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Saturday, April 9, 2016

Ordinary Woman--Extraordinary God

What do we do when life throws us a curve? How do we react? Does our view of God change? What is the secret to surviving crushing loss or sorrowful circumstances and still praising God?  This book contains stories of 14 ordinary women (and one ordinary man) who have gone through various degrees of difficulty or tragedy. These women have come through their trial (or in some cases, are still going through the trial) with a prayer on their lips and praise to our extraordinary God in their hearts.

Along with these present-day sisters in Christ, there are enlightening stories from a few Biblical sisters in the faith.  There are also messages from God’s word on such topics as fear, tears, His all-sufficient grace, and beauty from ashes.
Available on Amazon  Sandra's books 

The author of Ordinary Woman--Extraordinary God, Sandra Barker is featured here on my blog. Here is what she has to say about her life as a writer."Over a period of ten years, I wrote several hundred articles as a freelance writer for two newspapers in our area, one of them is the large metropolitan paper that is primarily used in our Hampton Roads area.  I have a story in Chicken Soup for the Mother’s Soul.  I also wrote articles and short stories for dozens of magazines, and won first place for one of my short stories from the Oklahoma National League of American Pen Women and an Honorable mention from a Writer’s Digest short story contest.  Although I do very little such writing anymore, I still write travel articles for Recreation News.
    More recently, I’ve been concentrating on writing books.  I’ve self-published four novels, a collection of short stories, a children’s illustrated book, and two inspirational books geared toward women.  They are available in print and e-book through Amazon.
What inspired you to write the book?
It may sound trite, but I really believe God led me to write, “Ordinary Women – Extraordinary God.”  I drug my feet for a while, but He kept after me to keep working on it.    Once I committed to writing it, He led me to the 12 women in the book.  It was quite amazing to see Him working through it all.
My purpose for writing the book stems from my own search for an answer to how women who’ve gone through tragic and extremely difficult circumstances are able to rise above their struggles and praise God in such powerful ways.  I’ve had my share of struggles, but thus far I’ve been spared the “biggies.” I tend to be fearful that a major tragedy of some sort will happen in my life, and I wonder if I’ll be able to handle it with grace and praise on my lips.  I wanted to learn from the experiences of these sisters in Christ – and I wanted to share what I learned with other women.  I believe that we all want to know what the secret to victory in Christ looks like.
I feel honored that God used me to get these women’s stories out there, and I’m thankful for the encouragement it has brought to so many readers.

Read the stories of ordinary women like you and me.  You’ll cry over their pain and loss, laugh at their humorous tidbits, rejoice in their victories and, hopefully, whisper a prayer for those who are still going through the floodwaters.  Be encouraged – our extraordinary God loves you!

 Here is an expert that tells about each "Ordinary Woman." Each woman tells her story in her own unique way.  Formats will vary, but faith in God ultimately shines through the darkness.  Each woman’s story reveals a facet of Holy God’s plan for our lives.  Without further ado, let me introduce you to these lovely – and extraordinary women:

--Gretchen:  At 42 years old, she’d made peace with the fact she would never have a child.  She was content serving God in children’s ministry.  Then, a miracle occurred and she discovered she was pregnant.  She was ecstatic – until the baby became ill even before birth and then lived only two months in the NICU.  Her story shows how we can praise God in the midst of loss and pain.

--Kyla:  She’d been a foreign missionary serving God among tribal people for 22 years when she received the shock of her life.  Right in front of her eyes, her 19-year old son, a Christian raised on the mission field and soldier in the Army, was arrested for armed robbery of a bank.  He was convicted and sent to prison for ten years.  Her story reminds us that God could have kept her son from having a part in the robbery, but He allowed it to happen, and we can learn to trust His purposes.

--Judy:  Her husband Bobby left for work as maintenance man at a Christian school before she woke that morning.  When she kissed him at bedtime the night before, she was unaware she’d never see him alive again.  He had a massive heart attack at work and she was suddenly thrust into widowhood.  Her story shows the tender hand of God as He prepares the way before us.

--Sharon:  She went from being a happy homemaker and fitness instructor to being beset by trial after trial and then becoming a fighter of cancer in various parts of her body.  Six years ago, one of her great desires was to see her little one year old granddaughter celebrate one more Christmas.  She has now celebrated six Christmases and has five grandchildren.  God has given her peace as she undergoes treatment for yet another cancer diagnosis.

--Mary:  Her 22-year old son Chas was a handsome, hard-working young man, friendly and loved by all who knew him.  He’d just asked his girlfriend to marry him and they had looked at engagement rings that week.  Mary’s phone rang that morning with the sudden news that Chas was dead, killed instantly when his work truck ran off the road on a foggy curve and crashed into a tree.  Her story reminds us how God will be there with us in our darkest hour.

--Elizabeth:  With two teenagers at home and a thriving career as a teacher and writer, she began losing control of her body and was crushed to hear a diagnosis of MS.  Gradually, the disease crept through her muscles until she needed help with even the simplest functions.  Still in the prime of life, how do you cope with day to day dependence and an unknown future?  How do you redefine your identity?

--Eleanor:  A single mother struggling to support herself and two young children, asked God to provide them with a home.  He answered her prayer and the miracle of that event still bolsters her faith.  Her story shows God’s hand of mercy as He lovingly provides for His children.

--Lora:  How do you forgive the man who murdered your mother?  When she was only 14 years old, her mother, a Christian school teacher, was brutally shot and killed by a student in a school shooting.  Although the pain of her loss still haunts her, she reveals how God changed bitter hatred into full forgiveness.

--Sandy:  She watched her active, young husband become an invalid after his liver failed and a liver transplant backfired so badly he spent 20 months in ICU before finally succumbing to pneumonia.  As she copes with this tragedy, she also cares for two young daughters who have insulin-dependent diabetes – and are heartbroken at the loss of their Daddy.  Her constant comfort is the fact that God knew all of this was going to happen and He is in control of it all.

--Cindy:  When she was born, the doctor said, “We never should have let this baby live.”  Her childhood was beset by surgeries, struggle and guilt.  Even though she was saved in her mid-teens and married a Christian, she was still haunted by guilt and feelings of worthlessness.  Continuing health problems added to the toxic mix and divorce was the result.  How does God heal gaping spiritual and emotional wounds and bring about restoration?

--Shannon:  For ten years she and her husband prayed for a baby.  They even mortgaged their home to pay for rounds of in vitro and suffered the crushing failure of every effort.  Her husband turned to drugs and their marriage was on the verge of collapse when God stepped in and gradually healed every problem.  God works in mysterious ways His glory to show.

--Lynda & Chip:  While Lynda’s story is dramatic in itself, Chip’s story only makes their situation doubly difficult, so I had to include his amazing story alongside that of Lynda.  When Lynda suddenly became ill eight years ago and lost the ability to do almost anything, Chip was beside her, helping all the way, until she improved more than any doctor thought possible.  Then, six years later, as he sought to be a Good Samaritan on the interstate highway, a driver lost control and Chip’s leg was cut from his body.  What happens to Christians when the ax of tragedy falls twice?
Here is her contact information:
blog:  http://www.sandra-ramblingrose.blogspot.com/
public email is:  joyfulwriter@hotmail.com