feel the presence of God when I’m out in nature, particularly when I’m looking at something God made that is much, much bigger than me. A mountain. The ocean. A forest. These works of beauty overwhelm me and I can only stand there and look at them in awe of God and His power.Overwhelmed

I opened my email this morning and read a message from a friend, Lauren—The Joyful Momma. She wrote about an experience with God she had at church on Sunday. They were singing a song called Overwhelmed (by Big Daddy Weave) and as she stood with her hands raised in worship God whispered to her heart, “Nothing should overwhelm you more than My presence.”

Too often I’m overwhelmed by my emotions—disappointment, frustration, anger, fatigue. I’m overwhelmed by the massive amount of work I need to finish by deadline. I’m overwhelmed that my personal life and finances aren’t anywhere near what I think they “should” be. I’m overwhelmed by so many cares of life.

But really, nothing should overwhelm me more than God’s presence.

Overwhelmed4

I close my eyes and remember times with God where I was so overwhelmed I was literally knocked off of my feet. I remember times in prayer where I received an illuminating understanding of a Biblical principal that I just couldn’t understand before. I remember worshipping God with all of my being and receiving the soul-healing touch only He can give.

And once again, I’m overwhelmed—by God, His greatness, His love, His mercy, His grace.

“From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” Psalm 61:2 (KJV)

Rachael HartmanRachael Hartman is an experienced writer and author. She has worked as a full-time newspaper reporter, and as a freelance contributor to magazines. She writes high school Sunday school material for Word Aflame Press as well as lessons for Project 7 (P7) student-led Bible Clubs, Link247. She enjoys health and exercise, reading, art, and playing with her two dogs Darla and Danny. She owns Our Written Lives of Hope bookstore & publishing services. Check out her web site at www.owlofhope.com and link to her on Facebook.

God meant it for good…

Today I met with a woman named Nancy whose four month old daughter died. It happened several years ago, but the pain is still there. This woman inspires me so much because she’s using her pain to help others. She’s starting a non-profit organization to provide financial support to displaced parents with a critically ill child.

To help raise money, she’s compiling a book of stories to bring hope and encouragement. She’s looking for stories from parents who’ve lost a child, and who have experienced supernatural comfort that assures them their child is in Heaven.

If you have a story you’d like to share as a part of this project, please contact me and I will put you in touch with Nancy. You can email me at rachael.k.hartman@owlofhope.com

Genesis 50:20 (KJV), “But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.”

Difficult things happen life. I wish I could change that. There’s hope in knowing that one day, in Heaven, there will be no more sorrow or tears. God will wipe all the sadness away. Revelation 21:4.

We will all experience heartbreak, heartache, grief, sadness and disappointment. It’s not easy. It’s painful. But it’s not the end. The question is, what will we do with it? We can use our pain to bring good into the world.

Rachael HartmanRachael Hartman is an experienced writer and author. She has worked as a full-time newspaper reporter, and as a freelance contributor to magazines. She writes high school Sunday school material for Word Aflame Press as well as lessons for Project 7 (P7) student-led Bible Clubs, Link247. She enjoys health and exercise, reading, art, and playing with her two dogs Darla and Danny. She owns Our Written Lives of Hope bookstore & publishing services. Check out her web site at www.owlofhope.com and link to her on Facebook.