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The very word 'Entwined' has such beautiful meaning. To weave together. Despite life's unexpected circumstances, setbacks, disappointments, and seemingly hopeless situations, God's plans are intricately being woven into each day. We often fail to see the beauty of God's perfect plan as He personally writes the chapters of our story until we can reflect on all that He did during those hard seasons.
Do you want to experience each chapter of your life with a trust and faith in God's perfect plan? The pages of Entwined contain the journals of God working in the lives of two very different life stories. Entwined will give you fresh hope to face whatever chapter is currently being written in your own life. To know that what is unexpected to you is never a surprise to God. Giving you faith in the perfect plan being written by the Master Author that you can --
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The Notebook Cafe & Co. Publishing Presents
E N T W I N E D
Giving Him Control...to weave your perfect life story.
Now in it's third printing.
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The Notebook Café -- Inspired Words for the Journey is an online cafe community of readers looking for inspiration and encouragement in this journey. Shelly Thompson is Publisher of The Notebook Café and author of the book, Entwined by The Notebook Café & Co. Publishing. Shelly has a passion for writing what God places in her heart. Taking a giant leap of faith she left the corporate world to pursue a dream God gave her of developing a monthly inspirational faith based online reading café. Today, The Notebook Café reaches almost 30,000 people each month. She has found the road in unknown territory is not always easy, BUT GOD always finds a way to bring about what He has promised. Shelly has also developed The Notebook Café Annual Woman's Conference each October. Shelly lives in Des Moines, Iowa, with her husband. They spend time with their parents, three daughters, seven grandlittles, and many weekends working on home renovation projects…that thankfully never seem to end.
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We hope you'll enjoy reading the introduction to Entwined.
Giving Him control to weave...your perfect life story.
Entwined…the very word has such a beautiful meaning. To weave together. God brought Entwined to life by weaving together two very different stories.
Entwined takes two lives through difficult seasons of tragedy, unexpected battles, grief, heartbreak, despair, anger, bitterness, and hopelessness, sprinkled with seasons of peace, joy, hope, abundance, patience and understanding. The journals that were originally penned by hand contained on the pages of this book show regardless of what season we’re walking in we can be sure that God is right there with us. Bringing us one step closer...even if only one tiny step…to increase our faith in Him so that our hearts are entwined with His for eternity.
As I look back over the years leading to the release of Entwined, I can honestly say I am absolutely, astounded, amazed, and in complete awe of how God brought Entwined together. I can say with absolute certainty…it could only be God. When most writers coauthor a book, they meet, collaborate over coffee, and discuss the story and flow of the book. I never met Brenda in this life. I never had a conversation with her. I never heard her laugh. She never called my cell phone. I don’t know what her favorite purse looked like. Yet God uniquely ‘Entwined’ our life stories bringing us together to coauthor a book. When my husband Dave and I, accompanied by our youngest daughter Brittany, moved to Walnut, Iowa, in July 2004, I was completely unsuspecting of the adventure God was about to take me on.
I had been on a journey completely away from God. Away from the roots of my faith I grew up believing. I didn’t realize when we moved to Walnut that just a short distance from where I lived there was a woman that God was about to bring into my life in a mighty way. Brenda Hamilton. Brenda was a much loved school teacher in Walnut. She was also the wife of Ron Hamilton, and mother of three young children, Zach, Dillan, and Maddie. Brenda had recently been diagnosed with Stage 4B Cervical cancer and was facing an unexpected and unplanned battle that brought new challenges each day.
Our two journeys could not have been more different. But God chose to bring them together in His unique and loving way. Shortly after moving to Walnut I reluctantly accepted an invitation to a small Bible Study group that was just forming. Honestly, I only accepted and attended out of obligation. I wanted to be nice to the person who invited me. I never expected to become a regular member of the Bible Study. But it was there in that Bible Study that God introduced me to the faithful friends of Brenda Hamilton. Brenda and I shared a common bond…we were each fighting a battle. Brenda was battling cancer. Her new normal had become medical tests, treatments, unfamiliar medical jargon, and waiting for unknown answers. Brenda’s battle was increasing her trust in God. She was learning to give God complete control over her life and circumstances…regardless of the outcome. I was battling a mother’s heartbreak over the sexual molestation of my four-year-old daughter twenty years before. The years of my battle had severed the trust I once placed in God. How could I trust a God who couldn’t protect a four-year-old? A God who seemed to do as He pleased. I had become driven by work, self-reliance, and complete control of my life and my destination…there’s a song with a line in it that sums up my attitude perfectly at that time…‘I did it my way.’
