Fearfully Wonderfully Me

Growing in God and Inspiring Young Women Through Faith and Fashion

Tag: spiritual warfare (page 1 of 2)

Secrets by Beckie Lindsey Will Change Your Spiritual Life

Hello lovely readers and followers! As many of you know, March is National Reading Month. I thought it would be cool to celebrate my passion for books with you all by doing a book review of Secrets for my dear friend, author, and blogger, Beckie Lindsey!

Secrets is the first book of Beckie’s new Christian Young Adult series, Beauties from Ashes. Get your copy here!

(Note: I was given an advanced reader’s copy of this book for an honest review. All opinions are my own.)

Plot Summary (No Spoilers)

As a fan of YA fiction, I have always wanted to read a Christian series that had the plot of a secular fantasy series. This is why I wrote my Slaying Shadows  series on my blog. Although Secrets reads like a fantasy series, there is more spiritual truth in it than in most non-fiction Christian self-help books.

Secrets focuses on the lives of four teenage girls living in the small town of Arcana, and the secrets they share.

Mackenzie is the new girl at school who’s trying to fit in while hiding a family secret. Krystal is a track star battling bulimia and her jealous feelings towards Mackenzie.

Tammi is a musician who is hiding a traumatic past, finding solace only in the comfort of her songs. Sadie is a dancer whose life looks perfect on the outside. That is, until her hidden insecurities are revealed and draw her close to Tammi.

As all four of these girls’ lives converge into one, we see the invisible spiritual battle happening all around them. Nasty and chilling demons plague our characters, while God’s heroic angels slay them through their faith.

Beckie Lindsey paints spiritual warfare in such a creative and Biblically sound way that makes you never want to put the book down!

Characters

Although Secrets centers on the four main characters listed above, I felt an intimate connection with each of them. Krystal was especially dear to my heart, as I could identify with her struggle of disordered eating and self-comparison.

This book deals with some difficult issues, including sexual abuse and suicide. But it does so in such an honest and spiritually powerful way, that it makes the reader feel stronger and encouraged after reading. These are issues that are not discussed enough in church, but are brought to the light in this YA novel.

I find that Beckie does a good job at developing her characters, especially regarding the love interest. What I thought would be a cliche romance turned out to be a delightfully surprising plot twist. The characters also act like real teens, with no pandering slang and cultural references found in many YA novels.

Final Thoughts

Secrets by Beckie Lindsey

(Image Source)

Secrets is an exciting debut novel to the Beauties for Ashes series, and I can already tell that the rest of the series will not disappoint.

Although there are some predictable moments in Secrets, I believe they drive the plot along seamlessly and are not too distracting. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is clearly told, but not to the point of sounding fake or “preachy.”

If you want real and vulnerable young adult characters, Secrets will not disappoint. If you want a novel that will change your view on spiritual warfare forever, then Secrets is the novel for you.


Thanks for reading! Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below 🙂

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Why Prayer is Not a Waste of Time

On what should’ve been a quiet, peaceful Sunday morning, our nation was rattled by the tragic news of a shooting at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. Over two dozen are dead and many have been injured.

In the face of such tragedy, many of us rally together in prayer and peaceful vigils. However, some people on social media are saying that prayers are useless. They don’t do anything to help, and therefore, a waste of time.

As a Christian who believes deeply in the power of prayer, these statements really made me pause to think. If you’re on the fence about prayer, or are just worn down by all of the tragedies in our nation, then this post is for you.

A New Perspective

There are things in this world we just don’t understand. We live in a world where bad things happen and injustice seems to be the norm.

So where’s God in all of this? Why isn’t He answering our prayers?

 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33 NIV)

You see, Jesus never promised His followers an easy life with no problems or disasters. On the contrary, there is a target on every Christian’s back solely based on their devotion to God.

Our perspective on life is wrong. We are only human beings restricted by the confines of time and space. God sees the whole picture–from beginning to end–and He has promised us a victorious ending (Revelation 21).

Sin is the root cause of the evil in this world, and it is the reason people are filled with anger, hatred, and violence. This is more than just a political or cultural issue–it’s a spiritual one.

The only cure for sin is Jesus, and our pursuit should be the freedom of His saving grace.

