Thank you to Shanna Groves of for nominating Glory and Strength for the One Lovely Blog Award. 

There are five guidelines for accepting this award:
1. Link back to the blogger who nominated you.
2. Paste the award image on your blog, anywhere.
3. Tell them seven facts about yourself.
4. Nominate 15 other bloggers for this award.
5. Contact the bloggers that you have chosen to let them know that they have been nominated.

Seven facts about myself:
1. I started Glory and Strength in 2009 out of my desire to help other mothers deal with the trauma of sexual abuse against their daughters.
2. My passion is to encourage and coach others toward victorious, godly living.
3. I have three wonderful children and two adorable grandchildren.
4. I served 3.5 years in the Marine Corps, and 3 years in the Air Force Reserve. 
5. I'm not as tough as you might expect given my military experience.
6. I enjoy a good political debate.
7. I like to dance around when I sing praise to the Lord.

Now to nominate other bloggers, many who qualify for bold, rather than lovely:
1. Stroke of Grace - Jenni Saake, despite tremendous odds, blogs about her recovery from six strokes, encouraging others along the way.
2. Bold and Free - Jan Parrish encourages readers to "Be all God made you to be."
3. CrossRiver Media - The blog of CrossRiver Media Publishing by Tamara Clymer offers posts by varied authors that bring encouragement and spiritual growth.
4. Getting It Right...Occasionally - Gloria and Kalisha's journey through autism. 
5. Michael Hyatt - intentional leadership advice from Michael Hyatt.
6. Writer to Writer - Best selling author Cecil Murphey offers writing advice.
7. Shattering the Silence - help for male survivors of sexual abuse by Cecil Murphey (is there a Bold Award?)
8. GoinsWriter - Jeff Goins offers inspiration, encouragement and writing advice for writers.
9. Mary DeMuth Live Uncaged - writer's advice by author Mary DeMuth
10. Fairies, Fantasy, and Faith  - Pam Halter blogs to writers of fantasy
11. ?
12. ?
13. ?
14. ?
15. ?

It shouldn't be that hard to name 15 great blogs, but I simply don't have time to read that many. 

Thank you again to Shanna Groves for nominating us. It is our sincere hope that what is posted on Glory and Strength brings encouragement, hope, help, and inspiration.

Staring into the Storm

By David Rosenkoetter © 2012

Photo credit: GregRon Photography
                My stomach turned flip-flops as I counted the doors to the counselor’s office. I stepped inside the waiting room and stared into the storm of my swirling emotions. Tingling anticipation swept over me. Torrents of sweat dripped like rain from my hands. I forgot the words I wanted to use when describing my anxiety.
                My desire to clear up years of angry behavior collided with the fear of disclosing my past abuse. My counselor asked why I came that morning. My blubbering tears and trembling shoulders gave her a one-man reality show.

Why You Do What You Do

In practically every non-fiction book I’ve ever read there is one aspect of the book that jumps out and captures me. In Bobb Biehl’s book Why You  Do What You Do, that tool was reframing. In layman’s terms, to reframe is to look at a past event or belief from a new perspective and give the situation new meaning, taking the memory from a negative to a positive.

Biehl’s book includes questions for you to answer to discover your dominant childhood feeling, your dominant adult phobia, your dominant emotional need, and more. And you can write all your answers directly in the book. Biehl then leads you through “Fitting the Puzzle Pieces Together.” Appendixes include “Treatment Centers: Questions You Need to Ask Before You Decide.” 

 Debra L. Butterfield © 2012

Prodigal God

With whom do you identify in the story of the prodigal son, the younger brother or the elder? Neither? Each was attempting to get out from under the authority of the father—at the root of the matter, trying to be his own savior. Both brothers were lost!

Like The Knowledge of the Holy, Timothy Keller’s book The Prodigal God creates a paradigm shift in one’s thinking. This powerful little book takes an in-depth look at the parable of the prodigal son and shows us the heart of God. Chapter titles include “Redefining Sin,” “Redefining Lostness,” “Redefining Hope,” and “The Feast of the Father.”

