I LOVE to hear how people are moved by Closer Than Your Breath. As I read the comments, I think what a blessing it is to have been able to share such an intimate part of my life and how healing it is to see others finding hope in the words.

If you have read the book PLEASE leave a review of it on Amazon. Honest reviews help others with their decision to include the book on their bookshelves. Help spread the word of the healing power by posting a review. Here is an amazing review posted not to long ago: I am humbled by this story.

"Closer Than Your Breath" did as promised - gave me Hope! Divorce was part of a larger question and a larger pain for me.

For one who has always felt God loves me only on the all-too-rare occasions when I'm sure I've done right, and hates and turns away from me as I consistently fail to meet His standards, this book was a God-send, quite literally.

I don't mean to make this review about me, but I too hope that this may help someone else to read and hear the Voice that I heard speak throughout "Closer Than Your Breath".

Sad to say, a Jesus that is genuinely on our side in loving approval was a new concept for me.

I'd always known He covered my sins with His blood, knew I was commanded to pray without ceasing...yet I'd never really thought about Why, except from my own guilty perspective.

I'd never really thought of Him loving me, wanting me to talk to Him, because He wants a relationship with me! Amazing. Not only my worship, but my thoughts, hopes, fears, and absolute confidence. And all my love.

I've realized I've held myself aloof from Him because I knew I wasn't good enough for Him...isn't that silly?

He is the Healer and the Lover of my Soul! I am learning now to Run to Him. To Thank him from my whole heart, as I'd thank a Friend who forgives all my flaws, which He is. 

I am moving forward with my life, now, knowing He will direct my steps with love, My life has been Illuminated, my spirit set free and full of Hope. Thank You, Beth Cook Maranville!

Bailey McKay, 
Alpharreta, GA

PictureMarsha and me at Inklings!
I just could not believe it when I was told that Inklings, the amazing book store at Denver's Cherry Hills Community Church wants to carry Closer Than Your Breath on their shelves! Wow! What an honor!

If you live in Denver you will be interested to know that Inklings was named after a gathering of authors including J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. All proceeds from the sales directly support church ministry. 

Inklings offers a wide selection of Christian books, music, cards, gifts and more. Inklings carries various Cherry Hills Community Church resources, including their own worship music recordings and audio sermons by Senior Pastor, Shane Farmer.

If you live in the Denver area, please stop by this beautiful worship center to pick up your very own copy of Closer Than Your Breath. 

p.s. I signed every copy in the store.

I'm honored to have Claudia Campbell's girl "Surrender" on the cover of Closer Than Your Breath! I just received this message from Claudia last week.

Dear Beth,

I received your book and after two weeks out of town with family, I am finally having time to read your amazing story.  I am forwarding this meditation because it says so much about that place of rest that kept appearing as you learned to trust God with literally everything that had defined your life.  I can't imagine the suffering of being separated from my children.  Mine were taken from me in other ways - not by a mean or malicious husband or such devastating circumstances.  Thank you for sharing your story.  A story that is honest and real and a story that will no doubt be used to help many many other women who are struggling.  What a gift you have given to the world through your healing journey.  My heart is full of joy and praise to God.

May you be blessed beyond measure as you receive the fruits of this labor of love.

Keep me posted on the developments and thank you for allowing me to have a small part in this miracle.


See more of her art here: claudiacampbell.com

Here is the meditation attached to the email:

Richard Rohr's Daily Meditation Becoming Who You Are A Riverbed of Mercy Thursday, June 12, 2014 
There is something in you that is not touched by coming and going, by up and down, by for or against, by the raucous team of totally right or totally wrong. There is a part of you that is patient with both goodness and evil, exactly as God is. There is a part of you that does not rush to judgment or demand closure now. Rather, it stands vigilant and patient in the tragic gap that almost every moment offers.

God is a riverbed of mercy. It is vast, silent, restful, and resourceful, and it receives and also lets go of all the comings and goings. It is awareness itself (as opposed to judgment itself), and awareness is not, as such, “thinking.” It refuses to be pulled into the emotional and mental tugs of war that most of life is. To look out from this untouchable silence is what we mean by contemplation.

