Friday Free-for-All: Author Interview – Sheila M. Cronin

Friday Free-for-All

It’s been a while since I posted an author interview, so when Sheila M. Cronin contacted me after reading a comment I made on Alexis Grant’s site, it seemed like as good a time as any to start back up again.

Today, I am happy to welcome author Sheila M. Cronin. Let’s get to know a little more about her and her book:

1. How would you describe your book to someone who has not yet read it?

A timeless mix of romance, family drama, and psychological and inspirational insights served with humor, The Gift Counselor is a story that will warm your heart all year long.

2. If Oprah invited you onto her show to talk about your book, what would the theme of the show be?

The theme would be gift-giving and gift-receiving, and Oprah would be all over both!

3. How did you get the idea for the novel?

I observed something unusual in a major department store during the Christmas shopping season. A man approached a perfume counter and asked for gift advice. He needed a gift to fix a problem with his girlfriend. The sales associate behind the counter, a young woman, urged him to forget about perfume and buy his girl something beautiful instead—diamonds—so lovely they would make her cry. Then his problem would be solved. Immediately upon witnessing that scene, I knew I had been given the gift of a story and I began to write it that day.

4. Which came first, the title or the novel?

The story came first, and the title followed.

5. What scene or bit of dialogue in the book are you most proud of, and why?

Some readers have told me they like the one sermon given by a priest at Sunday Mass most. It took me 25 tries to get that chapter right, and I am proud of it.

6. What inspired you to write your first book?

This is my first book. Originally, it was a screenplay. I wasn’t having any luck getting it sold. Another writer advised me to turn it into a novel.

7. Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you’ve learned as a writer from then to now? 

I’d have to say that when you receive a gift, such as I did when this story came to me, you’d better honor it as best you can, protect it, write and rewrite and polish it till it shines, and never lose belief in its power.

8. Considering a book from the first word you write to the moment you see it on a bookstore shelf, what’s your favorite part of the process? What’s your least favorite?

My favorite part was when my editor told me I’d written a good book and that it would go far. My least favorite was pushing to get it done when I was mentally exhausted.

9. What’s up next for you?

I am working hard on the sequel. It is called Best of All Gifts.

10. Do you have any advice for other writers?

Find a writing group and be a good member of it. By that I mean, attend every meeting, be ready to discuss your work and their work, and listen to their critiques. Find a good group with positive energy and serious writers, whether amateur or not.

Be sure to visit Ms. Cronin’s website at: http://www.giftcounselorbook.com.

About the Author

sheila m cronin

Sheila M. Cronin was born in Chicago, Illinois and after majoring in art, she obtained a Master’s degree in mental health sciences. Sheila then practiced art therapy for ten years. Among her other jobs was a stint at Princess Cruises where she traveled to Tahiti twice in one month. “Airport Romance”, her first published story, can be found in The WritersNet Anthology of Prose.

“Heart Shaped: a collection of short romances” includes 10 humorous stories that suggest love can begin or begin again anywhere.

Writing fiction, painting portraits and composing songs on piano are her favorite “cre-activities,” next to reading a good book.

Tuesdays with Yeshua: EASTER STORIES (Book Review and Giveaway)

tuesdays with yeshua jesus

As Easter approaches (I can’t believe it’s already almost here – where has the year gone?), it’s the perfect time to reflect on the life, death, and resurrection of Yeshua (otherwise known as Jesus Christ).

That, in fact, is the main aim of the latest book I had the chance to read and review, EASTER STORIES: Classic Tales for the Holy Season.

easter stories cover

383 pg / multiple authors
 

Everyone who believes Easter is about more than Easter egg hunts will be grateful for this new anthology of short stories that illumine the true meaning of the season. Selected for their spiritual value and literary quality, these classic tales capture the spirit of Holy Week and Easter in a way that will captivate readers of all ages. Parents and grandparents will find that children love to hear these stories read aloud, year after year.

Easter Stories includes time-honored favorites from world-famous storytellers such as C.S. Lewis, Leo Tolstoy, Selma Lagerlof, Oscar Wilde, Elizabeth Goudge, Maxim Gorky, Ruth Sawyer, Anton Chekhov, and Walter Wangerin – as well as many you’ve never heard of before. Illustrated with original woodcuts.

