Merry Christmas! Download “Learning to Walk in Freedom” For Free on Christmas Day!

Tomorrow, for Christmas Day only, I am offering Learning to Walk in Freedom for free!

LTWIFreedom Christmas

If you or a friend receive a Kindle for Christmas, download away! If you have an iPhone or iPad, there is an app that lets you read books for Kindle. That’s what I use.

If you already downloaded Learning to Walk in Freedom, why not grab some other resources to help you start the year strong? Here are some of the resources I reference in Learning to Walk in Freedom.

 Relational Masks by friend and mentor Russell Willingham talks about more about the concept of core beliefs and how these false beliefs impact our relationship with God and with each other. He wrote another great book entitled Breaking Free: Understanding Sexual Addiction & the Healing Power of Jesus.

 Think Differently, Live Differently by friend Bob Hamp addresses how the way we think impacts our choices and the truth we live out of.


The Life You’ve Always Wanted: Spiritual Disciplines for Ordinary People by John Ortberg is an easy but challenging read with a new take on spiritual disciplines. Learn how to work spiritual disciplines into your everyday life.

And then some personal favorites, also referenced in Learning to Walk in Freedom:
Healing Is a Choice: 10 Decisions That Will Transform Your Life and 10 Lies That Can Prevent You From Making Them by Steve Arterburn. There is an accompanying workbook.

Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life by Henry Cloud and John Townsend.

Margin: Restoring Emotional, Physical, Financial, and Time Reserves to Overloaded Lives with Bonus Content by Richard Swenson.

Sacred Pathways: Discover Your Soul’s Path to God by Gary Thomas – finding your spiritual temperament with its traits, strengths, and pitfalls.

Enjoy! And spread the word 🙂

Monday Morning Meditation: Come Thou Long Expected Jesus

When was the last time you waited in eager anticipation of something to come?

A wedding? The birth of a child? A loved one coming to visit after a long journey?

Think about it for a minute. Think of how you felt. You were likely so excited it was almost as if your breath was caught in your chest.

This was the scene in Luke 2 after the birth of Jesus.

When Joseph and Mary brought the baby Jesus to the temple to be consecrated, there were two people there who had been waiting… and watching… and waiting.

If you are not familiar with the story, take a second to read it. Simeon and Anna had been in the temple, waiting. Simeon waited with a promise from God: he would not die before he saw the Messiah. We don’t know if Anna had a similar promise, but we do know that after the death of her husband, she prayed, fasted and praised God night and day in the temple.

They both waited – with expectation.

In the morning, O LORD,
you hear my voice;
In the morning,
I lay my requests before you
and wait in expectation. (Psalm 5:3)

Are you waiting in expectation this Christmas week? Or are you running around like a headless chicken trying to finish every last detail?

I encourage you – breathe. Stop where you are and sit. Grab a cup of coffee and just take 5 minutes to talk to Jesus. Set a timer if you need to. Welcome Him once again into your heart, and ask Him to take His place on the throne of your life.

Come, Thou long expected Jesus
Born to set Thy people free;
From our fears and sins release us,
Let us find our rest in Thee.

I pray that despite the busyness of the next few days, you would find your rest in the Lord as you wait in expectation for the celebration of His coming.

Monday Morning Meditation: Before I Formed You, I Knew You

“Before I formed you, I knew you.”
Jeremiah 1:5a

Sometimes, life feels totally random. Why am I going through this trial? we ask ourselves.

The way things fall into place (or don’t). The promotion that comes through “too late” (or doesn’t come at all). The risk you took because you thought it was God’s leading that works out marvelously (or doesn’t work out at all).

What makes the difference? Why do we sometimes succeed and sometimes…. not?

This verse from Jeremiah came to mind yesterday, and with them much comfort. Before I formed you, I knew you. This word translated “know” is yadaand it is used in a variety of contexts. It generally means “to know deeply.”

We all have a desire deep within our hearts to be known on an intimate level. Whether or not people know certain things about us can bring shame or relief. And yet Scripture informs us that the Creator of the universe knew us even before He knit us together in our mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13).

My son JJ in my womb

My son JJ in my womb

Before I formed you, I knew you.

My life is not random. The direction I go, the way God leads, the things He asks me to do were planned long before I was even in my mother’s womb. He knew me deeply, and continues to inform my steps as I acknowledge Him in all my ways (Proverbs 3:5-6).

Lord, on this Monday morning, help us to remember that we are known by an all-powerful God who bent down to earth, putting on flesh, in order to rescue us from our shame and hurt. Help us to act known, to walk out the knowledge that You had a plan for us before You formed us, and You are still carrying out that plan, even when we feel directionless. Thank You, Master. We give You our all. We allow You to be “God with us.” We pray in Jesus’ holy and powerful name, amen.