Prayer in Action

People want action in times of crisis. We want a sense of control in turbulent times. However, one must not discount the power and motivation of prayer. Prayer is an action of love and faith.

If we pray for those in need, we are uniting with them both mentally and spiritually. We are sacrificing time and energy to focus our hearts on our neighbors.

That’s action.

But the Bible tells us not to stop at prayer. Rather, we should carry our faith into loving deeds in the physical realm as well.

You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. (James 2:22 NIV)

When we pray for others, we take the center of our hearts off of ourselves. This acts as a catalyst for real change in both our lives and the lives of those around us.

I know of Christians who send their prayers on social media, but many of these saints also give money and sacrifice time to help disaster relief organizations.

When we pray, God transforms our hearts into vessels of compassion and action.

Prayer in compassion and action

A Spiritual Battle

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. (Ephesians 6:12 NIV)

The visible world around us if often distracting and terrifying. However, it is only temporary. Our true battle isn’t with social or political issues (although they shouldn’t be ignored).

There is a spiritual war being waged against God’s sons and daughters right now. The devil knows that Jesus has won, and that He is coming to reign on earth soon (Matthew 24). This is causing the enemy to attack God’s children like never before, in the hopes of preventing one more soul from being saved.

Remember, we don’t have the whole perspective. We can’t see into eternity or into the battles that are taking place in the heavenly realms. I don’t have all the answers for life’s tragedies, but I do know this:

God sees our struggles and He hears our prayers. Jesus loves us, and can turn any situation–no matter how tragic–into a message of redemption and salvation. 

Don’t stop praying, lovely one. It could be the very action that saves someone’s soul.

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. (James 5:16 NIV)

Thanks for reading! Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below 🙂

Connect with me on Instagram @fearfullywonderfullyme

**I’m on Twitter!** Follow me @Emily_Susanne1

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Slaying Shadows with God’s Armor~Conclusion (For Now)

Hello lovely readers and followers! Welcome to the conclusion of my series, Slaying Shadows with God’s ArmorPlease don’t forget to check out Part 5 here.  This series focuses on all 6 attributes of the armor of God listed in Ephesians 6:10-18. I hope you enjoy! 


Kass swallowed the lump in her throat, lying back against the tissue paper covering the medical exam table. She wasn’t afraid of anything.

All of her life she had overcome the odds. The odds of having a drug-addict dad in prison and losing her mother at age ten. The odds of living with a disabled grandmother. Or the odds of taking care of herself, despite their poverty.

Kass looked at the little silver bracelet in her hand, watching the way it sparkled against her caramel skin. Her grandma had given it to her before she passed away last year–the day she graduated high school.

She closed her eyes, hearing her grandma’s buttery voice singing the familiar soulful hymn.

Whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say…it is well, it is well, with my soul.

Kass opened her eyes when she heard the door open. She sat up, inhaling cold, sterile air as the doctor looked at her with clinical eyes. Maybe he would finally have the answer for all of these strange migraines and fevers.

“What’s going on Doctor?” She asked with boldness. She wasn’t afraid of anything.

“I’m sorry,” the doctor said.

The rest of his words sounded fuzzy and far away. Cancer. Nothing we can do. No insurance. Sorry. 

Kass just sat there, nodding her head. For some reason, none of it shocked her. It was as if she knew she were dying. Slowly, but surely.

Kass quickly dressed inside the exam room, looking in the mirror above the sink. She saw the dark circles underneath her brown eyes, and the way her curls bounced in ringlets around her face. She trembled, remembering the one who also mirrored these features.

And that’s when Kass realized that although she wasn’t afraid to die, she was terrified of leaving the only person in the world who mattered to her.

Her daughter Sophie.

Kass walked alone, watching the sun set against the cold, desolate January sky. She pulled her scarf tighter around her neck. She had to walk because she didn’t have a car. That broke down after senior year, and she was already working two jobs just to pay the bills.

It is well, it is well with my soul.

Kass stopped suddenly. Her teeth gritted and her gloved fists clenched in her jacket pockets.

“You think this is funny?” She yelled into the sky, realizing that no one was around except for a few passing cars. “I was a good girl. I went to church every Sunday and read my Bible with Grandma.” She felt the tears fill her eyes. “I’ve been nothing but poor and alone. Nothing but suffering.”