Unlike most sermons on this parable, Keller doesn’t stop when the prodigal son returns. He examines the whole parable and opens to the reader the attitude of the elder brother and his dangerous spiritual condition. Keller states, “Elder brothers believe that if they live a good life they should get a good life” and further expounds what may happen if life doesn’t go as expected.  

This book challenges you to examine your own attitude and offers the answer to what we to escape our lostness.

Debra L. Butterfield © 2012

Secret Longings of the Heart

What drives us to act the way and say the things we do? We all come from different backgrounds and different experiences, but at the heart of this shared human experience we call life are our desires for significance, security, intimacy, success, and spirituality.

Understanding the drive behind our actions and words leads the way to change. In Secret Longings of the Heart, Carol Kent discusses each of these desires, or passions as she calls them. Chapters include “Secret Passions—Destructive, Honorable, or Holy?,” “Why Me? Why This? Why Now?,” “I Blew It Again!,”  and “Me—God’s Woman?”.

I found this book very helpful in bringing focus to my battle with self-confidence, and leading the way to overcome it. I read the 1991 edition. The newest edition (2003) includes a 12-week Bible study.  

Debra L. Butterfield © 2012

Fearless by Max Lucado

Fear abounds in today’s world, and not just in the obvious ways of terrorism, natural disasters, and sickness. American advertising plays into our fears of I’m not pretty enough, thin enough, glamorous or sexy enough to be liked or loved. The inferred message is “buy our product and you will be.” Our fear only grows worse.

God knows and understands our propensity to fear. He declares throughout his Word many times and in many different ways for us to not be afraid. Isaiah 41:10 tells us, “‘Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’” This Bible verse is one of my favorites. I have referred to it often over the years because fear has often kept me from living boldly for God.

Like every Max Lucado book I’ve ever read, Lucado cuts right to the root of our fears in his book Fearless: Imagine Your Life Without Fear. Chapter One examines the question “Why Are We Afraid?” Then he dives into a topical look at fear and offers the biblical answers to overcome it. What are you afraid of? Running out of money? Rejection? Not being able to protect your children? Lucado covers it. Global calamity? Cancer? Violence? Lucado covers it, and more.

A discussion guide at the end of the book leads readers into a deeper self-examination to overcome their fears. Use it for group studies or for yourself.

Fearless can help make living without fear a reality.

Debra L. Butterfield © 2012

Remember When?

By Debra L. Butterfield © 2012

Photo credit: GregRon Photography.
Used with permission 

There was a time in my life when, like Narnia frozen in 100 years of winter, my life felt shrouded in perpetual darkness. We've all been there, that place where life is in crisis mode and our prayers bounce back from the ceiling. We wonder, "Why is this happening to me?" and "When is it going to end?" Perhaps you even waiver in your faith. I did. It took nearly ten years before the darkness melted away. I was tempted many times to turn away from God, but the thought of eternity in hell prodded me to hold on. My faith in God had taken a terrible beating. I often tempered my prayers with "God, help my unbelief" (see Mark  9:24).
      Like King David, when God seems more distant than the stars, we have to encourage ourselves through the dry and difficult times. But how do we do that?
      I spent a lot of time reading the Bible. It helped, a little. David didn't have the Bible, but he had something we have too— memories of past victories. "The Lord who rescued me from the claws of the lion and the bear will rescue me from this Philistine!” (1 Samuel 17:37, NLT). David's example in the Psalms taught me to pour out my heart to God, but somehow I missed his example from First Samuel. Throughout my adult life I have had a, a habit of focusing on the negative things in my life. I didn't see my victories because I was focused on all the defeats.
      Negative memories can overpower the positive. I've heard it said it takes ten positive statements to outweigh one negative. When I am in the midst of crisis, recalling previous victories is difficult. My mind is overwhelmed with the present circumstances and I become a complaining Israelite. They spent 40 years in the desert with selective amnesia. They forget how God delivered them from the Egyptians, parted the Red Sea, poured water from a rock, and rained down manna from heaven. Maybe that's why God directed Moses to create a written record of their victories. "After the victory, the Lord instructed Moses, 'Write this down on a scroll as a permanent reminder, and read it aloud to Joshua: I will erase the memory of Amalek from under heaven'" (Exodus 17:14, NLT). A memorial such as this reminded the Israelites of their victories, of God's promises to them, and of God's faithfulness to fulfill his promises.
      My habit of focusing on the negative kept the shroud of darkness in place much longer than it might have otherwise been. So, I'm going to glean a new lesson from David and Moses. I'm going to remember all the answered prayers and victories God has brought me and, one by one, write them down in a journal. I will regularly read them aloud (see Romans 10:17). I will cultivate a habit of focusing on the victories rather than the defeats. Then, like David, when the next crisis comes I can encourage myself with, "The Lord who delivered my family from the ravages of sexual abuse will deliver us once again."

