Wanda’s Journal

Gifts

In my novel, The Gift, which is the second book in my Prairie State Friends series, Leah felt that her ability to help people with reflexology was a gift from God. However, some people, like Adam, didn’t see it that way. He did not believe in reflexology and thought it was bunch of superstitious hogwash.

Have you ever had an ability that you felt was God’s gift, but others did not? How did you deal with their negative comments? How can a person tell if some ability they have is truly a gift from God?

Offering of Prayers

In my novel, The Robin’s Greeting, many scriptures were included in the story that helped the characters deal with feelings they struggled with. God’s Word also helped the King family deal with several unpleasant things that had been done to them.

In addition to studying God’s Word, praying faithfully and fervently, helped Belinda and other members of her family get through several trials.

Reading passages from the Bible and offering prayers to God can also help us as we are faced with various situations and unexpected trials. Are there any special verses found in the Bible that have helped you recently? Do you have a special prayer request you would like to share? I, and I’m sure others who read this post, would like to pray for you.

“The effectual fervent prayer of the righteous avails much.” James 5:16

Amish Way of Life

My husband grew up in a Mennonite church in Pennsylvania, and getting to know my Mennonite relatives gave me a sense of yearning for the simpler life. Then, when one of our Mennonite friends introduced us to an Amish man he worked with, my desire went deeper. When I discovered that my great-great grandparents were part of the Anabaptist faith, I realized why I had such a deep yearning to know the Plain People. It wasn’t long after that we began making friends with many Amish families in several communities across the country. I decided to write Amish novels so that my readers would have a better understanding of the Amish people and their way of life.

Their simple lifestyle, and the fact that they put God first, and then family, is what makes the Amish people so special to me. I also appreciate their example of putting their emphasis on people and not things. When I’m with our Amish friends I see their family closeness, and my desire to be closer to my own family grows stronger. When I’m visiting our Amish friends I feel calm, relaxed, and closer to God.

What draws you to the Amish way of life?

Misunderstandings

In my novel, A Cousin’s Challenge, which is Book 3 of my Indiana Cousins series, a lot of misunderstandings occurred in the story.

Misunderstandings are the biggest cause of dissension among family members and friends. If we are not careful, misunderstandings and differences of opinion can lead to quarreling, or even a permanent separation from a family member. Friendships can be dissolved due to false impressions or a misinterpretation of something that has happened.

What would you do if a friend or family member cut you out of their life and did not want to resolve the situation between the two of you?

What are some ways we can deal with misunderstandings that occur between us and our friends or family? How important is it for friends and family members to communicate well with each other?

Determination

In my co-authored novel, The Blended Quilt, when Sadie decided to make a blended quilt, she said that she wouldn’t quit until she came up with the right combination.

Have you ever started a project and struggled to get it done? If you didn’t finish it, did you have any regrets? If you were able to complete your project, how did it make you feel?

Each year, on the first of January, many people make New Year’s resolutions. It might be to finish a project they began in the old year, start a new project and see it through to completion, lose weight, eat healthier, exercise more, spend less time watching TV and more time with family, or any number of things.

It’s harder to stick with a resolution than it is to make one. We might start out with good intentions but lose our determination along the way. What are some ways that a person who has decided to make a change, or do something they’ve always wanted to do, can see it through to completion?

But what if, because of certain unexpected circumstances, and despite your good intentions and determination, you are not able to keep your resolution or finish something you had planned to complete? Life gets in the way sometimes, which might mean setting your goals aside while you focus on something else that needs your immediate attention. The main thing is not to be hard on yourself if your specific goals for the New Year are not met. Taking one day at a time, and letting God lead in my daily walk is the best way I know to enter the New Year with determination to serve Him.