Kass sank to her knees, closing her eyes to seal off her tears. “I believed in You. Why me? Why my one year old daughter?”

Kass sighed, feeling nothing but frozen inside. She finally stood, finishing her walk to the tiny apartment complex. She climbed the stairs, feeling the sun sink into shadows behind her back.

Kass relieved the babysitter, not saying a word about the appointment or her diagnosis. She melted when she looked at Sophie, who was sitting in her highchair eating crackers. She was all her little girl had in this world. What could she do?

Kass went to the pantry, deciding to distract herself by making some sort of dinner. But as she opened the pantry door, a long object fell out, crashing to the kitchen floor and startling Sophie.

“What the–”

Kass knelt to the floor, staring wide-eyed at the long silver sword, glimmering under the kitchen light. She shook her head as she removed the piece of paper that was attached to the handle. Did cancer come with delusions?

My Dear Kass,

You’ve been on quite a journey–one of faith and perseverance. I know nothing in your life makes sense right now, but trust that I have something greater in store for you than you could ever imagine. Your grandma carried a gift of faith and courage. And so do you. Take My armor and fight. My Word will give you life. 

Love, Jesus. 

Kass felt the kitchen walls grow dark, as if the room were one dark shadow.

Take My armor and fight.

She reached for the sword, grasping the weighty metal in her shaky hand. And that’s when it hit her. Armor. Sword. 

This was the Armor of God…what she had read about in Ephesians 6 all those years ago.

“The sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”*

And that’s when it all came flooding back. Every verse Kass had ever read. She gasped as the sword started glowing, the whole room illuminated by its light. She realized right then that she had the power to tap into any part of the Word of God.

Kass crumpled to the floor, sobbing as she thought of what this could mean. Of how proud her grandma would be of her right now. If only she could survive…

My Word will give you life. 

Kass opened her eyes, remembering the letter. Without hesitation, she stood up, holding the sword up high. She looked at the wonder in her daughter’s face, and then smiled. Closing her eyes, she repeated the scripture that pierced through her memory as she felt the sword quiver in her grasp.

“I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.**” As soon as Kass declared the words, she felt a weight lift inside of her. The constant headache that haunted her disappeared. She felt energized, revived.

Kass shook her head, setting the sword on the table and watching its glow dim to nothing. “God, why?” She laughed incredulously. “I mean, thank you. But what do you want me to do now?”

She shuddered, feeling a familiar chilly breeze. Kass turned to see that her tiny living room window was open. She ran to the window, gazing out into the parking lot. There stood five people, illuminated against the darkened sky just like her sword had been.

God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us.***

Kass smiled. She knew what they were looking for. And together they would make Him known.


Thanks for reading and supporting! How did you like this series? Tell me in the comments below. Stay tuned, for I have plans to continue this series on a new platform for my readers to enjoy!

SUBSCRIBE BY EMAIL for more details and posts! 

Connect with me on Instagram @fearfullywonderfullyme

I’m on Twitter! Follow me @Emily_Susanne1

Slaying Shadows with God’s Armor is written by Emily Susanne at fearfullywonderfullyme.com, 2017 © No part of this content may be copied or shared unless given permission by the author and linked back to this web address. However, you are encouraged to share the link to this post as well as all other posts! 

*Ephesians 6:17 NIV

**John 10:10 NIV 

***Acts 17:27 NIV 

“It Is Well With My Soul” Lyrics. 

Slaying Shadows with God’s Armor~Part 5

Hello lovely readers and followers! Welcome to part 5 of my series, Slaying Shadows with God’s ArmorPlease don’t forget to check out Part 4 here.  This series will be focusing on all 6 attributes of the armor of God listed in Ephesians 6:10-18. I hope you enjoy! 


Ryan gasped as he hit the floor, not allowing one second to pass before he hopped to his feet. No matter how hard his opponent tried, he would always try harder.

It was his promise.

After regaining his footing, Ryan struck his opponent with a hard kick, whipping his leg around in a blur. It was enough to take him down.

After practicing drills and forms, Ryan made it to the locker room and sat down on the bench, running a hand across his sweaty brow as he smiled with pride.

After practicing martial arts for over three years, he’d finally earned his black belt. In three days he would fight in one of the most difficult tournaments of his life.

