Uncategorized

Join the Freedom Challenge –– and Have the Opportunity to Win Great Stuff

Wholly Loved Ministries proclaims freedom in Christ and inspires freed women to proclaim freedom. This is why we’re here. This is our driving mission and the reason we do all that we do. We get super charged to hear stories of women stepping deeper into freedom. Finding healing from past hurts, confidence and a deep sense of God’s acceptance in place of shame, courage in areas we used to cower in fear, restoration in relationships once seemingly irreparably broken …

Christ died to set us free. Think about that for a moment. That is how important our freedom is to Him.

Do we place the same value on that which Christ gave His life for? Before we answer that, we have to consider what we give our energy and time to: Those things that lead to slavery or freedom? Click To Tweet

I get it. It’s hard. Those negative, enslaving thoughts feel so insurmountable. But here’s the truth: They aren’t. In Christ we’ve been given everything––everything!––we need to live out the full, abundant, over-flowing, freed and eternally significant life Christ died to give us. What’s more, if we belong to Christ and have trusted in Him for salvation, Scripture says resurrection power resides within us. The same power that brought life to a corpse left in a tomb for three days, no pulse, no breath, no blood coursing through veins, lives and moves within us, giving us the power to live as God desires. Click To Tweet

And what does God desire? That we live in freedom. This message, this truth, saturates Scripture.

This is the gospel.

We proclaim freedom in Christ, because He’s the only one with the power to set us free. He alone broke the power of sin and death and is, at this moment, reconciling the world to Himself and advancing His kingdom reign. His kingdom reign in the world, in our neighborhood, our relationships, and our lives.

Which begs another question: Are we giving Christ and His truth and presence full reign within us? Click To Tweet

A perhaps confusing thought, but simply put, the deeper we step into grace and the closer we grow to Christ, the more He reigns in us and our lives, and the more He reigns, the greater our freedom.

A life marked by Christ's reign is necessarily a life of impact. Click To Tweet

Freed women proclaim freedom. It wells within us and overflows, splashing liberty and love on everyone we encounter.

And so, again, that’s our mission. To help you experience deeper freedom and to proclaim freedom. To find your place in God’s redemptive, liberating story.

Let’s celebrate Christ and the freedom He gives. Join our freedom challenge, knowing God will use your story, your proclamation, however big or small, long or short, eloquent or simple, to point others to the grace that brings unparalleled, unshakable, unconquerable freedom. Plus, you’ll be entered into a free drawing to win a lot of great stuff, listed below.

There’s numerous ways to enter.

(For each entry option, entrants must use #whollylovedfreedomchallenge. This will enable us to keep track of all entries.)

Receive five drawing entries whenever you share a picture on social media depicting what freedom means to you and tag Wholly Loved ministries. (To tag us, simply add the @ before our name. Ex: @whollyloved.)

Receive ten drawing entries when you share a video on social media stating or demonstrating what freedom means to you and tagging Wholly Loved Ministries.

Receive five drawing entries whenever you share this blog post link on social media.

Receive five drawing entries whenever you share our freedom challenge video on social media or your personal blog or website.

Receive an additional ten drawing entries whenever you do any of the above and challenge a friend to join the challenge.

Authors and ministry or small business owners, contact us HERE to donate an item to our freedom campaign.)

No one prepared us for this? Yet, here we are, struggling to navigate the parent/child role reversal. “30 Days of Hope for Parenting Your Parents” combines Scripture, biblical insight, personal experience, reflection questions, and prayer prompts to provide spiritual and practical encouragement to those caring for aging or ill parents.
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Cover for Anchored and Secure devotionalAnchored and Secure by Wholly Loved Ministries:

Thanks to Christ’s death and resurrection, we don’t have to stress, strive, or perform. We simply need to rest in what Christ has already done. That is when we begin to come; to live as He intended. That’s when we discover true and lasting freedom.

