Because She’s Already Amazing {plus a sweet giveaway!}

Amazingness galore :: Cheryl, Jen *and* Mary

*Giveaway now closed.*

Her graciousness struck me from our first meeting, and what a first meeting it was. Mary, looking totally darling with her thick, dark hair swinging in a pony tail, and me looking totally not darling with primary colored birthday cake frosting smeared. all. over. my chest, face, and hair. {I later realized I even had frosting on my back. How? I’ll never know.}  Unfazed by my disheveled appearance, Mary introduces herself and welcomes us to the Juniper Court neighborhood.  We schedule a playdate for our same-aged toddlers, and so begins a friendship that has spanned a plethera of mountain top and valley moments together.

 Goodness, how did Mary serve and love on me during those babies crying, husband traveling, crazy exhausting days? Let me count the ways. She babysat my kids, cooked us meals, hosted Bible study, introduced me to MOPS, and invited me to every soiree she attended. When I went on bedrest while pregnant with my daughter, she regularly checked on me and even brought me groceries. {With extra fun stuff not on my list like ice cream and chocolate!} Even more than all the serving, Mary encouraged me as a wife and mom. We haven’t been neighbors for almost ten years, but Mary still inspires through word and example every bit as much as she did during the Juniper Court days. Her arm must hurt from giving me countless I’m-there-with-ya-and-you’re-doing-great pats on the back.

 

While I’ve witnessed Mary’s lovely, Spirit-led nature over and over, I’ve never seen it so visible as when sorrow shows up on her doorstep . In this last eighteen months alone, Mary’s story includes an ectopic pregnancy, her husband’s deployment, her mother’s stroke and sudden death, a major move across the country, and the loss of a son. While she has walked the hardest of the hard roads, Mary still lives with hands open and eyes toward heaven. She lives the hard faith that proves genuine.

And so every time the gentle, stirring words and music of  “When Emptiness Sings” drift towards me, I think of Mary. She is indeed an amazing wonder who keeps her bow on the strings ready to play the song God orchestrates.

{subscribers, click here for video.}

But oh,

Her bow is on the strings,

And the tune resonates in the open space

To show us how emptiness sings.

Glory to God, Glory to God!

In fullness of wisdom,

He writes my story into his song,

My life for the glory of God.

Chorus of “How Emptiness Sings” by Christa Wells

Now I know Mary, and she will read this and say, “Oh Kristen, but you don’t really know me. You don’t know all the times I haven’t handled the easy and hard things well. The times I still don’t.”

And I’d just look into her dark brown eyes and say,  “But Mary, God doesn’t expect perfection from you, only perseverance in the process. And because you do this – and a thousand other things – so imperfectly wonderfully, you are already amazing.”

“The moments you lived in your strengths, the challenges you pushed through, the ways you made a difference – they’ll all be something beautiful that you can give the One who gave everything for you.” Holley Gerth, You’re Already Amazing

{I’d also add, “And thank you Mary for not finding my frantic, frosting-covered self totally bizarre and weird. Amen.}

I’m gushing about Mary today in honor of a surprise book shower for Holley Gerth {another already amazing woman}. Her book, You’re Already Amazing, is available now at DaySpring, Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Today, several of Holley’s friends are conspiring to surprise her with stories of those women in our lives who are already amazing. And if there’s one thing Holley loves, it’s her sisters lovin’ on each other by spreading around some major Jesus truth.

You're Already Amazing: Embracing Who You Are, Becoming All God Created You to Be

Isn’t she just the prettiest cover you’ve ever seen?

Speaking of major Jesus truth, Holley’s book is chock-full of it. God has used Holley’s blog and books to grow my faith over and over, so I knew I’d love this book, too. Really love it. But honestly, I didn’t know I’d really really love it this much. As in, it’s one of my all time favorite nonfiction reads. You’re Already Amazing isn’t your typical inspiring, biblically based book. While it certainly encourages my faith walk, it also gives practical ways to move biblical truths from my head to my heart, to accept them in all the deep places. And as a licensed counselor, Holley’s knowledge of why we women think and feel the way we do {the way God wired us} makes this read just plain fascinating.