Let Your Voice Be Heard

The launch of our new page is coming on Sept. 1. Influence the changes we make by taking our survey. You can find the link in the box to the right that says Make Your Voice Count. It's simple and quick. Thank you. We appreciate your time and your opinion.

The Knowledge of the Holy

Life experiences can skew our perception of God, and if we want to lead the vital, abundant life Jesus came to give us, we need 20/20 vision about who God is. This book, more than any other book I’ve read, illuminated God’s character to me. Had I read The Knowledge of the Holy at the beginning of my Christian walk, I could have avoided the crises of faith that have battered me over the past 30 years.

The Knowledge of the Holy by A.W. Tozer is rated a Christian classic. The book begins with “Why We Must Think Rightly About God.” Other chapters include “The Self-existence of God,” “The Justice of God,” and “The Love of God.” Chapters that brought revelation to my faith were “The Immutability of God” and “The Sovereignty of God.” The book is a mere 117 pages long, but don’t try to read it in one sitting. You’ll want to ruminate on Tozer’s words and give them time to permeate your very being.

Whether you are new to the Christian walk or not, The Knowledge of the Holy offers a biblically focused perspective of God’s character essential for believers to live the abundant life Jesus promised in John 10:10.

Debra L. Butterfield © 2012 

Overcome Depression

Chronic low-grade depression plagued me for many years. My doctors prescribed various medications and for awhile I took them, but I preferred not to due to side effects and sought help through books and counseling. Books led me to deal with my past, and once I had, the depression left. Everyone faces different circumstances and experiences, thus depression is individual. I hope the following book will bring some insight and help to your situation.

Mary Southerland's book Coming Out of the Dark is by far the best book on overcoming depression that I've read. Southerland, a pastor's wife, writes from the perspective of having battled depression herself. She is straightforward and hopeful throughout the book. 

Chapters include "Understanding Depression," "Winning Over Worry," and "Managing Your Emotions." I especially enjoyed the chapters "Getting Past Your Past" and "Getting Good at Being You." Appendixes include a checklist to help determine if you or someone you love is depressed, a list of books Southerland found helpful, and several pages of Bible verses to bring encouragement.  

The information Southerland presents can help anyone working to overcome difficult circumstances, not just those battling depression.

Debra L. Butterfield

"What about him?"

By Kristi Bothur © 2012
Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them. (This was the one who had leaned back against Jesus at the supper and had said, “Lord, who is going to betray you?”) When Peter saw him, he asked, “Lord, what about him?” John 21:20-21
When I was still teaching, discipline in the classroom was one of the hardest parts of the job, mostly because I wanted to be completely fair. I didn't want to blame one student for something that another one contributed to. Writing up only one student in a two-person conflict inevitably would bring a wail of protest, "What about him?"
To tell you the truth, I've wailed the same thing to God plenty of times. When I was single and longing to be married, I would look at friends celebrating their anniversaries and wonder, When is it my turn? What about her – you gave her a husband. Why not me?