Monday, March 4, 2013

A God for All Seasons by Patti Tingen

Hope for all seasons. Encouragement for all times. Love from God for all year. “There is a time for everything, a season for every activity under heaven.” Ecclesiastes 3:1 (NLT)

As nature’s seasons change, so too do the seasons of our soul. But God’s love never changes. He is with us through every season of our lives. Through times of sorrow, times of joy; times of plenty, times of want; times of longing, times of contentment—God’s love never leaves us.

Join author Patti Tingen in a year of exploration, as she reflects on her own spiritual journey and provides hope and encouragement for yours—month by month, season by season. Find reassurance and pause for reflection in the inspirational readings for each month of the year. In winter’s darkest days—hope, renew, wait; in spring’s blossoming beauty—change, plant, trust; in summer’s wondrous warmth—give, celebrate, rest; in autumn’s colorful coolness—harvest, believe and thank.  

In all times and in every season—may you be blessed.

Patti Tingen

Patti serves as an elder at her church and has been involved in various ministries including prayer and teaching. Patti lives in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania with her husband Doug and their cat Braveheart.

Guest Post by Patti Tingen

I live in beautiful Lancaster County, Pennsylvania with my husband Doug and our cat Braveheart. Working full-time keeps me busy along with serving in various ministry positions at my church that have included prayer, teaching and serving as an elder. I love animals, music and nature. And I am humbled and amazed to have written two books. Sometimes God has dreams for us that we know nothing about!

What started out as a simple desire to preserve the stories of my incredible cat Knickerbocker, turned into something far greater than I would have ever imagined. My first book, He Was Never a Cat: Knick’s Story, My Story, Your Story, became an incredible adventure as I honed my writing skills and formed lasting relationships throughout the writing, publishing and marketing process.

A God for All Seasons came about as I reflected on my life’s journey, and in particular, considered our struggles over the past 15 years. Financial difficulties, physical illness, emotional hurts and more disappointment than I could fathom were some of what greeted my husband and me during those long, bleak years. But through it all, we pressed on in hope, persevered in faith and persisted in love. And God graciously and consistently provided, protected and loved us in return.

Looking back, I saw in a deeper way than ever before, that God was with me in every single situation. In every loss, every victory, every tear, and every joy—God was there. Step by step, our Lord walked with me through every season of my life. With new revelation, I understood that we truly have a God for all seasons.

As I have continued on my spiritual journey and allowed God to deepen my faith, I have seen how He has used my experiences to encourage and bless others. Through many teaching opportunities at my church, God has blessed my words of personal experience and testimony to impact others in a positive way. He has now transferred those spoken words to written text but my ministry remains the same—to use my life experience to teach, encourage and bless others through writing inspirational, non-fiction books.

"There is a time for everything, 
     a season for every activity under heaven.
A time to be born and a time to die.
     A time to plant and a time to harvest.
A time to kill and a time to heal.
     A time to tear down and a time to rebuild.
A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.
     A time to embrace and a time to turn away.
A time to tear and a time to mend.
     A time to be quiet and a time to speak up.
A time to love and a time to hate.
     A time for war and a time for peace."
                                    Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 (NLT)

"Life is never static. Physical, emotional, financial and spiritual ups and downs are all a part of this journey called life. More than ever before, I'm seeing how God is with us for  the entire journey, through all of the highs and lows.
     The seasons of the year have often been used as pictures of life; I think the months are also such pictures. Walk with me through the seasons and their months, no matter where you need to start - by the calendar or by your life - season.
     Much of my adulthood has been peppered with a variety of struggles and times spent in the cold winter season. As I am now emerging into the warmth and light of spring, I'm realizing that I have learned well how to exist in the darkness. My desire is also to flourish in the blooming seasons.
     Please join me in this year of exploration and reflection. May you find hope and encouragement in every month - and in every season.
     It's time."
                                                    Patti Tingen

My Review:

March: A time to change
"So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord - who is the Spirit - makes us more and more like him as we are changed into His glorious image."
2 Corinthians 3:18 (NLT)

I am doing something a little different with this review. It is a book on seasons and there is a reflection for each month of the year. This is March and so I am starting my year here. The author uses the phrase, "In like a lion, out like a lamb," and speaks of March as being a transitional month; not quite spring, and not quite winter and how our lives sometimes mirror March. 

