#LiveChosen: Step Out in Faith

Ladies and gents, today I’d like to share my friend, author and youth pastor Tabitha Caplinger, with you. She’s a treasure trove of wisdom, and today she’s sharing about a snippet from her devotional, Daughters Arise, about stepping out in faith.

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November of last year I released my first novel, The Chronicle of the Three: Bloodline. Alongside it I published a companion devotional, Daughters Arise. My hope was that beyond writing a story that would entertain I could offer glimpses of my faith and the hope we have in Christ. I want young women to understand their worth and purpose. To that end I took small moments in the lives of my fictional characters to highlight lessons we can use to live chosen ourselves. Below is an excerpt from Daughters Arise.

   

    “I know it’s hard, but I need you to trust me on this one. I wouldn’t make you move right now if I didn’t believe it was the right thing.” Claire calmly patted the sofa next to her.

    Zoe studied the empty spot next to Claire with squinty eyes before walking over and plopping down next to her aunt, anger melting under another round of hot tears.

    “I’m scared.” She stared down at her fingers, picking at chipped nail polish.

    “Of a new place? Making new friends?”

    Zoe let out an imprisoned breath. “That moving means leaving them behind.” Her eyes reached Claire’s, more tears hanging on the edge. She bit her bottom lip in a failed effort to quell them.

    “Aww, Zo. This is just a place. An important one for sure, but just a place.” Claire wrapped an arm around her shoulder and pulled her close, letting her head rest against Zoe’s. “The memories can be taken anywhere.” (Excerpt from The Chronicle of the Three: Bloodline)

 

God has chosen you. You are not the consolation prize to Him dying on the cross. You were never the default option. No, God in all His omniscience, His eternal knowledge, chose you. He saw you, where you are, exactly like you are and made a very conscious decision to love you.

Don’t believe me?

 

1 Peter 2:9 ESV

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.

 

John 15:16 ESV

You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.

 

Jeremiah 1:5 ESV

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.

 

And He didn’t just choose you, He chose you for a purpose. He has plans for you. Good plans. Great plans. Plans that are better then even the best plans you can dream up. And He wants to get you to that place, to those plans, more than you want to get to them. It’s easy right? Or maybe it’s not. Why? If God has chosen us, made great plans for us, and wants to see us succeed in them then why isn’t it easy?

 

Because we make it hard.

 

Maybe we don’t believe God really loves us. Maybe we don’t trust enough in the character of God to believe that His plan is the best plan. Maybe we think we know better. Maybe we are just afraid.

 

Afraid of the unknown. Afraid of what we are leaving behind. Afraid we will fail.

 

In the opening book excerpt we see a young girl who is afraid of what is to come. She is afraid of forgetting where she came from, who she is. What she doesn’t know is that what is coming will show her who she really is and she won’t have to forget where she came from, because that will be the foundation for everything. It is the same with us. We follow, we step out in faith and God reveals the real us. The one He sees behind the fear and facades. And He uses our past, good or bad, to propel us forward; the Great Revealer and Great Redeemer.

 

Romans 8:28 ESV

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

 

Faith is scary. It can be risky because we don’t always see the outcome of that first step. We want it all mapped out for us with all the details given and questions answered. It doesn’t work that way. Because while God has chosen you for a purpose He loves you just for you. And the person you are is more important to God then the things you will do. He knows that we grow and learn with each step we take, especially when we have to choose to take it in faith rather than bowing to fear.

 

How do we step out in faith?

 

We get to know who we are following. When you spend time with Jesus, really getting to know who He is. Not the surface Sunday School stories but the deep layers of His character, then we can really trust Him. And when we can trust Him because we have learned His promises and seen His faithfulness and felt His unending love, we need not fear His plans. Knowing God means knowing that He really does know best and even when I don’t have all the details I can follow His path, His plan.

 

Proverbs 3:5-6 MSG

Trust God from the bottom of your heart, don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go,  he’s the one who will keep you on track.

 

The best part of all of this is while you are drawing closer to God, while you are growing in your faith and maturity, you are also getting ever closer to the abundant, joyful, successful, life that He dreamed up for you in the very beginning. Remember…

 

You are chosen. You are safe. You are loved.

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Tabitha Caplinger has been in student ministry for close to 15 years, and currently pastors at Faith Community Church in House Springs, Missouri with her husband Brian. They have two sassy daughters, Lila and Rory. Student Ministry is core to who Tabitha is; she loves discipling others and helping them see themselves through Jesus’ eyes. Her goal is for every young woman to be confident that, “she is loved more than she will ever know by someone who died to know her.”

When not working, Tabitha and her family like taking in a good movie or walking through the park. She also admits to being a little obsessed with TV.