In her book The Interior Castle, St. Teresa of Avila says, “The soul is spacious, plentiful, and its amplitude is impossible to exaggerate . . . the sun here radiates to every part . . . and nothing can diminish its beauty” (I, 2). This is your soul. It is God-in-you. This is your True Self.

Adapted from Immortal Diamond: The Search for Our True Self, p. 23

Gateway to Silence:
Love is the presence of God within me.

Copyright © 2014 Center for Action and Contemplation
1705 Five Points Rd SW, Albuquerque, NM 87105 (physical) 
PO Box 12464, Albuquerque, NM 87195-2464 (mailing) 
(505) 242-9588

This Thursday (6/26) on The Good News with Angie Austin more of the chicks for the kicks or the official title, The Christian View

Join Angie Austin, Michelle Rahn, and me for fun on the radio! We'll have a wonderful discussion about family, boundaries, and consequences. You don't want to miss this one!

The new segment airs Thursday (6/26) at 2pm on 670 KLTT and at 5pm on 810 KLVZ or stream online at www.angieaustinradio.com.

Please listen and thank you for the amazing support for Closer Than Your Breath.

What : Good news and Inspirational stories of hope and healing.. With a few laughs thrown in.

This Thursday (6/19) on The Good News with Angie Austin more of the chicks for the kicks or the official title, The Christian View

Join Angie Austin, Michelle Rahn, and me for fun on the radio! I'm not sure what Angie will put on the table for discussion... but whatever  the topic, you know you'll get three very different perspectives from the three of us. 

The new segment airs Thursday (6/19) at 2pm on 670 KLTT and at 5pm on 810 KLVZ or stream online at www.angieaustinradio.com.

Please listen and thank you for the amazing support for Closer Than Your Breath.

What : Good news and Inspirational stories of hope and healing.. With a few laughs thrown in.

PictureMy Daddy (JD Cook)
"Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion?” Luke 11:11-12, ESV

This is the weekend we each remember our father…or Daddy, as we Southerners call our paternal one. I love this Bible verse in the book of Luke because it speaks to the unconditional love that, hopefully, we get from Dad. But some of us don’t. Maybe because our father has died or disappointed us or maybe even deserted us at one time or another.

The wonderful news is that regardless whether we have a great earthly father or not, our Heavenly Father is always there for us, loving us all along, no matter what we've done, good or bad.

There’s nothing we can do to make Him love us any more or any less.

And, like a good daddy, He’s watching out for us…always. No snakes, no scorpions. Just plain and simple more-than-we-can-ever-ask-or-think Love.

In my life, two things go hand-in-hand that will jerk my peace right out from under me every single time I give them a chance: anxiety and distraction. Actually one leads to the other and it matters not which one comes first.

It’s interesting to me that God seems to want to use words that start with the fourth letter of the alphabet to communicate with me these days. “The D Words” in Closer Than Your Breath was the start of this happening. Some of the words that have drawn me closest to God also start with D: daughters, divorce, Doc, drugs…a real mixture of wonderful and hellacious.

Last week He brought another one to my mind: deliberate. When I’m overwhelmed or afraid or anxious or fill-in-the-blank, I have a hard time focusing on anything except whatever tool the enemy is using to take my trust away and focus off God.

I’m quick to forget what Psalm 112 says about a godly man/woman. The scripture points out that he/she will never be shaken and will have no fear of bad news, that his/her heart is steadfast and secure, trusting in the Lord. Sometimes I feel as confident and unwavering as Mount Everest. Then there are those times when Satan throws at me what seems like his best shot, right at my most vulnerable spot and then BAM! I am wavering and unsure and scared despite my best attempts to stay strong on my own.

This week the Lord impressed on me that I need to be deliberate in my actions, otherwise I’m just unfocused, double-minded (another D word) and unstable in all my ways.

The first morning I decided to be deliberate aka single-minded and focused, was amazing.

As I brushed my teeth, I didn’t worry about any of the things that Satan would love to torture me with (and he does keep a laundry list). I simply brushed my teeth and only thought about that task. When I took a shower, once again, I spent every minute on just doing what I needed to do to get clean. And so my morning followed the routine: getting dressed, eating breakfast, driving to a meeting. I didn’t multi-task or get in a hurry or allow the enemy to steal my joy or take me to a place of fear. I just thought about one thing at a time and kept my mind stayed on the Author and Finisher of my faith who has a great plan for my life.

