Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Steadfast - Wednesday's Guest Blogger Angela Strong

Let's begin this week's Guest Blog with last week's winner. Congratulations Patti Iverson!

Saved by the Fireman will be on its way to you soon.

I love Wednesdays because I get to read incredible stories right here on my own blog. They are about love and loss and hope and joy. 

And this week Angela Ruth Strong is my guest. 

Angela Ruth Strong studied journalism at the University of Oregon and published her first book LOVE FINDS YOU IN SUN VALLEY, IDAHO in 2010. 

Her Fun4Hire series for ages 8-12 started with a short story titled THE WATER FIGHT PROFESSIONAL that has been printed over half a million times. You can find out more about her and her Twitter campaign to have a snowball fight with Jimmy Fallon on her website at

Angela has something special to share with us this week.

Hope for the Holidays

Today I prayed for lonely hearts. There are a lot of them out there. I know because I heard from three of them on facebook this morning alone … and because I used to be one of them.

I pray for them because I know how hard it is during the holidays. And because I know there is hope.

The trickiest part is living like you have hope when you don’t feel it. So here are the three tricks that helped me make it through my darkest days.

1.) Seek truth. For my husband it took years of living in confusion over his first wife’s growing distance before he finally prayed, “God, show me the truth.” Moments later he drove into a restaurant parking lot to find his wife in the arms of another man. I had a similar experience in my first marriage, and I also had a residue of lies I believed about myself after being abandoned. Lies about my worth. I’m still sensitive to the issue of being a “burden.” But if I hadn’t found truth, I would never have waited for a man who would treat me right and/or I wouldn’t have been able to accept his love. I once had a friend say to me, “Ang, my ex was a schmuck, and if I can’t keep him, how am I ever going to keep a good man?” The answer is that a good man wouldn’t have cheated on her. She has to believe she is worth a good man to have a healthy relationship. This requires finding value through counseling and prayer and reading the Word and connecting with godly mentors. This requires truth.

2.) Give thanks. One of my darkest moments was when my ex (husband at the time) forced me out of my home without eating the dinner I had made because he couldn’t stand to be around me. I had nowhere to go. And no money to buy myself something to eat because he’d taken my name off the bank account. I called a relative in tears. He said, “Don’t even pray for him, Angie. We’ve all got you both covered in prayer. You just give thanks.” Seemed like a crazy idea at the time, but I went to the Christian bookstore and put on some headphones and listened to worship music. Best advice I’ve ever gotten. It took my eyes off my problems and put them on Jesus. It’s that simple. If you focus on being alone, you’re going to feel lonely. If you focus on thanking Jesus for all he’s done for you, you’ll feel more loved and accepted than you’ve ever felt.

3.) Grant mercy. “Mercy triumphs over judgment every time.” We sang these words at church, and they revolutionized my life. Because I had judged big time. And you know what? My judgments were based on truth. They were biblical. They were right. But the outpouring of mercy I suddenly felt for the people who had hurt me the most made me feel alive again. I could let go of vengeance and fear the expectation I had for God to grant me justice. It didn’t matter anymore. For the first time ever, I could wish my enemies the best. And mean it. I seriously wanted mercy for them. I wanted them to feel as free as I felt right then. Because it was so powerful and beautiful and healing. It didn’t matter that I was alone anymore because I was so overflowing with love that I cared more about being there for others than having someone be there for me.

A year later I met the man of my dreams, though I thought it was too good to be true. I didn’t think I deserved it. He would say, “You are a gift from God,” but I couldn’t say it back. I was afraid God was going to take him away. Then one day on a jog I was thinking about this, and I got this scripture stuck in my head: “Every good and perfect gift is from God.” I went home and looked up all the verses that included the word “good.” The first one in the Bible was, “Taste and see that the Lord is good.” The last one was, “Now you have tasted and seen that the Lord is good.”
I bawled. I accepted God’s gift. I celebrated my 3rd wedding anniversary this year. And it’s been good.

To all who are lonely, I pray my story gives you hope. And more importantly, I pray that someday your story will give others hope. Because that’s a pretty good and perfect gift, too.

What a beautiful story, Angela. And wise words from one so young. Thank you for sharing.

Angela has a new book out and she's giving away one copy to a lucky winner. To have a chance to win a copy leave a comment and make sure to include your email address so I can contact you.

I've heard kids are loving this book!

I, Joey Michaels, am the Snowball Fight Professional. Basically this means that customers pay me to shoot snowballs at other people. I'll use the profits to buy Grandma a gift so impressive that she'll give me a puppy for Christmas. Unless, of course,  my cousin Winston has anything to do with it ...
Earning the Puppy wouldn't be so hard if I didn't have the following problems:
1) Winston stealing my employee.
2) Winston getting me in trouble every time I do something wrong.
3) Winstron blaming me for things I don't even do.

If I don't get the puppy ... ugh. Winston will get  him. And Christmas should be all about what I want, right?

The snowball Fight Professional is Book 2 in the Fun4Hire Series.

This sounds like a book my grandsons would enjoy. Hmm. I'm still shopping.  

I'll announce the winner of The Snowball Fight Professional next Wednesday.

Grace and peace to you from God,



  1. Beautiful words of encouragement Angela. They are truthful for any situation. The key is being grateful to God in all seasons. He keeps telling me this and reading this blog brought it home again. God always has our backs:) Can't wait to read your books! I'm getting hooked!

  2. Wonderful thoughts, Angela! Although I have never been through a situation like yours, we all have times when people hurt us. So the lessons of praising God and granting mercy still apply. And I have found them to work well, too!

  3. Angela, I love specifics and your very specific guidelines to help during times of trouble are right on.

    I think there are so many lonely people in this world. I've been there. And a lonely person only needs one other person to care about what becomes of them. We need to keep our hearts and minds open and reach out.

  4. Such a beautiful testimony to God's goodness and second chances. There are definitely lots of lonely and hurting people out there. The book looks like a fun book.