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Before His Throne cover imageBefore His Throne: Discovering the Wonder of Intimacy with a Holy God
Do you long for God to find delight in you? God delights in the person who fears Him (Ps 147:11). “Before His Throne” leads you on a 9-week journey through the book of Malachi to discover what godly fear looks in our daily lives and how this biblical attitude will help you find deeper intimacy with God. (Free teaching videos and listening guides available at: https://www.kathyhoward.org/books/before-his-throne-intimacy-holy-god/)
Buy the book HERE.
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Building His Family Cover imageBuilding a Family by Jennifer Slattery:

Creating a circle of love together…

Can love for two little matchmakers

unite their reluctant hearts?

Worried that Noah Williams is still the reckless bull rider she remembers, Kayla Fisher is convinced he isn’t the right person to care for their orphaned niece and nephew. Now she’s back home, determined to fight for custody. But Noah is a changed man, and he intends to prove it. When Noah and Kayla start falling for each other, could raising the children together be the perfect solution?

Buy the book HERE.

Cover image for Bible study devotionalDrawing Near: 90 Daily Devotions by Wholly Loved Ministries:

Christ created us to live in freedom and to base our self-worth not on other people’s opinions but instead, on His. To give Him the final say and to filter every struggle, setback, hurt, celebration, and disappointment, through His lens of love and grace.When we allow God’s love to soak into our deepest, darkest, most wounded and fearful places, we learn to rest in who are in Christ; to live wholly loved.That’s where true and abundant life begins—in Him. The closer we grow to Christ, the more time we spend with Him and reading His Word, the Bible, the more we come alive.This 30 day devotional helps women deepen their relationship with Christ and their understanding of His love and grace so they can find themselves, afresh, in Him.

 

This 12-week devotional book guides women to discover, understand, and apply the “ever-present help in trouble” that only God can give.
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Take an amazing 12-week journey through the Bible to find God’s answers to your questions about life, faith, and eternity.
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Are you embracing the abundant, grace-filled life God offers? Or have you underestimated His lavish grace? God’s lavish grace is more than sufficient for any day and every day of your life. Find out more in this 9-week Bible study journey with the apostle Paul.
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What if I told you God cares more about you than your performance?

Let the ordinary people from Hebrews 11 inspire your faith and show you how to live strong and finish well.

“I highly recommend Little Faith, Big God …” –Josh McDowell, Christian apologist and best-selling author of Evidence That Demands a Verdict

God designed spiritual growth to be an ongoing journey of trust. By exploring the examples of biblical men and women who failed, got up again, finished well, and were commended by God, Little Faith, Big God will inspire you to persevere in your faith. Present-day stories and guiding questions invite personal reflection, application, and discussion. Little Faith, Big God will equip you to trade your self-made superhero cape for a dynamic, grace-filled relationship with our big God.

Visit author Debbie Wilson’s website HERE to find out more and check out the book trailer HERE.

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Cover Image for Where Dandelions Bloom by Tara JohnsonWhere Dandelions Bloom by Tara Johnson:

Cassie Kendrick is on the run. Her abusive father arranged her marriage to a despicable man, but she’s discovered an escape. Disguised as a man, Cassie enlists in the Union army, taking the name Thomas Turner. On the battlefields of the Civil War, keeping her identity a secret is only the beginning of her problems, especially after she meets Gabriel Avery, a handsome young photographer.

Anxious to make his mark on the world and to erase the darkness and guilt lurking from his past, Gabriel works with renowned photographer Matthew Brady to capture images from the front lines of the war. As Gabriel forges friendships with many of the men he encounters, he wonders what the courageous, unpredictable Thomas Turner is hiding.

Battling betrayal, their own personal demons, and a country torn apart by war, can Cassie and Gabriel learn to forgive themselves and trust their futures to the God who births hope and healing in the darkest places?