As I went to bed that night, I could feel God’s wonderful peace over me. He had given me hope that there actually is a simple, practical…dare I say…dependable way to stay focused on Him and minimize the distractions the devil so wants to use against me.

Satan does not want us to be clear-headed. He does not want us to have the mind of Christ which is very ordered and clear, fearless, full of love and is sound. He wants us confused and shaking in our tracks, and totally forgetful that God is in control and has great plans for our lives.

When we’re going through big stresses, it’s the hardest time to be deliberate. We’ll lose sleep, can’t eat, can’t think straight, can’t fill our minds with the promises God’s given us. The same confusion that the enemy tried to use to trip Jesus up in the desert is the same game he tries to use on us now.  It’s up to us to play his fool or do what Jesus did and tell him to get lost.

Let the peace of God keep your heart and stay your mind.

Close the door to double-mindedness. Don’t be deceived. Say no to distraction. Get determined. Get disciplined. Get deliberate.

Get on it!

"You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you." Isaiah 26:3, ESV

Psalm 24:14b

"Surely the righteous will never be shaken; [...] They will have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the LORD.
Their hearts are secure, they will have no fear; in the end they will look in triumph on their foes." Psalm 112:6a, 7-8, NIV

 "he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways." James 1:8, ESV

"looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God." Hebrews 12:2, ESV

“For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ."  1 Corinthians 2:16

"for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control." 2 Timothy 1:7

 "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope." Jeremiah 29:11

"Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” But he answered, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple 6 and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written, ‘He will command his angels concerning you,’ and ‘On their hands they will bear you up,
lest you strike your foot against a stone.’ Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.' Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.’ Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him." Matthew 4:1-11, ESV

"And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:7, ESV

Sunday morning after church, Doc and I went to the coffee shop located on the premises. It is nice, complete with wifi and all kinds of Starbucksy libations including my kinda new favorite, chai latte, 145 degrees, please (which is just about as much as I know about coffee stuff -- EXCEPT that I don’t do caffeine).

With tornado warnings outside, we decided to sit down and wait out the storm. The gas fireplace was warming up the place so we took two seats nearby. Next to us were two people. One, obviously a single dad and the other, obviously his daughter who looked to be about nine. Neither seemed quite sure what to do with this other.

I know this scenario all too well. Years ago, this could’ve been Doc and our youngest daughter. He was newly single and not sure what to do with his own little girl, who was then his responsibility all on his own, and she was with her daddy and desperate to have him all to herself.

One thing writing Closer Than Your Breath has done to me, or the Lord has used the book to do, is to recognize pain. I’m passionate beyond words to reach into the hurting places of people’s hearts and give them the same HOPE that God gave me during some of the most desperate times in my life. I’ve also lost two friends to suicide which has impressed on me even more that I never want to take for granted that a person’s pain doesn’t really matter or that they will somehow, probably make it through. Probably doesn’t really work for me anymore. Thus my passion not to waste a single opportunity to give HOPE if I see an opening or a need.

As Doc and I enjoyed our drinks, we chatted with the Dad and the Daughter. We didn’t have to talk about The Divorce. It was pretty much right out there. We didn’t have to talk about the fact that God Will Heal. We were able to just love on both of them and, if we’re doing what God calls us to do, Dad experienced a little bit of that healing today. That’s because we’re called to reflect Jesus and do what He did while on this earth and even more.  It doesn’t matter if we’re talking to folks who’ve never heard of Christ or if we’re talking to someone who’s known Him for years. We just need to be ready to share His love when the opportunity presents itself. Like it did to us today.

Having been in a place where I could kind of put on a good game face if absolutely necessary, my heart was and sometimes still does, feel like it’s going to break. In those times, I NEED someone to reach out to me and hug me or give me an encouraging word. I don’t want or need anyone to preach at me or wag a finger in my face about something I’ve missed doing. Having experienced such behavior, I’m trying my best to be mindful to be an extension of the Balm of Gilead aka God. I’m not interested in being Job’s friends whose “wisdom” ended up hurting him more than helping.