Find out more HERE!

This is an amazing collection of some powerful, classic tales and beautiful illustrations brought to you by Plough Publishing, who published the equally powerful book, THEIR NAME IS TODAY, which I also had the pleasure of reading.
Here’s how you can connect with Plough Publishing online:
I have one paperback copy to give away to a lucky commenter on this blog post. Just let me know you’re interested by 11:59 PM (EST) on March 31, 2015, and you’ll have a shot at winning – just in time to celebrate the Easter holiday.
This is one book you and your family will treasure for years – maybe even generations. I can totally picture my little girls reading these stories to their own children in the future – at least, I hope they do. 
Read below to discover all the “rules” and important legal stuff:

Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

 Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

Sweet Romance Sundays: Texas K-9 Unit Series Books 1-3: Tracking Justice\Detection Mission\Guard Duty – Review and Giveaway

Sweet Romance Sundays (3)

I was recently given the opportunity to download and review a collection of romantic suspense books from Love Inspired. As soon as I read the words “romantic suspense,” I was all over this promotion. I’ve always loved a good romantic suspense book (or movie).

Here’s some information about this collection:Texas K-9 Unit Series, 1-3

Love Inspired Suspense authors Shirlee McCoy, Margaret Daley and Sharon Dunn will get your pulse racing with tales of Texas cops and their loyal K-9 dogs tracking down a crime ring. Enjoy three action-packed Texas K-9 Unit romantic suspense novels in one box set! When a boy goes missing from his bedroom, a police detective must assure a desperate single mother that he and his trusty bloodhound will find her son. A woman with amnesia has to rely on an officer and his border collie to stay alive when she can’t remember who tried to kill her. An FBI agent is called in to protect a single mother when the rookie K-9 officer witnesses a murder and becomes the killer’s target.

About the authors:
Shirlee McCoy

Shirlee McCoy has always loved making up stories. As a child she daydreamed elaborate tales in which she was the heroine — gutsy, strong and invincible. Though she soon grew out of her superhero fantasies, her love for storytelling never diminished. Shirlee knew early that she wanted to write inspirational fiction and began writing her first novel when she was a teenager. Still, it wasn’t until her third son was born that she truly began pursuing her dream of being published. Three years later she sold her first book. Now a busy mother of four, Shirlee is a homeschool mom by day and an inspirational author by night. She and her husband and children live in Maryland and share their home with a dog and a guinea pig.

Margaret Daley

Margaret has been writing for over 35 years. She started writing in the late 1970s because she wanted to see if she could put a whole story down on paper. That book is still in the drawer and will never see the light of day. But she was able to finish a book, which was her goal. She loved teaching and working with students with special needs, and recently retired from teaching to write full-time. When she isn’t working, she loves to read, travel, and go to lunch and a movie with a friend. She and her husband, Mike, to whom she has been married for over 40 years live in Tulsa. Besides teaching and writing, she is also a mother of one. Her son, Shaun, is married with four daughters.

Sharon Dunn

Sharon Dunn first fell in love with mystery and suspense about the time she read Nancy Drew mysteries in the fifth grade. Her first book in the Ruby Taylor mysteries Romance Rustlers and Thunderbird Thieves was a finalist for the Romantic Times Inspirational Book of the Year. The second book in that series Sassy Cinderella and the Valiant Vigilante was voted Book of the Year by American Christian Fiction Writers. Her hobbies include reading, working out, hiking, trying to find things around the house and making pets out of the dust bunnies under the furniture. Before she started writing, she used to sew. Now she just collects fabric and patterns and fantasizes about projects. After nearly twenty seven years of marriage, Sharon lost her beloved husband in 2014. She lives with her three nearly grown children, two cats and a nervous border collie named Bart.

