Today I’m excited to welcome Paula Moldenhauer as she shares about her latest book.
Don’t you love it when God just drops something into your lap, throwing you on an adventure?
Earlier this month I was interviewed on All Bets Are Off about the first book in my fun new Christmas novella series, Tinseled Tidings (https://www.amazon.com/Tinseled-Tidings-3-Book-Series/dp/B077BWG77T). At the end of each of the books, there is an interview with the author (yours truly) discussing fun tidbits about each story.
That’s when it happened.
I’m typing along, answering a question, and I find myself telling readers that my Advent devotional would be a perfection companion to the story in The Joy Scrooge and that I’m pleased to offer it to them as a Christmas gift on my website.
So I got busy right away, contacted Carmen, my right-hand-gal at Free to Flourish Publishing, and she agreed to help me. Soul Scents: Flourish Selections for Advent was born!
Advent worship is especially precious to me, maybe because I didn’t even really know what Advent was going up in a tradition that didn’t celebrate Christmas. Oh we believed Jesus came to die for our sins, but we were taught that Christmas was of pagan origin and should be avoided.
My journey to celebrate at Christmas has been long and difficult, but one thing I learned when early on is that I love a good Advent devotion. I’m so excited to share mine with you! I pray you’ll download a free copy at www.paulamoldenhauer.com/gifts and that it will encourage you and lift your heart to worship Jesus in this special season! (If you prefer to read on Kindle, you can purchase it for 99 cents.) (https://www.amazon.com/Soul-Scents-Flourish-Selections-Advent-ebook/dp/B076ZVQY2S)
Selections for Advent begins by chronicling my journey from being a child who didn’t “believe in” Christmas to becoming an adult who longs to celebrate Jesus’ birth. It concludes with devotions designed to help all of us worship our Lord in this special season.
Please enjoy this sample, and Merry Christmas from my heart to yours!
Week Four ~ Vignettes of Worship
Day 2: Ella
Let everything that has breath praise the LORD.
~ Psalm 150:6 NIV
Little Ella’s big brown eyes shine as she raises her hands to God. A live porcelain doll, her head full of curls sways as she moves to the music, a contented smile gracing her tiny face. At three years old, Ella has no inhibition. She doesn’t notice us watching her.
We are not her audience.
Ella moves in praise to Jesus. The church people around her aren’t dancing. Here and there a solitary worshiper stands with hands raised, but most are simply quiet before the Lord, seated and meditative.
Ella is not mimicking the worship of others, nor is she held back by the more conservative expression of her elders. She simply follows the prompting in her heart.
An unexpected rush of tears comes as I watch. Ella’s worship, so genuine and innocent, paints a picture of adoration. There is no doubt in my mind that Ella loves her Creator and is showing Him through her little dance.
As I reflect on the Advent season, I think often of Ella. Such an innocent act of praise is a rare jewel in a rushed and busy world. I’m learning some things from that little girl.
First, Ella worships God as if no one watches. She dances without wondering if the person next to her thinks she’s inappropriate or awkward. She is not stifled by self-awareness. Ella just follows her desire to praise, expressing her heart in freedom.
It’s an important lesson for me to learn. To make my choices based on my love for Jesus instead of the approval of men.
With the hurts of my past came much accusation. Judgment. Pain. Now I know they were simply hisses from the accuser who tried to kill and destroy the garden of my heart. I will not live for men’s approval. I will live to bring joy to the heart of the One I love, the One who set me free. The One who loves me too.
Ella also comes to God in absolute joy and confidence. She didn’t doubt her worthiness to do such a thing. She doesn’t question if He likes her or her style of worship. Ella simply dances before God as the beloved daughter she is. The look of absolute joy in her face indicates that she feels His pleasure in her gift of praise.
I embrace this truth. In Him I am welcome. I am worthy. He likes me, and He likes every single offering I bring from my heart of love for Him.
I bring Him pleasure.
You, sweet, sweet friend, bring Him pleasure too.
In Him you are always welcome. Worthy.
He treasures your every offering of love.
Dearest Jesus, fill me to overflowing with Your love. I want to worship the Trinity in joy that cannot be held back. I want to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that You welcome my attention and delight in my worship. Help me follow You, give to You, worship You without wondering what anyone else will think. You are worthy of every ounce of worship within me. Show me how to express the love inside. Make it swell within, overwhelming me with the wonder of You. Show me how to express adoration. Capture me, heart and soul, and give my praise dancing feet.
Soul Scents: Flourish Selections for Advent offers four weeks of devotional thoughts, Scriptures, and prayers for meditation and worship in the weeks before Christmas. If you’re celebrating Advent with candles, you can use Sunday’s reading for reflection as you light the candles of hope, peace, joy, and love. It also includes a scripted prayer and suggestion for worship. Monday through Friday’s daily readings focus on concepts like Christmas memories, the Christmas tree, the Cross, celebration, nativity, and worship. On Saturday journal questions prompt reflection on the week’s worship experience.
Soul Scents: Flourish Selections for Advent is taken from weeks nine through twelve of the Soul Scents: Flourish thirteen-week devotional book. Additional content for reflection during the lighting of Advent candles and at the end of week is included only in this special holiday edition.
Author, speaker, and mom of four, Paula Moldenhauer encourages others to live free to flourish. She shares her message speaking at women’s events, and it permeates her written work. Paula has published over 300 times in non-fiction markets and has a devotional book series, Soul Scents. Her first published novella, You’re a Charmer Mr. Grinch, was a finalist in the ACFW Carol Awards. Her most recent publication, At Home with Daffodils, is included in Barbour’s A Bouquet of Brides collection which releases January of 2018. Paula served as ACFW Colorado coordinator and was on the founding board of the first local ACFW chapter in Colorado. Paula and her husband, Jerry, are adjusting to a sometimes-empty nest in Colorado. They treasure time with their growing family of adult children, spouses, and spouses-to-be. Paula loves peppermint ice cream, going barefoot, and adventuring with friends. Visit her at www.paulamoldenhauer.com