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Michele O'Leary Blog

With age and freedom, I learned to let go of insecurities that piled on top of my soul. God's never-ending love, His calling, and wooing of me helped me better understand what a daughter looks like in his own image. I am perfect because of His grace. It only took 40+ years to figure that out!

When God's Girls Say Yes {Giveaway}

Michele Oleary

Hello Friends, today I am thrilled to have my friend, Charity, guest post on CC. I met Charity in my Compel writing group. She is a wife, a mama, author, blogger, and lives on a farm. A girl after my own heart. Please give a big welcome to Charity.

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Hello Readers,

I am without a doubt a lover of literature, fiction, and the imagination. I started writing when I was in junior high as a way to do my daily devotionals. Then I began writing poetry. It has always been an outlet for me that great with every year. When it came time in college to decide what I wanted to do with the rest of my life, it was easy for me. Writing.

I began blogging about life and faith just as a hobby. It quickly turned into a ministry to reach out to people who were struggling in the same ways I was. God allowed me to connect with people I’d never met but could help encourage. My promise is to always be transparent about my life and the life I want to live.

It has always been a dream of mine to write a book and I’m drawn to fiction. My excuse was always that I didn’t have time and we never seemed to slow down. I became a stay-at-home mom in 2016 for our two young boys. A few months after that I broke my ankle. Well, that obviously causes you to slow down and God stirred in my heart that it was the perfect time to write. So, I did.

It was the most challenging and rewarding experience of my life. You learn a whole lot about yourself when you spend an unmeasurable amount of time in your own head. It was also the most humbling experience. I am a perfectionist. In college, it made my projects very stressful. I remember handing over my final project, that was the make or break in getting my degree, and my hands were shaking as my advisor took it. I waited until the very last second to give it to him because I wanted it to be just right. You can ask my husband and he will tell you how crazy I am about it. J

Once I poured myself into my very first manuscript, I sent it off to an editor. It took a lot of work to find an editor that I felt comfortable with but God soon gave me a peace about this one in particular. When I got my manuscript back that first time, it crushed me. She was amazing and gave me such good advice and encouragement but it didn’t stop the sting. It needed a lot of work, more than I would like to admit. I had a lot of doubt and questioned if being an author was even something I could actually do. So, I went to work with her notes and changed the story dramatically. When I read through it the first time after the changes, I had to accept that it was much better. It was stressful at times and I often felt like I would never finish it. Every time I opened the document, I would find something to change in it. Which can drive you crazy! I didn’t even look at it for two weeks before I self-published it.

If I could share one thing that God taught me through writing my first book it would be this: it doesn’t have to be perfect to be amazing.

If I give 100% to something that God has placed on my heart, then He will take care of the rest. The result doesn’t matter.

Will there be people who find it lacking? Yes. Will there be people who find errors? Yes. Will there be people who don’t like the plot progression? Yes. And you know what? I’m ok with that. If my story has touched even one person’s heart, then it was all worth it.

I published my first book in June of 2017. It’s still surreal to see my name printed on the cover of a book!!! I want to write about characters who are flawed, honest and in desperate need of redemption. All I can say is that I feel immensely blessed to have been given the opportunity to do something I love. God is so faithful.

With love, Charity Christy

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Giveaway: November's giveaway is a copy of Charity's book, I Get to Love You by Charity Christy.  (Available on Amazon.com). 

A snippet from her book: A Marine returns to face his broken past. A single mom believes she’s meant to be alone. The one thing that could unite them is the very thing that tore them apart.

Leave a comment below or on Facebook to qualify to win a copy of the book. I will announce the winner next week.

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About the Author:

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Charity Christy writes contemporary clean romance designed to inspire, encourage, and tug at your heartstrings. She believes the art of writing is one of the most powerful ways to share the power of forgiveness, the expanse of love, and the importance of your own story. Charity lives in Oklahoma with her husband, Brent, and their two boys. She received her Bachelor of Arts from Northeastern State University in Oklahoma. She loves blogging, traveling, photography, and genealogy. She finds the most enjoyment being outside, drinking hot tea, with a pen and paper, overlooking their family farm. 