If you’re hurting today, please hear me when I say that God has not left you. He’s walking by your side, maybe even carrying you, and loves you more than you can imagine. He has a great plan for your life. Don’t shake your head like it can’t be true or that it works for everyone else but you. I promise you that somehow, some way, God is going to use whatever pain or utter darkness you’re experiencing.

I’m asking Him to do something extraordinary for you and to begin it right this minute because tomorrow – or 60 seconds from now – is too far off. I’ve been there, my friend. I know the desperation and the loneliness that we can be thrust into…sometimes by our own poor decisions and sometimes by someone else’s. It doesn’t matter.

As I write this, I’m trusting the God of Hope to fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so you may overflow with Hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

He is closer than your very breath. Now breathe.

"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope." Romans 15:13, ESV

"The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit." Psalm 34:18, ESV 

PictureMrs. Zara Cook - Mother
One of the things I remember my mother saying as often as anything else during my entire life was “the last good night’s sleep you’ll ever have is before your first child is born”. I wrestled with that for many years…it was actually good birth control for me because I do love to sleep.

The truth was, in many ways, she was right. The second my first baby was born and then after #2 as well, I’ve kind of slept with one ear open. Just in case one of them needed me and that means from their first breath til now.

It was a hard sell from a friend of mine that I needed to turn my phone off at night so that I would sleep and so that their not-really-emergencies wouldn’t become my anxieties and keep me awake for the rest of the night.

With five grown (or nearly-grown) kids, someone is always struggling but especially one right now. It rips my heart to smithereens. Thus I’m not sleeping well. And when I do get to sleep, the least little thing will wake me up and keep me awake if I don’t really concentrate on giving what’s happening to her over to Jesus.

I hate waking up to that machete-feeling pain in my heart. I hate the anxiety and the fear that the enemy of my soul is determined to use to torture me. As I’ve written Closer Than Your Breath and really stood up in Satan’s face that I will not back down, I’m facing challenges that really have threatened my peace on every level. It’s that last-good-night’s-sleep thing that my mother told me about so many times.

Even this morning I woke up to stab, stab, stab!

“Be afraid, be very, very afraid! You might lose your child”, the enemy chided me. “She might make a choice that will destroy her life.” And thus I found myself, yet again, wallowing in the “what if he is right?!”

This morning at church we sang a song by Phil Wickham called “This is Amazing Grace”. The Holy Spirit grabbed my heart and mind with the lyrics “Who brings our chaos back into order, the King of glory, the King above all things”.

THE only One that can bring order to the chaos that I’m struggling with, that my child is struggling with, that any of us struggle with is the King of Glory, Jesus. He is the King above and greater than ALL things!
Any struggle, any fear, anxiety, desperation, darkness that we find ourselves in, HE is KING over it!

Our chaos doesn’t scare Jesus! It reminds me again of Commando Jesus, the chapter in Closer Than Your Breath where I saw my mighty, awesome Son of God going in after my daughter in a desperate situation. He was not afraid of flipping over and turning around ANYTHING that stood in the way of Him getting to her.

I spoke with a friend this week who is very ill with what doctors’ say is a life-threatening disease. It caught him, a normally healthy husband, daddy, and businessman, way off guard. He was well one minute and now he’s on the waiting list for a liver transplant. Talk about having your life thrown into chaos!

He said that he wakes up at 4:00 a.m. fighting fear, the what-if’s of what’s happened to his once very stable, successful life. I get that. He said thoughts of “what if I don’t get to watch my baby boys grow up? What will happen to my wife? What if I can’t work anymore and we lose everything?!” bombard his mind.

I’m not fond of those early morning wake-up calls that steal every bit of peace I’ve tried to walk in during the daylight hours either. I hate them. I hate the fear.

I have to run to Commando Jesus and put my daughter into His loving, nail-scarred hands, just like He told me to do. I have to climb up in them myself.

Please give your chaos to the Prince of Peace. It’s not too big for Him. We can trust Him to handle ALL things.  I’m preaching to myself here, my friend.

“Come to Me, all you who are fearful and wake up panicked and overburdened with the what-if’s, and are drowning in the chaos of your life. I will cause you to rest.” That’s my paraphrase of Matthew 11:28.

No matter what your clock says, it’s time to trust Him.