 

Learning to Walk in Freedom: Here What People Are Saying

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Read some new reviews of Learning to Walk in Freedom:

“Brenna has written a wonderful gem and a terrific resource. In almost 15 years of college ministry, I have witnessed students’ struggles with addiction, sexual brokenness, and controlling habits. This book provides an inspiring and holistic approach to helping us find freedom. She aptly encourages the reader towards intimacy with the Father, study of the Word, authenticity in community, and practical changes in behavior. I’m excited to use this as a resource with students on my campus.” Joseph Gavin, Chi Alpha Vermont

“I am privileged to have known the author since her college days and have seen the growth and maturity that freedom in Christ has developed in Brenna. This is a story of inspiration, rescue, and hope, but not just for the author. Like the traveler in Pilgrim’s Progress or Hinds Feet for High Places, Brenna leads the reader on a journey to meet the One who can help anyone learn to walk in freedom. Join her on the journey and find out for yourself.”
Mike Olejarz, National Chi Alpha Training Team

“This is a tremendous book, with so much depth and strength. It thrills the heart to read Brenna Kate’s testimony in the back of the book. Her journey in five steps is an easy read. God is so good to His children. We just haven’t truly let Him give us the freedom in our walk with Him, that He desires for us. This book will help the one seeking to walk in God’s freedom. Thank you, Brenna Kate. I will reread the book and will be sharing thoughts from the book at a local support group. Thank you for your obedience in writing this for the rest of us. For those who have not yet read the book, you’re in for a very special blessing. Again, THANKS.”
Nora S.

This excerpt is a continuation from yesterday:

Later that week, as I continued to cry out to God, He spoke clearly to me concerning some of my questions and struggles. Most of all, He called me to choose to trust Him, to rest in Him, and to allow Him to teach me. He beckoned me to go on a journey with Him, a journey to further whole- ness and freedom, choosing to believe He is who He says He is.

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:28–30)

Thus began this journey into my current understanding of true freedom. (You can read a full testimony in the back of this book.) I’m sure it’s not over. I invite you to join me where I am now.

Wherever you are on this journey, there is something to be learned from Him. Even if you’re not generally a praying person, I encourage you to pause. Pray the following for yourself as inspired by the Scripture above and prepare to dive into a new level of freedom in your life:

God, I come to You. I am weary, burdened, and I need Your rest. God, I lay down my heavy burden and take Your yoke upon my shoulders, whatever that means, because You say I can learn from You, in Your gentleness and humility of heart. Your yoke is easy and Your burden is light. God, help me to receive that, and prepare me to really hear from You as I read this book. I surrender to all that You have for me as I learn to walk in freedom. Amen.

Get your free copy of Learning to Walk in Freedom today!

Cover and interior design done by Rusty and Ingrid Creative

Freedom Friday: Get Learning to Walk in Freedom for Free Tomorrow!

Learning to Walk in Freedom is free tomorrow for Kindle!

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It will be my and Roy’s 11th wedding anniversary! So I’m celebrating by giving you the opportunity to download my book for Free!

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I’ll remind you again tomorrow! Help me spread the word 🙂

Here’s an excerpt from Learning to Walk in Freedom:

Freedom is my anthem—it has been my life’s theme. The questions that come with the word freedom are questions I continually ponder. The answers did not come easily.

I became a Christian at age 23. I came to Jesus with a lot of problems: an eating disorder, same-sex attraction, emotional dependency, self-injury, self-loathing, and chronic low self-esteem. My life was controlled by and revolved around my issues and trying to get rid of them.

I felt like I was drowning.

Why, if I had become a new creation in Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:17), did my life not feel all that changed? Why was I still dealing with the same issues? I had a crowd of people continually praying for me. I fasted for long periods of time. I devoured the Word of God and prayed my heart out, including interceding for complete strangers whose prayer requests I found on the Internet! I went to church, led Bible studies, and sang on the worship team. I was writing songs for God and serving Him every way I knew how.

And I was still drowning.

I remember the moment vividly. It was May of 2004 at a campus ministry conference. I was one of the leaders, the teachers, the ones with the knowledge—the answers. Still, I was gasping for air.

Drowning.

Is this it, God? 

I was walking around the old campus. There was a castle, and in the castle was a piano. I sat down at the piano to sing, to write, to think. (I sometimes think best while sitting at a piano.) I began to play, and this is what came out:

There must be more than this 

Over and over, I sang this to my Lord. Deep down in my soul, I expe- rienced God’s fingerprint. I knew He was real. And because I had already seen Him working in so many ways, I had to believe that there was more. I desperately needed to hear His voice tell me that all this striving, all this seeking wasn’t for nothing.

My Book "Learning to Walk in Freedom" Available for Kindle!

Learning to Walk in Freedom has been published!