To get to know Charity more visit www.charitychristy.com. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest

 

 

 

 

 

Sweet Peace of Rest

Michele Oleary

Woke up early to meet you, Jesus. I felt you tapping on my heart.
Calling me, "Come to me. Come sit with me in my rest."
Find rest in the early morning, peace of the Still of the darkness. 
Love in the Still.
Sweet-peace in the Still of the morning.
Find rest in the Rest-Maker of Jesus.
Truth-Rest.
Rest and reflection and rejuvenation of thanksgiving come in the Peace-Maker.
Even Jesus stepped into the "lonely place" for rest.
Find renewal in the refreshment of Jesus.
Refreshment fills my cup.
Jesus, my love.
Refreshment in my Redeemer.
The love of my life.
He meets me in the places of my heart.
Restoration takes place in the rest of refreshment.
Restore my soul in your Peace.
Ease my thoughts of consumption.
Your Promise-Love draws me closer to your forever love.
In the arms of your rest, you pull me close.
Pure rest, Love brings me home.
Peace.

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Friends, I penned this poem over the past weekend when I was on the "Walk to Emmaus." Jesus poured His words over me to remind me to find true rest in Him. He wove His reminder in His words of truth and by actions of beautiful Saints all through the weekend. It was the most lovely weekend and it is stamped forever on my heart. Find true peace and rest in Him. 

Amazing Race

Michele Oleary

"However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace." Acts 20:24

Crickets. Silence. Not a peep. Not a word.

Where are my words, Lord? 

Struggling to find them. Searching. 

Friends, I have been silent.

Not because I wanted to be, but because God knew what was best for me.

I stepped away for a little while this summer to allow me to pace myself for an upcoming race in a new area of ministry. 

Speaking.

Newness flowed into a heart, my heart, that was uncertain and at times full of self-doubt.

God knew the plans for me. Plans that started before I was born. Plans to prosper me and not harm me.

"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

I never understood the "why" of my insecurities that often halted and hindered me and even caused hurt to shred my heart. 

So many years of seeking approval from the world placed an unhealthy perfectionism on my life, which caused my soul to die slowly.

Today, I am a new person. A Princess warrior. A courageous daughter of Christ because of freedom and allowing God to use the dysfunctions of my old life for His purpose.

His Cross-Freedom. Jesus-Love. Jesus' redeeming blood paved out a new race of life.

Because of the presence of God that lives within me, my eyes and heart and spirit are alive; I am free.

*****

For the past several months swirling thoughts and prayers have consumed me.  What is God's new race in my life?  God, where do you want me to serve? 

This week our Associate Pastor, Mark Montgomery, preached on "Running The Race."

God has placed a race in us all. It is up to us to sign up, start, and to ask God to pour on us the yearning to prepare, to pace ourselves, and to keep the posture needed to finish His calling.

Mark asked, "Are you willing to start?"

When we start God's race, we have to be willing to "Run your race in the right pace." Mark Montgomery. 

God doesn't want us to outrun Him. He desires to be our running "Buddy." We have to be willing to allow Him to take the first step, and then we make our next move with Him.

Once we step out, we need to fix our eyes on our Savior so we will not waver.  Mark shared in his message, "... our gaze is fixed in the hope of Jesus Christ."  Jesus is our Hope in all races of life. 

As we pursue and prepare for our race of His calling, we need to make sure we have proper posture. Blessed assurance from God will overflow courage, confidence, and bravery over us so we can run upright as His holy oxygen flows through us.

Sisters, we find faith and freedom in the race God places in each of us.

God's pace pours on His grace. 

God's grace activates His energy to see the finish line. 

Take steps to complete His race and find...

His calling.
His presence.
His purpose.

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My "race" is to encourage and pour out the love of Christ over each of you. I want to make sure my race is His path and not my own. 

I am asking for your prayers in this new race in my life. It is exciting, and a bit scary intertwined together. Please pray I keep the right pace and do not outrun our Father.

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Friends, remember beauty comes alive as you step out in His holy grace in the race.

You are His girls. You are precious. He sees you. He hears you. He has chosen you. He loves you deeply.

So, I ask the same question that Mark asked us on Sunday, "Are you willing to start?" 