“You ready for the big day?” Alex, a buddy from class, called from the other end of the locker room.

Ryan shrugged. Was he ready? Could he take first place?

“Yeah, I’m ready,” he said as he slammed his locker door in defiance. He had to be ready. He’d do anything to keep his promise.

After saying goodbye to Alex and showering off, Ryan looked in the mirror. His jaw was set like rigid stone, and his dark eyes pierced against his almond skin. His muscles held taut beneath his t-shirt.

On the outside, he looked like a fighter. But on the inside, he was shaking.

When Ryan hoisted his duffel bag over his shoulder, he noticed something fall to the floor. He winced as he picked up the photo–the one of his father right before he died.

A wave of darkness enveloped Ryan as he thought about his last words to his father. He had made him a promise that he would always do his best. That he would win. He wanted his father to know that before the cancer took hold of his final breaths.

Ryan shuffled over to his locker, suddenly nauseous at the oath he’d made. What if he failed? What would he become?

Nothing.

The room was silent–the kind of silence that gave him the chills. Everything looked darker, as if he were consumed by a giant shadow.

When Ryan opened his locker, he frowned. The solid, yet lightweight, chest guard that he sometimes used in practice drills was gone–and in its place was an embossed metal shield with a note attached.

“What?” Ryan whispered as he grabbed and unfolded the note. This must’ve been a prank.

My Dear Ryan, 

I alone know what you are up against. You’re afraid of failing and letting your father down. But you don’t have to fight alone. Take My shield of faith into all of your battles. My armor will never let you down. I am your Heavenly Father, and you can always count on Me. 

Love, Jesus. 

Ryan stood there, frozen. This couldn’t be a prank. No one knew about the promise he’d made to his dad. Tears welled in his eyes as he slumped down on the bench.

Was Jesus real? He’d always been searching for the right religion–for something to believe in. Was this a sign?

As if in perfect response, suddenly the lights flickered and died out. Ryan shot up from the bench. There, glowing in his locker like a flame, was the new shield.

His armor.

Ryan swallowed as the darkness closed in, compressing the air from his lungs with lies of failure and danger.

Without another thought, Ryan grabbed the shield. He held it close to his chest and followed the light that radiated from its metal core.

Ryan didn’t know where he was going as he ran out of the back exit of the gym. All he knew was that he felt free. He wasn’t strong enough, but maybe God was.

I am Your Heavenly Father, and you can always count on me. 

Ryan kept running, following the trail of light that blazed through the fresh blanket of wet snow. Shadows filled the night around him as he cut across the alley.

Ryan stopped when he found himself in the parking lot of a small apartment complex. Four other people stood on the concrete, glowing from the inside out.

“Who are you?” Ryan asked. Logically, he should’ve been afraid. But somehow, he wasn’t.

Looking for something? 

It was not the response he expected. The voice swept through the wind like a whisper. Ryan gasped and dropped to his knees.

God was real. And he believed.


In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. (Ephesians 6:16 NIV)

Thanks for reading and supporting! What do you think of the series so far? Click here for the conclusion of Slaying Shadows with God’s Armor!

SUBSCRIBE BY EMAIL for more exciting info on this expanding series

Connect with me on Instagram @fearfullywonderfullyme

**I’m on Twitter!** Follow me @Emily_Susanne1

Slaying Shadows with God’s Armor is written by Emily Susanne at fearfullywonderfullyme.com, 2017 © No part of this content may be copied or shared unless given permission by the author and linked back to this web address. However, you are encouraged to share the link to this post as well as all other posts!

Slaying Shadows with God’s Armor~Part 4

Hello lovely readers and followers! Welcome to part 4 of my series, Slaying Shadows with God’s Armor. Please don’t forget to check out Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3. This series will be focusing on all 6 attributes of the armor of God listed in Ephesians 6:10-18. I hope you enjoy! 


Luke tightened his grip on the steering wheel, squinting his eyes to see the road through the shadowy, snow-filled night. It was just a month after Christmas, in other words, the loneliest time of the year.

“Do you know the difference between a truth and a lie?”

Those were the words that haunted Luke–words from the dream he had last night. That wasn’t the first time he had heard them. The dream was a replay of his childhood, when the social worker came to his school.