 

Handcrafted wall-hanging and dolphin figurine crafted by Stephen Slattery

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rainy Day, an original painting by Ashley Slattery

 

 

Uncategorized

Freedom Campaign Contributors

This May, join our Proclaim Freedom challenge! Shoot a quick clip or picture sharing what freedom in Christ means to you and share it on social media using @whollyloved and #whollylovedfreedomcampaign2020 to get entered into a drawing to win these great books (displayed alphabetically) by the following authors!

(Authors and ministry or small business owners, contact us HERE to donate an item to our freedom campaign.)

No one prepared us for this? Yet, here we are, struggling to navigate the parent/child role reversal. “30 Days of Hope for Parenting Your Parents” combines Scripture, biblical insight, personal experience, reflection questions, and prayer prompts to provide spiritual and practical encouragement to those caring for aging or ill parents.
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*
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Cover for Anchored and Secure devotionalAnchored and Secure by Wholly Loved Ministries:

Thanks to Christ’s death and resurrection, we don’t have to stress, strive, or perform. We simply need to rest in what Christ has already done. That is when we begin to come; to live as He intended. That’s when we discover true and lasting freedom.

*

 

Before His Throne cover imageBefore His Throne: Discovering the Wonder of Intimacy with a Holy God
Do you long for God to find delight in you? God delights in the person who fears Him (Ps 147:11). “Before His Throne” leads you on a 9-week journey through the book of Malachi to discover what godly fear looks in our daily lives and how this biblical attitude will help you find deeper intimacy with God. (Free teaching videos and listening guides available at: https://www.kathyhoward.org/books/before-his-throne-intimacy-holy-god/
Buy the book HERE.
*

Building His Family Cover imageBuilding a Family by Jennifer Slattery:

Creating a circle of love together…

Can love for two little matchmakers

unite their reluctant hearts?

Worried that Noah Williams is still the reckless bull rider she remembers, Kayla Fisher is convinced he isn’t the right person to care for their orphaned niece and nephew. Now she’s back home, determined to fight for custody. But Noah is a changed man, and he intends to prove it. When Noah and Kayla start falling for each other, could raising the children together be the perfect solution?

Buy the book HERE.

Cover image for Bible study devotionalDrawing Near: 90 Daily Devotions by Wholly Loved Ministries:

Christ created us to live in freedom and to base our self-worth not on other people’s opinions but instead, on His. To give Him the final say and to filter every struggle, setback, hurt, celebration, and disappointment, through His lens of love and grace.When we allow God’s love to soak into our deepest, darkest, most wounded and fearful places, we learn to rest in who are in Christ; to live wholly loved.That’s where true and abundant life begins—in Him. The closer we grow to Christ, the more time we spend with Him and reading His Word, the Bible, the more we come alive.This 30 day devotional helps women deepen their relationship with Christ and their understanding of His love and grace so they can find themselves, afresh, in Him.

 

This 12-week devotional book guides women to discover, understand, and apply the “ever-present help in trouble” that only God can give.
*
*
*
*
*
Take an amazing 12-week journey through the Bible to find God’s answers to your questions about life, faith, and eternity.
*
*
*
*
*
 
Are you embracing the abundant, grace-filled life God offers? Or have you underestimated His lavish grace? God’s lavish grace is more than sufficient for any day and every day of your life. Find out more in this 9-week Bible study journey with the apostle Paul.
*
*
*
What if I told you God cares more about you than your performance?

Let the ordinary people from Hebrews 11 inspire your faith and show you how to live strong and finish well.

“I highly recommend Little Faith, Big God …” –Josh McDowell, Christian apologist and best-selling author of Evidence That Demands a Verdict

God designed spiritual growth to be an ongoing journey of trust. By exploring the examples of biblical men and women who failed, got up again, finished well, and were commended by God, Little Faith, Big God will inspire you to persevere in your faith. Present-day stories and guiding questions invite personal reflection, application, and discussion. Little Faith, Big God will equip you to trade your self-made superhero cape for a dynamic, grace-filled relationship with our big God.

Visit author Debbie Wilson’s website HERE to find out more and check out the book trailer HERE.