Antidote for Depression

In my co-authored novel, The Blended Quilt, Sadie’s friend, Mandy, suffered a miscarriage and sank into depression. There are many things in life that can cause us to feel depressed–ill health, loss of a job, family issues, financial struggles–to name a few. For some people depression might be caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain, and some people, due to their circumstances, are just more prone to feelings of depression. If the depression is caused from a chemical imbalance or other physical problem, sometimes medication or supplements may be needed.

Have you or someone you know ever felt so depressed that you could barely function? In addition to medication or supplements, when needed, what are some other things a person can do when depression due to circumstances takes hold?

Here is what the Bible says about feeling sad, disappointed or depressed: “Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope in God for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.” Psalm 43:5.

During the uncertain days each of us is living in now, it would be easy to become depressed and allow our minds to become filled with negative thoughts that can tear us down. I’m reminded that in John 16:33, Jesus said, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.'”

Rewards

In my co-authored novel, The Blended Quilt, Sadie Kuhns witnessed an older woman’s purse being snatched in the parking lot outside of a bulk food store. Sadie came to the woman’s rescue and got the purse back from the girl who had taken it. She was then offered a reward for her good deed.

Have you ever been faced with something similar–either having something stolen from you or been on the scene to rescue and return an item for someone else? How did you feel about the situation? Would you have accepted or given a reward for the good deed?

What does the Bible say about good deeds?

What Anger Can Do

In my novel, The Mockingbird’s Song, the main character, Sylvia, and her younger brother, Henry, were angry at God, even after a year, because of the accident that took three of their family members. This affected their faith. Why do you think Sylvia and Henry’s reactions were so different from their mother’s or other siblings? Some family members went to God for comfort, while others turned their backs on Him.

Is it a good idea to talk to someone about it when we feel angry. Or is it better to say nothing and hold our anger inside?

So let’s talk about what anger can do. From a health standpoint–mentally and physically, most doctors and counselors will tell you that anger held in and never dealt with in a healthy manner can be destructive to our well-being. Angry feelings towards others hurts us more than it does them. And what justification is there to be angry at God? After all, He created us with a will of our own, and it was man’s disobedience, not God’s, that brought sin and painful situations into our world. In addition to affecting our health, anger can weaken our faith. Some people who have chosen to be angry at God, slip further and further from Him as they cling to their anger and resentment.

When a tragedy occurs, like it did in The Mockingbird’s Song, it’s normal to feel some anger at first. However, in order to move on it’s necessary to give our angry feelings to God and allow Him to heal our hurting soul. Once we release our anger and resentment, our faith can grow and we can begin to see things from a new perspective. I have always believed that God can take, even a tragedy, and use it for His good if we allow Him to. Going through the trials we face here on earth can make us stronger. Having gone through difficulties and come through them with God’s help, we are then able to minister to someone else who is struggling in their faith after dealing with a tragedy, or because someone has said or done something hurtful to them. If you are dealing with unresolved anger towards someone right now, please send me an email at wanda@wandabrunstetter.com so I can pray for you.

How can we help?

In my newest novel, The Mockingbird’s Song, Sylvia and her family were faced with some difficult situations that could have weakened their faith if they had not continued to pray and sought God’s will.

Have you ever suffered a loss that could have weakened your faith? What are some things we can do to strengthen our faith when it becomes weak due to a hardship or loss we have faced? How can we help someone who has suffered a loss and seems to have lost their faith in God?

I truly believe that when we ask the Lord for help during difficult times, He sends someone to minister to us. Likewise, we should be ready to help others who might need ministering to when they are dealing with something painful that is out of their control. When we bless others, we too will feel blessed.

A Question of Faith

In my upcoming novel, The Mockingbird’s Song, Sylvia and her family are faced with some difficult situations that involve threatening messages and vandalism to their property.

Like the King family in this Amish Greenhouse Mystery series, everyone is faced at some time or the other with hardships that often involve physical, emotional or spiritual battles.

What are some things we can do to strengthen our faith when it becomes weak because of a hardship or loss we have faced? How can we help someone who has suffered an ordeal and seems to be struggling with depression or a loss of their faith?