Connect with Tabitha online:

Facebook: Tabitha Caplinger

Twitter: @pastortabitha

Website: http://www.tabithacaplinger.com

Visit Tabitha Caplinger on Goodreads

 

5 Reasons You Should Read #TCO3Bloodline by Tabitha Caplinger

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About The Chronicle of the Three: Bloodline (from Amazon):

Zoe thought the loss of her parents would be the most difficult thing she’d ever have to endure. When she began seeing things she couldn’t explain in her new home of Torchcreek, Virginia, she was sure the grief was driving her mad. Instead Zoe discovers she is part of an ancient bloodline, one destined to prevent the powers of darkness from condemning the world. But Zoe, the daughter of the three, isn’t just another descendant–she’s the key to humanity’s salvation. In this first installment of the Christian fantasy trilogy The Chronicle of the Three, Zoe Andrews learns that not all shadows are harmless interceptions of light. Some are a more sinister darkness that wants to torment the soul.

About Tabitha Caplinger (from Amazon):

Tabitha and her husband, Brian, have been in youth ministry for close to 15 years. Both are ordained ministers with the Assemblies of God and are the student pastors at Faith Community Church in House Springs, Missouri where they live with their two sassy daughters. Writing has slowly crept its way into Tabitha’s ministry calling and vision. At present her heart is set on fiction. She loves the drama of storytelling and getting lost in imagination along with creating characters who’s lives have a message. She believes that stories can bring to life the Gospel in a way no sermon can. Her desire is to craft a story that would minister to and motivate young adults in their faith. She also has a TV addiction for which she does not plan to get help anytime soon.

You can connect with Tabitha on her website/blog, Twitter, and Facebook.

My review:

I give The Chronicle of the Three: Bloodline by Tabitha Caplinger 4.5 out of 5 stars.

I kind of don’t know where to start with this book, so I decided to make a list, since lists help when I’m feeling all the feels and thinking all the thoughts. So without further ado, here are five reasons you should read TCO3: Bloodline by Tabitha Caplinger:

  1. You will not be able to put it down. I’m not just saying that the story and characters and setting keep the reader engaged (that’s important); I’m saying it’s so engaging, there is no good stopping point, and so you have to keep reading. This is how a normal morning goes for me: read a book, read the news when I need a break from that, read blogs when I need a break from that, browse social media when I need a break from that, and go back to the book when I’ve exhausted everything else. (I have a job that allows for this, in case you were wondering). This is how yesterday morning went for me: read TCO3: Bloodline. I couldn’t put it down, and you won’t be able to either.
  2. The characters. I loved them all, but I related best to Claire – single, thirties (although I’m not in my thirties, my older sisters informed me last month, I am approaching them), sings while she cooks, rises to the occasion of raising her niece (without the resentment of the aunts in No Reservations and Raising Helen), kicks butt and takes numbers. (I mean, obviously, this is my kind of woman). There were moments with other characters, too: Maggie, who can’t imagine why anyone might want to be her friend; Daniel, coming to an understanding that choices aren’t always easy; and Zoe – God bless Zoe – full of an unapologetic optimism in redemption for everyone.
  3. Spiritual warfare in the physical realm. Caplinger takes the important theme of spiritual warfare and brings it to a physical realm.  I don’t just mean that the story takes place here on earth, or that there are emotional battles being fought (though that is the case); I mean there are literal battles. Much of the fiction I’ve read that deals with spiritual warfare, doesn’t include physical fighting. (The Field didn’t until it’s most recent edition, and even now, it’s minimal). I was really impressed with this element, and I think it brought the reality of spiritual warfare to the next level.
  4. There are a lot of fun moments. Yes, TCO3: Bloodline deals with spiritual warfare, but life goes on around it. There is breakfast, and pie, and singing, and dancing, and witty repartee. It’s very … normal. (It could happen to any of us…ooh).
  5. It’s a great alternative to much of what exists in the YA market. This is both praise for Caplinger and Vox Dei Publishing (full disclosure: my publisher) because they have managed to bring a story that contains the classic elements of YA fiction (difficulties navigating high school relationships, a romantic element, and intrigue, to name a few), yet manages to empower teens at the same time. The teens in this story are kind and brave and relatable (i.e. not perfect), and they also have mentors who care for them and speak into their lives, something that is all-too-often missing in YA fiction, and perhaps in real life. (Let’s bring that back, shall we?)

The only thing I wasn’t quite sure about was the relationship between Michael and Claire, but overall, I couldn’t get enough of TCO3: Bloodline, and am eagerly awaiting the sequel.

To read about my trust issues concerning unfinished series, click here. The struggle is real.

Full Disclosure: While Tabitha and I share a publisher, and I did win the TCO3: Bloodline ebook at a party, this review was unsolicited, and as with all my reviews, is my unadulterated opinion.