Cover Image for Where Dandelions Bloom by Tara JohnsonWhere Dandelions Bloom by Tara Johnson:

Cassie Kendrick is on the run. Her abusive father arranged her marriage to a despicable man, but she’s discovered an escape. Disguised as a man, Cassie enlists in the Union army, taking the name Thomas Turner. On the battlefields of the Civil War, keeping her identity a secret is only the beginning of her problems, especially after she meets Gabriel Avery, a handsome young photographer.

Anxious to make his mark on the world and to erase the darkness and guilt lurking from his past, Gabriel works with renowned photographer Matthew Brady to capture images from the front lines of the war. As Gabriel forges friendships with many of the men he encounters, he wonders what the courageous, unpredictable Thomas Turner is hiding.

Battling betrayal, their own personal demons, and a country torn apart by war, can Cassie and Gabriel learn to forgive themselves and trust their futures to the God who births hope and healing in the darkest places?

 

Handcrafted wall-hanging and dolphin figurine crafted by Stephen Slattery

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rainy Day, an original painting by Ashley Slattery

Living loved, Uncategorized

When We Can’t Feel God’s Love

Quote pulled the post

For a long time, my view of God and His love was skewed. If you’d asked, I probably would’ve provided an accurate description. I would’ve talked about how merciful and gentle He was, how faithful He was to remain beside us, and how He’d stop at nothing, even His own death, to draw us close.

But I lived as if He placed conditions on His affection, as if He somehow loved me more when I behaved or served Him in a certain way but grew weary of me when I messed up.

One year, a friend invited me to a women’s retreat, my first ever. I was crazy-nervous about going. It hadn’t been all that long since my oh-so-glamorous homeless period, and I was lugging around a heavy load of shame and self-loathing. In short, I felt I didn’t belong.

I didn’t want to go. The whole event felt far too intimate for a gal who plotted ways to remain in hiding. But I sensed God wanted to do something amazing and miraculous. So I packed my bags and headed to a monastery in Santa Barbara, where our retreat was held.

The first night, our leader read the account of the Samaritan woman, and Jesus invitation to her gripped me. “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked Him and He would have given you living water” (John 4:10). He was inviting her to receive salvation, yes, but His invitation involved so much more than that. He was drawing her into an intimate, completely authentic, relationship with Himself.

The next morning, I went for a long run, processing everything from the night before. I, too, wanted to be filled, but I felt so empty, and I couldn’t understand why. I belonged to Jesus and had trusted Him for my eternal salvation. So why wasn’t my heart like a bubbling spring that welled up with eternal life?

After my run, still needing time alone, I walked the monastery grounds, hoping to hear from God.

Nothing. No words of assurance from heaven or comforting whispers to my wounded heart. Frustrated, I cried out, “Why won’t You love me?!”

His response, though not audible, came swift and clear: “You won’t let Me.”

That stunned and confused me, and I spent the next six months or so prayerfully trying to figure out what God meant. He showed me that my disconnect came not from Him but from within me. My failure to grasp the depths of His love, my continual expectation of rejection, and past wounds that left me closed in and fearful, hindered my ability to fully experience Him. I was approaching Him through a lens of hurt instead of one of grace and truth.

I realized I needed to learn how to give and receive love, and so I asked Him to teach me. Over the next ten years or so, that’s precisely what He did. He slowly but steadily healed my heart, removed my distrust, and replaced all the lies I’d melded with truth.

Truth like:

God is love (1 John 4:8), and His love is eternal (Psalm 136:1b). It doesn’t increase when I return it or God's love is constant on an image with a heart locketdecrease when I push Him away. Nothing, not “death or life or angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation” (Romans 8:38-39) can separate me from His love. He loved me when I was at my worst (Romans 5:8) and will love me when I’m at my best. His love isn’t dependent on my actions nor how I feel, and He has no favorites (Romans 2:11).