Allow your Heavenly "Training Buddy" to help you make the first steps towards His purpose in your own amazing race.

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I have attached Mark's sermon from Sunday. His words are God's truth and encouraging to finish God's "Amazing Race." 

Link to Sunday's sermon: "Running The Race"

What's Next? In November and December are two new "When God's Girls Says Yes" with giveaways. I will continue to write as God inspires me and flows His words into my heart. Thank you for your prayers and support. Love, Michele

 

When God's Girl Says Yes {Giveaway}

Michele Oleary

Today, I welcome my mentor to Casual Conversations. She works with Proverbs 31 Ministries, is an ECPA best-selling author, speaker, blogger and the one I stalk and call "my friend" to my gal pals. She is authentic, a big lover of Jesus, and walks into the deep each day to spread The Hope to women who need to know they are seen and loved by God. She is amazing, and my heart leaps for joy as I write the next few words: Please welcome my friend, Suzie Eller, to Casual Conversations.

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Last Friday, Suzie and I had a casual conversation, and it was so dreamy. It was easy, and it was fun. It was also Suzie's birthday, yeah! Although, it was her birthday I was the one who received a gift. Thank you, Suzie. 

As you listen to our conversation in the following video, please pay close attention to the really special way Suzie is promoting her newest devotional, "Come With Me: A Year of Walking With Jesus", which releases on Tuesday, September 19. The promotion is an out of the box idea and terrific. I am very excited about it; I hope you will be too.

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Buy One Give One:  Suzie is stepping into the deep with the way she is promoting her new devotional, "Come With Me: A Year of Walking With Jesus." You buy a book, send Suzie the receipt to comewithmedevo@yahoo.com, and she will give a devotional to a beautiful woman in need. She will write a personal note in your name and send it with the book. How awesome is that?! 

My excitement about the offer has moved me to action. For the first 20 woman who send a receipt to comewithmedevo@yahoo.com from Friday, September 8 to Friday, September 15, I will match Suzie's offer. So, TWO women will receive a book in your name. Make sure to send Suzie the message you want her to write on the card along with the image of your receipt. 

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Giveaway: September's Giveaway is big, it is a bundle, and it is beautiful. Leave a comment below or on Casual Conversations Facebook page and you might win Suzie's, "Come With Me: A Year of Walking With Jesus", "Come With Me: Discovering the Beauty of Following Where He Leads", and "Come With Me DVD: Discovering the Beauty of Following Where He Leads". Yes, all three! Why? Because this study changed my Christ-walk and I want it to do the same for you. I will announce the winner by next Friday.

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The Supplier {Giveaway Winner}

Michele Oleary

Psalm 61[a]

1 Hear my cry, O God;

    listen to my prayer.

2 From the ends of the earth I call to you,

    I call as my heart grows faint;

    lead me to the rock that is higher than I.

3 For you have been my refuge,

    a strong tower against the foe.

4 I long to dwell in your tent forever

    and take refuge in the shelter of your wings.[b]

5 For you, God, have heard my vows;

    you have given me the heritage of those who fear your name.

6 Increase the days of the king’s life,

    his years for many generations.

7 May he be enthroned in God’s presence forever; appoint your love and faithfulness to protect him.

8 Then I will ever sing in praise of your name

    and fulfill my vows day after day.

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Every time I thought about it, panic flooded my thoughts.

How? 

"How Lord?" was my desperate cry. 

You see, next month this girl is speaking at my church’s women’s conference. 

A first for me. 

The thought of it shook me to my core and rattled my inner thinking.

As I am stepping and moving in obedience to His calling, fear swept in, "How will I be equipped?" continued to drench my heavy heart. 

Oh, so fickled in my faith in God at times.

Me, the God's Girl, who proclaims her faith-steps of walking hand in hand with her Lord; however, time and time again she slips from the Solid Rock of Provision and Promises.

In Psalm 61, King David writes a beautiful song as he was hiding and running from someone who desired to hurt him. Hunt him down. Kill him.

"Hear my cry, O God; listen to my prayer. From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the foe." Psalm 61:1-3

That nasty foe, the one who whispers lies and discouragement in my soul: Satan. 

You too?