Gettin’ my Holley love on.

Visit Holley’s place today and read more stories of amazing women *and* link up your own! Not a blog writing chica? Then maybe facebook or tweet a little love note about someone you think is da bomb diggedy. Better yet, tell her to her darling little face.

Finally, what’s a shower without presents? Because I so adore this book and  wholeheartedly believe in its message, I’m giving away *two* copies of Holley’s You’re Already Amazing, one for you and one for a special loved one in your life. And also? You’ll have your pick of your fave Holley Gerth canvas print, some of which are pictured below.

 Holley Gerth - Wonder - Canvas Wrapped 6" BlockHolley Gerth - Shine - Canvas Wrapped 6" BlockHolley Gerth - Strength - Canvas Wrapped 6" BlockHolley Gerth - Change the World - Canvas Wrapped 6" Block
To be entered to win, just leave a comment telling me what already amazing woman will be receiving your second book. I’ll announce the winner on Thursday, March 15th. {And while I do write for DaySpring’s blog (in)courage, I was not compensated for this review or giveaway. I just think Holley’s newest book is totally swell.} And if you’re interested in discussing You’re Already Amazing in a book club setting, check this out.
Hot diggedy! Not bad for a Monday, right?

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  1. Jenn M says

    One of my goals this year is to reconnect with people I’ve lost touch with. I would give the second copy to my friend, Diane. She has raised two great kids, beat breast cancer, and is an amazing woman!

  2. says

    My sister is going through a valley. I’d love to give her this book to show her that flowers grow in the valley. (And I’ve been hankering to read it myself, I must say.)

  3. Anna says

    My mother – she is truly AMAZING to have loved me unconditionally all these years and it’s Mothering Sunday at the weekend so what could be a better gift.

  4. Tricia says

    What a great blog today, Kristen! I can’t agree more with you about Mary she is an inspirational woman and also introduced me to MOPS and helped us out countless times.

    You are an amazing writer with great talent, I look forward to your words of wisdom and try to make them part of my life everyday. Thank you for being your loving wonderful self.

  5. says

    Ahh! Not bad for a Monday at all! I LOVE that y’all are doing this. So special.

    So, I got the book a couple of weeks ago, read it, you know, IMMEDIATELY, cover to cover, which means I would happily give both copies away to dear friends (the ones who haven’t already borrowed my copy LOL). Book #1 to my friend Allison who is amazing and needs to *know* it, and *claim* it, and *believe* it. And book #2 to Mary Ellen, who is also amazing and needs to be reminded that it’s God who makes her amazing, and He is the One to wrap her life around.

    Thank you! Thank you thank you.

  6. says

    What a sweet testimony to a special God made friendship! I have been planning on getting this book for my best friend since middle school. She is an absolutely amazing woman, who I admire so much. However, she has trouble getting past her singleness to appreciate her amazingness. (I think I just made up some words.) I always tell her how I think she is amazing, but I want to reminder her with this book. Thank you for sharing with us!

  7. says

    You know, I think I might just link up today over at Holley’s blog! The first person that came to mind was my friend Stephanie. We became friends our Senior year of college, and she has been such an amazing friend every since! We live hundreds of miles away, but she’s still such an encouraging and uplifting friend! I would definitely give her the second copy of the book :)

  8. says

    I have been wanting this book and to have a 2-fer giveaway is so kind of you. The person I would share this book with is my daughter. She is truely an amazing young woman and mother. She cares for her two children both under 2 years of age, while rasiing an amazing step daughter, as her own flesh and blood. As if that was not enough, she has just completed her master’s in education…and cannot find a job. Her husband and I both know that she is amamzing but she is hard on herself. I think Holly’s book would be such a blessing to her, and me. I think it would be fun for the two of us to talk about it.