That means He loves me, and you, as much as He loved the apostle Paul, who planted numerous churches and wrote a chunk of the New Testament. He loves me, and you, as much as He loves all the saints who’ve given their life for Him and the gospel. He loves me, and you, as much, and no more, than the alcoholic on the street corner and the sweet Sunday school teacher who’s never had a drop of wine.

Because His love doesn’t depend on us. The next time you’re struggling to rest in God’s love, hit pause. Ask Him to show you the cause of your disconnect and the lies you’ve embraced. Ask Him to help you replace them with truth. Ask Him to remind you of His truth again and again until it permeates your every thought, until His truth speaks louder than your deception.

Let’s talk about this! Do you ever struggle to rest in God’s love, and if so, why do you think that is? Have you ever asked God to show you the root cause behind your disconnect? What are some Scripture passages that can help, the next time you feel discarded, rejected, or perhaps unworthy of God’s affection? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below, and make sure to connect with us on Instagram and Facebook.

Before you go, I have fun news. We’ve released their next Bible reading plan, 20 Days of Relational Health! You can find it HERE.

Our hearts crave deep, lasting connections–to know we are loved and belong. This Bible reading plan will help you Image for Wholly Loved's Relational Health Bible Reading Plangrow in your relationships as you learn to love others well, speak and live in truth, and set the healthy boundaries that will allow your relationships to thrive.

Faith, fear, God's Will, Hardships and Trials, obedience, Uncategorized

Training for Our Heavenly Race

By Jessica Brodie

“…let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.” Hebrews 12:1-2 ESV

It was harder than I imagined. There I was on the side of the lake, face beet-red and lungs about to explode, not to mention sweat dripping off every inch of my frame. I’d convinced myself I could jog the length of the dam, only my body was far more accustomed to race-walking and circuit training than a nonstop pounding run.

“How do people do this?” I asked my sister breathlessly.

“You just have to train,” she replied. “Few people can just lace up and run a 5K out of nowhere. You have to build up, little by little.”

I followed her advice. Every day, I’d start by walking, then I’d run—first just a few minutes before shifting back to a fast walk, then increasing my run time. Soon I was doing far more running than walking. By the morning of the 5K, I’d trained enough. I completed the 3.10686 miles out of breath but victorious. I’d persevered! I’d run the race! And now I could celebrate.

In our earthly lives, we know perseverance—resolve, tenacity, determination—pays off, and not just when it comes to running. We persevere in studying hard for our final exams so we can achieve good grades. Through difficulties in our jobs so we can remain employed and advance our careers. Through troubles in our relationships, fighting for a healthy family.

And when it comes to our spiritual lives, perseverance is critical.

When it comes to our spiritual lives, #perseverance is critical. Click To Tweet

When we believe in Jesus and repent of our sins, we receive eternal salvation. But sometimes our faith is sorely tested. We face trials and temptations. We pray for health, only to receive a scary diagnosis. We hope for relief, only to experience the devastation of a hurricane. We love others well, and get rejected. Sometimes it seems easier to give up than keep the faith.

Sometimes our #faith is sorely tested. Sometimes it seems easier to give up than keep the faith. That’s when we need to hold fast and press on. #holdon #jesus Click To Tweet

But Scripture tells us to hold fast and press on. In the Book of Hebrews, the author reminds us that we are to model ourselves after Jesus, the “pioneer and perfecter of faith,” who ran the race with perseverance. “For the joy set before Him (Jesus) endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart” (Hebrews 12:2-3 ESV).

Jesus encountered much difficulty during His life on earth, even more than us. He was questioned, mocked, challenged, beaten, tortured, and ultimately hung on a cross by the very people He had hoped to save. But He kept His eyes on God and did God’s will. He persevered because the future goodness outweighed the present suffering. He taught and healed, and He died for us so that we, too, may be saved for eternal life.