This time of the year is often seen as a reflective time with the Easter season and Jesus' resurrection being celebrated, and it all begins with Lent, a time of reflection. Patti writes that each one of us may be in transition, like our month of March. It may be due to a work change, or illness, or perhaps a reason of our own making. It may be emotional or spiritual, and while some of us enjoy change, there are others who do not. Regardless of how we approach change in our lives, change is inevitable. 

God is God, and he doesn't change, he only reveals more of who he is to us. And, while we may not always be the person God wants us to be, he provides us with opportunities to grow and learn how to be that person. God uses the trials and testing in our lives to refine our spirit and build character within us.

I love the analogy that Patti used to describe sin. After you read it, dare to come back and tell me that is not what sin feels like. (Coming home from a lunch) "I was so pleased with myself that I had chosen a salad rather than the pot roast sandwich - with mashed potatoes. Realizing that I felt satisfied without that full, heavy, I-need-to-go-put-on-sweatpants feeling, I quipped, 'You know what? Eating food that is not very good for you is just like sin. It only tastes good in your mouth - on the way down. Once you swallow it and it has a chance to lie around in there for a little while - ugh!'
     When your mouth starts watering at the desire of the pot roast sandwich, or the bacon double-cheeseburger, or whatever your area of temptation may be - think about how you'll feel in an hour or so. Once the digestion process starts, the pleasure is long gone. All you're left with is a bad taste in your mouth and a sick feeling in your gut."

She goes on to say "Another problem that happens with sin is that it becomes so familiar to us, that we no longer even recognize it." How true is that?

"Sin builds up in us over time, slowly causing us to become dark and dingy. But we don't notice; we think we're okay. Until by God's grace, we come side by side with the Pure White Holy One. We see our ugliness and it brings us to our knees."

Patti suggests that by periodically placing our thoughts in a journal, we can more accurately account for where we've been and where we are going, therefore holding ourselves accountable and keeping our ourselves on track. And even though our own lives haven't been "dramatically saved from a life of drugs or crime" or we've "never turned our back on God needed an incredible, near-death event to transform" us, we all have a story, a testimony, that speaks of God's love in our lives. 

In my own personal life, I've dealt with evil on many levels, none so frightening as the time immediately following the separation from my now ex-husband. I was distraught because my two daughters did not want to talk with me or spend time with me. I was contemplating ending my life. I was at one of the lowest points of my life and the door was open enough so that evil pushed its way in. I remember waking from a dead sleep screaming. When I opened my eyes, there was a black cloud at the foot of my bed. I can still remember looking evil in the eye. It was an experience, that up until writing this, only a few were privy to. 

I have never forgotten that experience and firmly believe that you can not know evil unless you've also known good. How else would you be able to distinguish between the two. I am also saddened to admit that that was not the only time. There was one more such incident, again, when I was at a low point. It was at that point, that I promised God and myself that I would never let myself doubt that He was there for me, no matter how bad life got. 

I went on to have someone suggest I read the book of Job. That person and reading the book of Job taught me a great lesson. God not only wanted my laughter, but he would take my anger as well. Once I was free to turn my anger to God, I never again experienced the evilness that had visited me on those two occasions.

The author ends the chapter of March with "join me on a journey of change this March. Thaw out the dark, hardened places of your heart; then start breaking up the fallow ground. For it's time to plant."  I liked that. It was an invitation to reflect and then move forward. I find myself looking forward to the chapter of April. 

I hope that if you are here, reading this, that you will purchase the book and take the journey along with me. I look forward to hearing from all of you who do. Please leave a message on my blog and then join me here at the beginning of each month as we read a new chapter and reflect on the month gone by.

(This is an affirmation that I recommend A God for All Seasons)

Purchase A God for All Seasons by clicking on the icon below:

Disclaimer / Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of the book with no obligation for a positive review. No compensation - monetary or in kind - has been obtained for this post. Cover art and book description courtesy of the author, publisher, or PR firm. 

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  1. Hello friend!
    This resonates with me so deeply. My husband and I are dealing with a time period like what this author described, and our hearts are so often heavy...we have to watch out not to let evil gain a foothold. God truly is good, and unchanging, and that means He loves us forever. I cling to that truth and keep breathing. Thank you Donna, for a wonderful review....I believe this is a book for me. Thanks for the link.

    1. I am so glad you stopped by. I look forward to sharing each month with you. I hope the book is all that you hope it to be. D


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