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The Kindle version is now available! The paperback will take another month, but yes! There will be a paperback for my Kindle-less friends. Read what people are saying about Learning to Walk in Freedom (including the long versions of the reviews from the back cover):

“LEARNING TO WALK IN FREEDOM is just what is says—a guide to freedom. This booklet says more in its 80 pages than dozens of larger books I’ve read on the subject. It’s practical, field-tested, biblical and Spirit-taught. After working for over 20 years with sexually broken people I can heartily recommend this powerful little resource!” Russell Willingham, Director of New Creation Ministries and author of Breaking Free: Understanding Sexual Addiction and the Healing Power of Jesus and Relational Masks: Removing the Barriers that Keep Us Apart

“Jesus said in John 8:36, ‘So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free.’ That verse always gets a great reaction because we all desire to truly walk in freedom! Through 24 years of ministry and 40 years as a Christian I have observed that most Christians struggle to walk in the true freedom that Christ has made possible for us. In this book, Brenna Kate Simonds lays out five insightful and powerful points that will help any Christian expe- rience and walk in true freedom. I wish I had read this book earlier in my Christian life. It would have saved me years of wondering if I would ever be able to please God. I strongly recommend this book for any believer at any stage in their spiritual journey.” Jeff Jacob, Senior Pastor, Word of Life International Church, Ashburn, Virginia

“Brenna Kate makes it easy and approachable. It makes sense that her writing would be like her personality. With clarity, and honesty Brenna Kate shares both experience and truth providing an easily understood, and easily followed path in the process of living in Freedom.” Bob Hamp, LMFT, Author of Think Differently, Live Differently and Executive Pastor of Pastoral Care at Gateway Church, Southlake, TX

“Learning to Walk in Freedom is a small book that packs a mighty punch! The author throws light on the shadow that often exists between what we know to be truth and the reality of living in that truth. To know about freedom is one thing, but to live from a place of freedom requires the courage to engage with others and expose those shameful core beliefs that keep us imprisoned in wrong thinking and behaviour. Using her own journey away from lesbianism, an eating disorder, and other damaging behaviours, Brenna Kate Simonds succeeds in offering the reader opportunity to access their own expedition through life and use some of the checks and pointers as they pursue that promised abundant life in Christ.” Jeanette Howard, Director of Bethany Life Ministries and author of Out of Egypt: One Woman’s Journey Out of Lesbianism and Into the Promised Land: Beyond the Lesbian Struggle

Get your copy of Learning to Walk in Freedom today!

Cover and interior design done by Rusty and Ingrid Creative

Freedom Friday: What I Have, I Give

Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you.” Acts 3:6

I’ve always loved the story of Peter, John, and the man lame from birth at the temple gate called Beautiful. At a campus ministry training event in 2001, I chose it as my passage from which to lead a Bible study. This week, I needed to lead a class in a 5-minute devotional. Since the topic of the class is the book of Acts, this passage seemed a natural choice.

One thing I love about Scripture is how it can speak different things to you depending on where you are and what you need. I originally loved this passage because I loved the story of healing. Oh, how I wanted to see God work in that way in my life! I also love the change in Peter after receiving the fullness of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. But what it spoke to me this week was very different.

“The grass is always greener” mentality infiltrates so many areas of my life. I wish I had her house, his fame, her job, or his joy. But I found lately that envy has taken root in a surprising area of my life.

Anyone who knows me for 10 minutes knows I’m a Christian. I love Jesus, and because of that, I talk about Him. He naturally comes up in conversation. And yet, I have never actually watched anyone become a Christian.

Whenever I take those spiritual gift tests, no matter what the variety, the gift of evangelist/evangelism never even makes the top 10. Teacher? Yes. Exhorter? Yes. Compassion, music, encouragement? Yes. Evangelism? Never.

Do I sometimes feel bad about this? Yes, to be honest. In fact, 2 weeks ago in class, I asked my pastor if he thought everyone has the gift of evangelism. The answer was a bit complicated, and not the point of this post. As I read Acts 3 again this week and reflected on that discussion, this came to mind:

Thou shalt not cover thy neighbor’s gifts.

I am reminded of the apostle Paul’s writings concerning the body.

“If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be.” 1 Corinthians 12:17-18

Just as He wanted them to be.

I cannot give what I do not have, but I still have a lot to give. I may never be gifted at evangelism, and I’m OK with that. Instead of being envious of the skills of others, I will continue to declare as Peter declared, “What I do have, I give.”

I wrote a song some years ago called “You.” You can hear a rough recording:

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Some lines from the song are particularly relevant.

I know there are songs to be sung,
And there are wars to be won
And there are wrongs to be undone

I know there are songs to be sung, 
And there are wars to be won 
And there are wrongs to be undone 

And I don’t have that much to give
But there’s no other way to live

*****

God, I do not have that much to give – but I know that living a surrendered life is the only way to truly live for You. And so what I do have, I give.