He wants to grow us weary and faint and to lose heart. The slithery snake's biggest desire is to turn our eyes from the Father, the Author of truth and peace. Our solid Rock. 

The Liar fears how God will use you.

He fears your faith-walk with God. 

He fears the purpose God placed in your path.

He fears the lives you will help change as a soldier for Christ. 

Call out Jesus' name in those battles with the Enemy. Your foe who seeks to devour you. Destroy you.

"Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour." 1 Peter 5:8

There is nothing more powerful than a Warrior for Christ praying on her knees.

Satan understands God's Girl strength and courage. He trembles when he hears you say, "Yes, Jesus. I am all in." Be bold, sisters.

"I long to dwell in your tent forever and take refuge in the shelter of your wings.[b] For you, God, have heard my vows; you have given me the heritage of those who fear your name." Psalm 61: 4-5

Like King David, our forever refuge and shelter is under the wings of God. God hears our pleas and vows to Him. Take shelter in Him.

Find your brave in the Brave.

The Holy Spirit erases the negative chatter.

Allow the Rock of Refreshment to restore you and remove the doubt of inadequacy.

The Savior will pour over His provision of purpose once again. 

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Last month God placed on my husband's heart to send me away from the norms of life.

To remove me to renew me, restore me, and remind me He is the Giver of everything I need. 

For reflection and remembrance of my great love of my Love. 

To pour over His words and thoughts in a place of casual conversation with Him.

We flew to a place that always refreshes and quenches's my soul.

It is my heart place.

My soul place.

My reconnection to God's goodness kinda place.

God always reaches me at the beach. His softness touches me there; the gentle Spirit of my Father. 

His provisions for ministry was released within me.

Courage slipped in as fear was swept away by the sounds of His majestic waves. 

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Life:

Even as I type out these words of freedom, the bully goat of lies tries to defeat me, beat me down.

Swirling thoughts of "You do not have what it takes to make a difference." tries to shred my heart once again. 

But God exposed the lies in His truth-words to remind me, "I am your Rock and Redeemer. The Supplier of all your needs."

Girls, God places a call and a purpose to walk and work with Him daily and the "how" is already set in place, we just have to have faith.

Set out and push through your doubts of ill equipped; allow the presence of the Supplier to stir your heart for Him.

Father, sometimes our hearts are heavy and hurting because of the "how" of your call of purpose in our life. Discouragement slips in, and doubts flood our thoughts. Remind us you paved our path of purpose with your Love-Blood of freedom. The freedom to walk tall hand in hand with you. To move forward in the confidence of Christ. You will not let us fall. We praise you for your promises of provisions. We love you. Amen.

Giveaway Winner: August Giveaway Winner is: Michelle Paquette. Yippee! Michelle, I will bring the lotion to church on Sunday.

Register for the women's conference "Live Your Faith Bold and Brave" on September 30 from 9 AM-2PM at Ebenezer United Methodist Church, Stafford, VA.

I Am (Giveaway)

Michele Oleary

"Am I a God who is near," declares the LORD, "rather than a God who is far away?" Jeremiah 23:23

"How come we can't see God?" was one of my girlies questions as we read Bible stories together one morning.

It stopped me and stumped me. Not sure why. But it did, and I fumbled around trying to figure out the answer that would satisfy a four-year-olds curiosity.

To be honest, I really didn't answer her ask. I moved forward and kept reading because I didn't know the "churchy" answer of a natural question at the time. 

As I was writing a separate blog post, God tapped on my heart and asked me, "Do you really think you don't see me?"

"I Am in the soft breeze that cools you in the heat of hot summer day."

"I Am in the rain showers that refreshes everything."

"I Am in the encouraging words spoken to you time and time again."

"I Am in the laughter of your girlies as they play, so innocent."

"I Am in the dark sky as you peer and count the twinkle lights."

"I Am in each new dawn of the sunrise."

"I surround you every day in my creation of beauty and family and friends."

"I Am and always will be right beside you to the end."

Friends, I know my Savior is in all things but it is a gentle reminder to step away and remember and see our Creator is always Omnipresent. 

It took a four-year-olds brave question to remind me of the love of our Savior who surrounds me.

What about you? Do you forget too? Does the ticking of a clock or the calendar call you away? Step away and soak in and savor the Love.