She said her goal was to keep him safe. That was a lie. At least, that’s what his parents had told him. She asked him so many questions in that little stuffy office.

Eventually, the truth came out. Though it wasn’t what Luke had been taught. He never thought his parents were hurting him. Yeah, his mom drank a lot and got mad sometimes. Maybe she’d hit him or forget dinner. But his father loved him. At least, that’s what he said behind closed doors.

Luke felt his knuckles grow hot, but he knew it wasn’t because of the car heater. He had been wrong. His mother was a drunk and his father violated him in ways that no child should experience.

It had been a lie. Everything. His whole childhood. But what about his entire life? Was everything a lie—pointless?

When Luke found the house, he put on his blinker and turned into the driveway. Everything looked so dark and desolate tonight. Delivering groceries to the elderly and disabled wasn’t a job he thought he’d ever do. It was actually his second job, the money he needed so he could afford college.

Luke worked hard, and he was proud of that. He’d made a vow to himself that once he got out of the foster care system, he would make his own life. Find his own path. So that’s what he was doing. The only problem is that he wasn’t a good student.

The elderly woman—Shirley—smiled and handed him a wad of cash. She gave him a few quarters, her standard tip. Luke felt guilty every time he took money from that woman because he knew she didn’t have much. She was a forgotten widow. And as an orphan, he knew what that felt like.

“Have a good night Luke,” she called out in a throaty voice as he walked away. “Stay out of trouble.”

He grinned as he turned to wave at her. “I’ll try.”

When Luke got back in the car, he leaned over to buckle the seat belt, only to pause when he saw the small box laying on the passenger seat. He frowned, knowing he always kept his car locked. He’d been a victim of theft too many times before.

There was also a piece of paper on top of the box. Luke carefully unfolded it, his dark eyes widening as he read.

My Dear Luke,

You have no idea the joy it brings Me to watch you as you grow. You have been through a lot, and sometimes it doesn’t feel like I care, but I do. I am always with you, my son. You keep searching for truth and meaning, not realizing that the only way you can find it is through Me. Wear a piece of My armor, the belt of truth. It will give you the strength you need to go on.

Love, Jesus.

Jesus? Luke shook his head. He wasn’t a Christian. Sure, he believed in God. He was a spiritual man who dabbled in parts of different religions or rituals. He had to have something to ground him morally, after all. But was this message really for him?

Luke grabbed the box, opening it in the now chilly car. It really was a belt, plain black leather. Curious, Luke took off his old worn belt and slid this new one around his skinny waist. He clasped it shut. Nothing happened.

“This is some armor, God,” he chuckled as he started the car engine.

Luke drove down the road, speeding so he wouldn’t be late for his last delivery of the night. Suddenly, his dream came flooding back in full force.

Lies. His parents were wrong. Lies. He wasn’t safe.

Truth. He had been safe, all along. Luke slammed on his breaks, almost causing an accident as he felt the warmth grow up his torso. He looked down at his waist—at the glowing belt that was around him.

 I am always with you, my son.

Was that the truth? Luke’s heart started racing when he saw what was up ahead. A dance of shadows and light, coming from an empty parking lot.

Luke bolted from the car, the belt still shining radiantly from his waist. He realized that if there really was truth–and if he wasn’t alone–then this Jesus must be the answer.

Luke ran to the lot, only stopping when he saw three figures standing, like candles, against the dense shadowy horizon. One woman stepped forward, a golden pendant blazing around her neck.

And suddenly, Luke knew the truth. These people were good. They were from God. He could trust them.

The darkness that surrounded them, on the other hand, was evil. Of that he was certain.

Looking for something?

The voice echoed across the lot like a soft wind.

And Luke smiled, because he knew he had already found it.


Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist… (Ephesians 6:14 NIV)

Thanks for reading and supporting! What do you think of the series so far? Click here for Part 5 of Slaying Shadows with God’s Armor!

SUBSCRIBE BY EMAIL  for more exciting info on this expanding series!  

Connect with me on Instagram @fearfullywonderfullyme

Slaying Shadows with God’s Armor is written by Emily Susanne at fearfullywonderfullyme.com, 2017 © No part of this content may be copied or shared unless given permission by the author and linked back to this web address. However, you are encouraged to share the link to this post as well as all other posts! 

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