#Jesus encountered much #difficulty during His life on earth, even more than us. He was questioned, mocked, challenged, beaten, tortured, and ultimately hung on a #cross by the very people He had hoped to save. But He kept His eyes… Click To Tweet

When we set our sights on God despite opposition, we will follow Jesus and be victorious in our trials. How do we do that? We train ourselves to pray, to focus on God’s Word the Bible, to follow Him, to put Him first, and to love others as we love ourselves.

When we set our sights on God despite #opposition, we will follow #Jesus and be #victorious in our trials. Click To Tweet

Sometimes the race gets hard. Our course might take us uphill over rocky terrain. We might slip or want to give up. But when we cling to our faith and push aside any stumbling blocks, when we keep our eyes on the prize (eternal life in heaven!), our perseverance will pay off.

Our course might take us uphill over rocky terrain. We might slip or want to give up. But when we cling to our #faith and push aside any stumbling blocks, our #perseverance will pay off. #nevergiveup Click To Tweet

What is holding you down? What hardship seems too big to overcome? Little by little, lace up your sneakers by turning your heart toward God and make Him a priority. Build up your muscles and lungs by reading God’s Word. With Jesus, you will persevere and run the race.

Jessica Brodie is an award-winning Christian author, journalist, editor, and writing coach with a faith blog, Shining the Light, at JessicaBrodie.com.

Faith, obedience, Uncategorized

Do I Trust Myself More Than God?

Do I Trust Myself More than God

Sometimes I put trust in dangerous places.

One day, my husband informed me he wanted to return to the Navy. I’d talked him out of this decision before and felt certain I could again. After all, he was pursuing his college degree, and going back into the military meant saying goodbye to nearly half our income and a comfortable civilian life. Nothing about it made sense, and I told him so.

But then God captured my attention. Has God ever grabbed yours?

When I relayed the situation to our pastor’s wife, she asked if I had prayed about it. Her words—more likely God speaking through her—shook me. I hadn’t. I trusted myself and my logic more than God.

However, seemingly obvious answers aren’t always fueled by God Almighty.

His ways are higher than ours, according to Isaiah 55:8-9. Wisdom finds us seeking our Father’s counsel.

Wisdom finds us seeking our Father's counsel. ~ @Kristi_Woods Click To Tweet

After that divinely-led conversation, I went home and prayed. My strong-willed, rational self intentionally transferred trust to God in that moment. I asked the Lord to show me if He was behind Tony’s decision and to make His will undoubtedly clear.

God responded to that prayer within days.

The answer? Navy.

Day after day, those four letters grabbed my attention from their mount on buildings, signs, and vehicles. It was the wildest thing. Everywhere I turned, “navy” found me.

Soon after, Tony rejoined the Navy. In fact, he made a career of it, retiring in 2013. The Lord showed us much and crossed our paths with many wonderful people during those years. We wouldn’t exchange the journey for anything. God knew best after all!

Relying on ourselves, logical thinking, or statistics looks good on the outside, and trust set there often makes sense at first glance. But God’s ways are higher than ours. He woos and encourages us to rely on Him—the Maker of heaven and earth.

God's ways are higher than ours. ~ @Kristi_Woods Click To Tweet

Proverbs 3:5-6 challenges us to trust in the Lord versus our own understanding. The Bible prompts us to acknowledge God, knowing He—not man—will make our paths straight.

Proverbs 3:5-6 challenges us to trust in the Lord versus our own understanding. ~ @Kristi_Woods Click To Tweet

When we find ourselves placing confidence in ourselves or others, why not turn to our Father instead? What situations are you facing today that’d be safer set in prayer, relying on God versus man?

Let’s talk about this! Share your thoughts and stories in the comments below, and join our discussion in our Facebook group!
Our online community is a safe place where women can share their struggles, insights, and celebrations. This is a “closed” group where only members can see posts shared, and it’s also a place where confidentiality is practiced. We share prayer requests, hurts and insecurities, and ways God is meeting us in our struggles each day. And you’re invited to heal and grow and learn with us!

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