As for me, I will have a redo with my four-year-old girlie the next time I see her and point out we see God and He is always all around us.

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Giveaway:

This is one of my favorite things I apply each morning. Because I am a girl who loves the beach and the smell of coconut I slather this lotion on me each morning.

Leave a comment below or on Facebook if you want to qualify to win the giveaway. 

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Always feel free to share any of my postings if God taps on your heart to do so. Thank you.

 

When God's Girls Says Yes

Michele Oleary

Happy Friday, my friends. Have you ever virtually met someone via a group or a friend and there was something about that person that made your heart warm whenever you saw her name? That is how I describe this month's God's Girl. I met Jeralyn on my Proverbs 31 COMPEL Facebook page earlier this year. From the very beginning, I could tell we were going to be friends. She is encouraging and supporting and has a way with words. She is a Jesus lover and I hope one day we can meet face-to-face. Please welcome Jeralyn to Casual Conversations.

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Photographs and Memories...

I love photographs!  My phone gallery is jam-packed, my computer is full, and we have boxes upon boxes of pictures developed before the digital age.

Recently I tackled the task of organizing several boxes of photos belonging to my parents.  My dad passed away two years ago, and I have been slowly walking through the time- line of his life soaking in the essence of who he was and who I remember him to have been.

Several years ago when my mom and her husband moved from our area, they left behind a steamer trunk full to the brim with memorabilia.

Time seemed to stand still as I wandered through family history and inscribed on the backs of photos what I could remember about events, places, and people.

My desire was to record picture stories for my own children and grandchildren to one day hold in their hands and journey through as I was doing in that moment.

I had my entire life history piled around me.  I laughed, and I cried.  As the hours passed, I came to realize there was a gentle, quiet healing happening in my heart and soul.

Like so many, my home life was marred and scarred by the dysfunction of addiction.  My dad's alcoholism created dynamics that would eventually lead to my parent's divorce.

Being the adult child of an alcoholic brought it's own pain into my life and subsequently into my future...my marriage.

But...at the age of eighteen, I found Jesus.   My life as I knew it was changed and I began my journey in His love and grace.  I'll never forget a preacher declaring that how I went through life was my choice...I could be a Victor or a Victim.

Even though it would take me years to fully comprehend, those words planted a tiny seed in the soil of my heart with the truth that I was not my past.  I was not my parent's past.  Their choices were their own.  I had the freedom to become who my Father God had designed me to be.  Ultimately, I belonged to Him...He had the final say.  His Word was the final say...

The Life of Freedom

Christ has set us free to live a free life. So take your stand! Never again let anyone put a harness of slavery on you. Galatians 5:1 The Message

So, from a few boxes of dusty, faded photos, I was once again reminded that My Father has all my tomorrows in His capable, loving, strong hands.

Has your heart and life been scarred and marred like mine from circumstances and other people's choices that were out of your control?

Be encouraged, my friend.  Jesus, in His death and resurrection, paid the price for you to walk in freedom and victory.  The choice is yours to be a Victor or a Victim.

Is it hard?  Absolutely!

Is it painful?  Peeling back issues of the heart is always painful.  It is much like a festering wound that must be lanced in order for the infection to be drained, enabling healing to begin.

How long will it take?  It will take a lifetime of being showered with love....grace....mercy....patience...by the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Jesus Christ.

Jeralyn and her husband, Gary, make their home on the Northeast Plains of Colorado. She will tell you that her greatest legacy is her two children, their spouses, and her five delightful grandchildren. Her passion is to reach out a hand to the weary and wounded and walk their healing journey with them.  She looks for every opportunity to empower women through the Biblical truth of their worth and value in the eyes of their Father God.  You can find her blog at  www.jottingsbyjeri.com

Jeralyn and her husband, Gary, make their home on the Northeast Plains of Colorado. She will tell you that her greatest legacy is her two children, their spouses, and her five delightful grandchildren. Her passion is to reach out a hand to the weary and wounded and walk their healing journey with them.  She looks for every opportunity to empower women through the Biblical truth of their worth and value in the eyes of their Father God.

You can find her blog at www.jottingsbyjeri.com