Brenda’s battle with cancer was leading her closer to God. I was on a different path. My years of battle had turned me away from Him. Brenda and I shared a love of writing. Sharing from the deepest part of our hearts on our journal pages. After moving to Walnut I eventually gave up my corporate position and began consulting. I wrote articles for newsletters and even began writing a column for a church in the local newspaper. In September 2005, God brought Brenda to the eternal home she wrote about many times in her journals. God granted Brenda much more time than her physician’s expected. Brenda’s husband, Ron, was familiar with my columns in the newspaper. He eventually gave me the hand penned journals of Brenda to place into print. I knew Brenda’s story through the prayers offered by Brenda’s friends at the small Bible Study group I now regularly attended. During the course of placing Brenda’s journal entries into my laptop each day, God began to work in my heart. While Brenda was physically absent and I had never met her, I spent months with Brenda’s words…exposing the deepest part of her heart through her journal entries…wondering if her tears stained the pages, but finding a God I had long forgotten. Through this process God opened my heart to the pain and anger that had been buried since my daughter’s sexual molestation years before.
It was through this process that God began bringing Entwined together. God was beautifully weaving these two stories together. The journeys of two women who never met on earth, but were eternally entwined. Different stories. Different endings. But the same God. The God who brought us to trust in Him no matter what the season. Regardless of the circumstance. No longer needing to know the outcome. Giving all the control…all the control...to God…to write the perfect story.
We often try and write our own life stories. We write the plots of our journeys, determine the flow of our lives, and structure the endings as we want them…but, God…as he creates us, He knits together the journey’s we will each make. His words speak over us. He knows the disappointments that will come into our lives. He is fully aware of each tear we will cry and every doubt we will ever experience as we turn the pages of our lives. He is the author of our story and the Perfecter of our faith. As the Magnificent Author, He too creates characters, not as a human author, but as a loving and tender Heavenly Father. The design of the book covers of our lives is created by the Master Designer.
It is my prayer that Entwined deeply touches your heart as you read our stories. Two women whose feet walked the brick lined streets of the same quaint little town, but our paths never crossed. Until…God intricately weaved our stories together in this book. As you read the words penned in this book I hope you will truly begin to understand that God’s plans have amazing endings we can’t see. Even if we begin to challenge the Master Author wanting to take the pencil from His hand and rewrite, or even erase, the lines of the story that we are living. He knows He will make the chapters of our life perfect…in His time. He’s building the heart of His characters to trust Him in each chapter of life…and completely for eternity.
The love of the Master Author for His children even through difficult seasons of their lives is abundant. Entwined beautifully demonstrates how God can take the ashes of tragedy, despair, disappointments, and heartbreak and turn them into something that has a depth of beauty that can only come through suffering. He can take the moments that seem to pierce our hearts and in His time, transform them into legacies that He can use to help write the stories of those yet unknown to this world. He develops His characters by providing them with enormous leaps of faith…dramatic suspense…triumph over tragedies…courage over fear…beginnings over endings…
Brenda and I both desired to trust in His plan. While there were times we each begged to take the pencil and edit our stories…we learned…to have faith in the Author. The Perfecter. The ending He would ultimately write.
The journals on the pages of this book are two lives, two stories, of two women that never met…woven into one beautiful story of God’s grace and redemptive love. Entwined by a God, who weaves us to Himself, through each chapter…every step of our journey…bringing us to a brand new never ending story in Chapter 1…the Eternal Story.
But there’s so much more before we get there and are entwined for our eternal story. Entwined will give you hope and encouragement whatever chapter in life you find yourself in right now. And, after you’re done reading Entwined, the line of the song…‘I did it my way’…will be just that, lines of the song and not the title to the story of your life.
God’s abundant Grace, Wisdom, and Discernment as you settle in and read…
These pages are full of real life inspiration and encouragement as you get to know the heart of the Master Author in a personal way and begin to trust, no matter what, God is personally weaving together...your perfect life story.
Know with certainty God is weaving His perfect plan in every single detail, regardless of what you can humanly see
Understand that despite any mistakes you make, your fears or failures, nothing can stop His plan for your story
Give God complete control to weave your perfect life story
Be assured of the beauty of God's grace, forgiveness, and depth of love for you