The Gift in Your Present.

by Amber Weigand-Buckley, editor in Leading Hearts magazine

I’VE BEEN SITTING HERE FOR THE PAST WEEK WITH A VIDEO ON REPEAT. It was January 4, 2020, my father-in-law John Buckley’s last birthday. At 91 years of age, he was surrounded by my husband and daughter, his wife and friends as they sang “Happy Birthday” round the table. Glasses raised, smiles on faces.

Who would have known this would be the last time he would wear those paper crowns from those traditional British Christmas crackers or the last time he would ask Mum if she wanted cream on her cake?

No one knew it would be the last time we saw him blow out his candles. And right now it seems like one of the most precious moments in the world to me that I have caught on video.

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5 TOOLS TO SURVIVE THE STING OF CONFLICT

When confronted by the mean words/actions of others, yield immediately by praying three words: God help me.

by JANELL RARDON in Leading Hearts Magazine

STANDING IN AN OLD CORNFIELD WITH NOTHING BUT A SLEEVELESS BLOUSE AND JEANS TO PROTECT ME, THOUSANDS OF BEES BUZZED AROUND ME. “Should I be nervous?” I asked Greg, my novice beekeeping-pastor, who graciously invited me into his world of beekeeping.

Knowing I was working on a manuscript centered around the concept of spiritual unity, he wanted to show me a few things he had learned by observing his bees.“Oh, no,” he said. “Just stay out of their flight pattern. Move a little to the left and you’ll be fine.” “They have a flight pattern?” I gazed about. “Yeah, sure. See? You can see them coming in for a landing. Straight to the hive.” “Got it,” I said. “Let me get out of their way.”

He smiled. “As long as a bee doesn’t feel threatened, everything is OK.”

Greg’s words were the aha moment I’d been waiting for. “Wow, Greg,” I said. “You were right. Your little bees do have a lesson for me and my readers.”

It seems we are all OK until a threat enters our “perceived flight path,” i.e., our domain of home, work, family, relationships, ministry or leadership.

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Why Your Marriage Needs a Mentor

Look around and see who holds hands, who acts kind to one another, who opens the door, who prays for one another or for other couples.

by PAM FARREL in Leading Hearts magazine

LIFE IS MUCH EASIER WHEN YOU HAVE SOME HELP FROM THOSE WHO ARE FURTHER ALONG THE
TRAIL.

Their wisdom and insight will prove to be invaluable in your own journey together. Mentoring is becoming even more important as much of the population today comes from homes that experienced some kind of fractured family.

You may have never lived with both a mother and a father. How are you supposed to know what an intact family looks like? Who is going to model for you how to work through conflict if your own parents decided to abandon their marriage?

How do you find a mentor?

Look for a couple who has the love that you’d like to have. We have experienced many mentors: Bill and Tina, who equipped us while we were dating and engaged; Tom and Barbara, a couple we lived with to save to go to seminary and who simply modeled the daily habits that build a long-lasting love; Jim and Sally Conway, professors and authors who equipped us to balance marriage and ministry.

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Stop Stabbing, Start Sharpening

by Edie Melson in Leading Hearts magazine

IN SOCIAL MEDIA TERMS, IT’S A VOLATILE WORLD OUT THERE.

So often, what’s posted online seems more focused on stabbing and wounding than on encouraging and sharpening. Part of that is due to the medium.

Almost 100 percent of the time, online interaction lacks the warmth of a real-time, human connection. It’s an impersonal — anonymous — medium. While we may call those we connect with “friends,” many of them are just faceless names.

When we’re speaking online, it’s far too easy to be so focused on what we want to share that we forget the individual — hurting — hearts of those we’re communicating with.

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HOLLYN: In All Honesty

by Jennifer Taylor in Leading Hearts Magazine

All relationships can be tough to navigate, but that is only amplified when you are struggling through the confusion with no one to confide in.  

This is a snapshot of feelings that recording artist HOLLYN experienced in a relationship that, in all honesty, ended in heartache and grief. That season and afterward inspired her to write six songs — the culmination of her current album Bye, Sad Girl.

Lyrically Speaking

Bye, Sad Girl is all about stories. Mainly, my story of when I walked through a pretty rough time in my life almost two years ago.

I went through a six-month period where I was in a relationship that was very confusing and crippled me with a lot of anxiety and depression. I really didn’t know how to talk about it at that time,” HOLLYN says.

“I remember feeling so isolated and like nobody could really feel what I was feeling. I had never been through anything like that before. It was so different and new to me that I kind of felt crazy.”

HOLLYN wants everyone who feels alone in these situations to know there’s a God who loves them. She started writing the songs about six months after the relationship ended but knew they were nothing like her other recording projects — because all of the emotions of her journey were just spilling out. 

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The Day I Kissed My Religious Spirit Goodbye

by Michelle Lazurek in Leading Hearts magazine

I can’t believe that woman took my seat. Doesn’t she know that I sit there every Sunday?

Boy, this sermon is long. I wish he’d speed it up a bit.

I can’t believe my friend isn’t here again this week. She’s missed twice this month.

When I got home from church, I felt angry, depressed and just plain cranky. I couldn’t figure out why, so I sat on my bed and asked God to reveal why I felt the way I did.

“Analyze your heart,” He said to me.

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Treasured in Memory of Jennifer Kennedy Dean

by Jennifer Kennedy Dean in Leading Hearts Magazine

JENNIFER KENNEDY DEAN 1953-2019
We grieve the passing of well-loved author and speaker Jennifer Kennedy Dean. Her many books became classics as soon as they were published. Her passion for the Word, for prayer, for her family and friends, and her impact on the Kingdom will live on.

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A Word that Fills My Online Presence with God

by Edie Melson@EdieMelson  in Leading Hearts Magazine

SOMETIMES, ONLINE INTERACTIONS CAN SEEM LIKE AN ENDEAVOR WITHOUT BOUNDARIES. And I’m a person who appreciates boundaries. With them, I’m not hampered by limitations; instead, I find they give my life definition. Choosing a word of the year helps me let God define my year before it even begins.

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Do the One Thing that Changes Everything: Have You Given up the Words that Hurt You?

by Janell Rardon @janellrardon in Leading Hearts Magazine

OPEN THE PAGES OF ANY GREAT NOVEL AND ESCAPE INTO A WORLD FILLED WITH ENDLESS HEARTBREAK AND WORDS THAT HURT US.

Whether traveling up the Congo River with Charles Marlow (Heart of Darkness), imprisoned in the redroom with Jane Eyre, meeting Victor Frankenstein in the icy Arctic (Frankenstein), or fleeing from a royal ball before the clock strikes midnight (Cinderella), novelists give words to our deepest fears, our deepest longings, and our deepest desires.

Somehow, the power of story transcends time, culture and history and wields an immense, uncanny power and ability, unlike any other medium, to grab our hearts; giving voice to the voiceless, life to the lifeless, and hope to the hopeless.

But no story offers entrance into the world of relationships like the greatest story ever told, the Bible — full of romance, conflict, betrayal and the ultimate triumph of good over evil. For centuries, these true stories reveal the power of real love working out in the lives of real people.

People just like me and you.

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