    I know whoever receives this book will be so thankful and blessed. Thank you for your sweet friendship with Holly. Sisters in Christ are a special treasures.

  9. says

    The extra book would go to my best friend, Sharon. She is an encourager of the best sort and I love her dearly for it! Thanks for such a wonderful opportunity. Not bad for a Monday ;-)

  10. Suzanna says

    Such a wonderful piece today on a wonderful lady, Mary! She will always hold a special place in my heart from my days on Juniper Ct., as you will always. I would share this book with my friend Andi because she has been an angel here on earth. Our friend Kathleen was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer in January and Andi has been the fill in mom for Kathleen’s family since the hard news hit. Andi has carpooled Kathleen’s kids to school, tackled house hold tasks like mountains of laundry for a family of 6, cleaning and beckoning to Kathleen’s many needs. Kathleen is one of the strongest women I have ever met and it kills me to see her suffer the way she has the past 2 months. I was able to share a special day with her today at the hospice house and am still holding on to hope of a miracle healing. I also know that God has a special plan for all of this. Without friends like Andi this road would be very hard to travel!

  11. Paola Rarick says

    Hi Kristen, I would probably give a copy to my friend who I have been witnessing to for a while. She is wonderful and loves to read and I know she is searching for God’s truth. Thank you for sharing your experience on this book. I know i will be following along as incourage starts their book club.

  12. says

    What a great post! If I win, I’ll give the second book to an amazing friend we both know…Jessie! Talk about amazing, she inspires me on a daily basis!

  13. Amy says

    What a great post. I have been reading Holley’s book also and love it!! What encouragement for our hearts.
    I want to win this giveaway. Of course I am sure all the others commenting do also. LOL!! I can share this book with so many… I know many beautiful amazing women. God has blessed me.

  14. says

    I know this girl. Well, I know a lot of girls… but I know this one in particular who stuns me on a regular basis. Her name is Katie. She has a list of girls a mile long that she is doing a discipleship program with right now- me included! And even though she felt a bit overwhelmed to do it with someone older than her, she was willing to step out and I’ve been blessed.
    Now that’s amazing. <3

  15. ANNETTE CONRAD says

    I am writing about my daughter, Lori, who is truly an “Amazing Woman”. Not because she is my daughter, but because the Lord Jesus Christ has groomed her into a lovely, beautiful woman in spirit. Lori lives for Him in everything she does as a pastor’s wife and mother of five sweet children (four are adopted and three have learning disabilities). They live in another country where God has called them to serve. Lori has a busy schedule of women’s ministry along with running a home that is always “open” to others. She does part-time photography to help with the family income. Her transparency with the struggles of raising challenged children are shared with others and she tells how the Lord helps her to deal with these issues. God has given her a magnetic, sweet personality that draws women to her in confidence, giving her the opportunities to encourage them, and be used amazingly for His glory. I would give Lori this book, You’re Already Amazing, because she is!

    Thank you also for your wonderful blogs that are so inspiring and thought provoking.

  16. Sara T says

    Hmm, tough to decide who to give a second copy to! Either my baby sis, Megan…she is just beginning to realize how amazing she is! Or my friend, Josie, I want her to realize how amazing she is…I already do!

  17. Julianne B says

    Thank you for being so inspiring and uplifting yourself Kristen!! This sounds like a wonderful book! I would share with my amazing little sis Karen!

  18. says

    What a beautiful celebration of friendship! I would gift my friend, Debbie–we share a strong faith, children of the same age, and the ups and downs of life :)

  19. Anita says

    I’d love to give a second book to my aunt and best friend who has been an amazing encourager throughout my adult life

  20. RUTHONA WASINGER says

    TODAY I ATTENDED THE FUNERAL OF MY FIRST CHOICE, MY PASTOR’S MOM. SHE WAS 98 YEARS OLD! HER NAME IS VICKI. MY
    SECOND CHOICE IS MARY, A FRIEND AND MENTOR SINCE 1993.