When I get a moment (they are few and far between, but few is still something, right?), I tuck into a book, read an article, come across a thought-provoking message and think, this needs to be shared. Ruth’s Roundup is a post released once a month where I will share with you some content I have been engaging with over that month, or that I have written. You may laugh, cry, get mad, dig deeper, unfollow… who knows. Maybe it will be of use to you or someone you know. Happy browsing!
Life in exile in North Korea: Will you show Bae she isn’t alone? Open Doors – A very moving, powerful article with a video on one incredibly brave follower of Jesus. Open Doors do incredible work supporting persecuted Christians worldwide. I encourage you to read more, and to consider supporting them so they can help others who are facing imminent danger, intense suffering and certain death in many places for following Christ. They are risking their lives because they know Jesus. I am always immensely challenged and encouraged by believers in these incredibly frightening situations. They have real hope in times of hopelessness.
Praying for a new generation of prophetic preachers by David Robertson – I always love David’s ability to speak honestly, truthfully and to the point. He isn’t afraid to challenge the culture or the church. Really loved this article he wrote for Evangelicals Now.
Deeper by Dane Ortland – A wonderful book on looking to Jesus as we grow as Christians. It’s a practical book for those of us who want to go deeper with Christ and understand sanctification. Throughout, Ortland uses examples of Christians throughout history which are helpful. I particularly appreciated learning of the struggles of faith that Francis Schaeffer and C.S. Lewis both experienced, and how they knew the Lord in a fresh way much later in their faith journey. Dane’s book ‘Gentle and Lowly‘ was also an encouragement to me after I went through my cancer relapse. His writing is clear, helpful and easy to follow.
Blogging for God’s Glory in a Clickbait World by Benjamin Vrbicek and John Beeson – This book has been on my radar for a while. It was great to see the foreword was written by blogger and author Tim Challies. He reached out to me a while back in response to my blog post ‘Just a blogger?‘ when I was feeling particularly downcast about the purpose of my writing. I am also thankful for Benjamin Vrbicek who is the Managing Editor for Gospel Centred Discipleship where I am a part of their Writers Guild group. He champions writers of faith and I am thankful for this small book that he wrote with John Beeson. It is helping me to keep my focus on God, always looking to Him as I press on as a writer.
Freelancing for Journalists by Lily Canter and Emma Wilkinson – A practical book that I purchased as I was looking for some solid guidance on freelance writing. Although aimed at students entering the profession of journalism, they acknowledge that there are different ways into the industry. Hence why I am benefitting from their wisdom with no formal journalism qualification – yet. It’s a very helpful book with lots of practical guidance, resources, case studies and tips including: developing ideas, pitching, networking, providing great copy, finances, law, safety and ethics, branding and more. They also address the challenges that freelance journalists face and how there needs to be more training on freelancing within journalism courses. They have a fantastic website and active Facebook group which is worth checking out for the writers amongst you.
A Path of Our Own: Homemaking, Homeschooling, and Self-Employment – (Simply Living for Him podcast) – I needed to listen to this. I’ve been wrestling with a lot of doubt and uncertainty about the direction of my writing. It can send me off on a downward spiral pretty quick. These days are never helpful when I choose worry over trust, and anxiety over prayer. This podcast episode slowed my racing thoughts down for long enough to help me not to fear. Karen DeBeus has her heart set on Jesus and is honest about walking on a different path to those around her. She encourages me greatly.
How Do I Deal With Seasonal Depression? – I found this episode from the CCEF Podcast: Where Life and Scripture Meet deeply comforting and helpful. My mood took a bit of a downward spiral earlier in the week. I really should write about my experience of depression a little more. It’s not really seasonal – I think it’s just the trauma of a lot coming out. The dark days certainly don’t help. For me, depression is like a cloud that rolls in and sometimes is overcast for days. Some days the rain absolutely pours down persistently, hammering me constantly. Other days, rays of sunshine and joy seep through and the clouds break a little. Eventually, the clouds move on revealing blue sky and all seems easier and brighter again. I’m in the blue sky phase at the moment, but I was under a rain cloud for about three or four days earlier in the week.
Overcoming Parenting Overwhelm – Courageous Parenting with Isaac and Angie Tolpin – I’ve been following this podcast on and off for a while and really appreciate the wisdom that Isaac and Angie share. They have a weekly podcast for ‘Christian parents who want to equip confident Christian kids in an uncertain world’. I love that. They have been married for over 20 years and have nine children, so I sit up and listen to wisdom for life experience and honesty. I appreciate how they teach biblical truth and apply it to everyday situations in life and parenting.
No word of a lie, there were not any videos that have made it to the Roundup this month! I think I have been listening to more audio recently whilst doing jobs around the house. My YouTube history is filled with animated shows for my children. I’m not sure my readers would appreciate it as much. But Gecko’s Garage is a big hit over here. 1.24 million subscribers. You’re welcome. Just keeping it real.
My Blog Posts for January
The scars matter – ‘Every scar tells a story. Something happened to create it. When we think about scars, we may think about physical ones. Cuts from self-harm. Stitches from surgery. Marks that happened to us accidentally. Some we cannot recall ourselves. ‘How did that happen?’ we wonder, but we can’t remember the details. Other scars leave a lasting impression because they were put there by someone else. The details are sadly imprinted on the mind, and body, permanently. Some scars fade over time. Others are clearly visible all the time.
What about the scars we don’t see? The words of pain engraved in our minds. The emotional wounds we carry around with us.’
The Mustard Seed Mum: Can we agree to disagree? – ‘It seems that mothers and babies are labelled as soon as possible. Breast-feeder or bottle-feeder? Cloth nappies (diapers for my American readers!) or disposable ones? Dummy (pacifier!) or no dummy? We make decisions for these tiny humans and then get asked about it, compare ourselves (and our children) to others and spend half the time wondering if we made the right choice. Or is that just my experience?’
Lift up your eyes – ‘Whether we recognise our need for Jesus or not, the day and the night, the sun and the moon, the light and the dark are a reminder that time is passing. We roll from one season to another, spending so much time looking down, going from here to there. The end of January is already drawing closer. Time is ticking, precious and fleeting. So I encourage you to lift up your eyes with expectancy.’
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