Time constraints being what they were (and my crazy schedule being such as it is), I was only able to read the first book in the series, TRACKING JUSTICE. Here are my thoughts on it:

This was an engrossing, quick read. I didn’t want to put it down and actually stayed up all night reading it to the (mostly) satisfying conclusion. The romance is sweet – no graphic sex. Really, there’s no sex at all – just kissing, and even that comes well after we get to know the characters and they get to know each other better. Not anything like what happens in so many romance novels, where the main characters meet and end up in bed together the same day without really getting to know each other. I can’t stand books like that, so I was more than relieved that this one wasn’t like that.

The suspense part was well done. The character development was good. I found a few typos and one instance of a character name being misused, but overall the editing was as clean as the romance. Plus, there’s a dog, and dogs are awesome! This is one book you won’t want to miss if you’re a fan of romantic suspense. I can’t wait to read the other books in the series, and I encourage you all to rush over to Amazon and download this set today!

And now for the giveaway…

Love Inspired is offering up a paperback copy of the latest book from Shirlee McCoy, PROTECTION DETAIL (released March 3, 2015), to one lucky commenter on this blog post.

Here’s the scoop on PROTECTION DETAIL:

LAWMAN ON A MISSION

After a prominent senator’s son is murdered, Capitol K-9 Unit captain Gavin McCord wants answers. The senator was a mentor to Gavin, and he’ll stop at nothing to bring the killer to justice. With his team of elite K-9 cops and his loyal dog, Glory, at his side, Gavin discovers that a child at Cassie Danvers’s nearby foster home may have witnessed the murder. He’s drawn to the determined and beautiful woman, but she doesn’t want him interviewing her traumatized charges. Yet trusting Gavin is the only way to stay one step ahead of the deadly gunman when Cassie becomes a target.

Capitol K-9 Unit: These lawmen solve the toughest cases with the help of their brave canine partners

Shirlee McCoy wrote the first book in Texas K-9 Unit Series (which is the only one I’ve read so far), and I can safely say the lady knows how to weave a good romantic suspense story. Want to see for yourself? Just leave a comment here, telling me you want to win this book, by 11:59 PM EST on March 22, 2015, and you’ll be entered into the giveaway (open to US and Canada residents only).

Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

 Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

 

Friday Free-for-All: STITCHES (Because Some Wounds Need More Than a Band-Aid Cure) by Jeremy L. Blunt

Friday Free-for-All

Today I’m featuring a book that deals with relationship problems and how to fix them – even the toughest ones. It presents an insightful look at a very real problem. I hope you’ll take a few moments to check it out (an excerpt is provided in this post).

stitches

BOOK INFORMATION

TITLE – Stitches- Because Some Wounds Need More Than a Band-Aid Cure

AUTHOR – Jeremy L Blunt

PUBLICATION DATE – February 10, 2015

LENGTH (Pages/# Words) – 184

PUBLISHER – Upland Avenue Publishing Group

COVER ARTIST – Daniela Frongia

Stitches - Book Cover Smaller

BOOK SYNOPSIS

Have you ever found yourself at a loss when trying to figure out why relating to the very people you feel you have to or should be able to communicate well with just doesn’t work? Have you ever had that feeling after you come out of something which gave you the blues while in it, was actually not as bad as you made it if only you had paid attention to the signs and lessons from previous events? If either of these things sound like you then “STITCHES” are what you need. We look for answers from everywhere in the world, our friends, church members, parents, celebrities and sometimes even our enemies but never inside ourselves.

STITCHES are the tools we need to address the issues we have. If you’re tired of putting a Band-Aid on wounds that seem to just keep resurfacing and don’t seem to go away, then I encourage you to start using stitches instead. AS you read “STITCHES”, allow it to broaden your perspective and increase your confidence that you are not as lost as you may have believed.

BUY & TBR LINKS

AMAZON KINDLE US – AMAZON PAPERBACK

EXCERPT

The problem with most relationships is not the baggage that people knowingly bring into them, it is with the baggage that they have, know they have but act like it is not there. Now let’s be honest. We all have baggage. Baggage is what we pick up from life’s experiences that affect how we react to things, how we deal with people, and how we carry ourselves. All baggage is not bad baggage. For instance, it is only after you deal with someone who is independent that you determine if moving forward, you want someone else who is also independent or if you would rather have someone who just has independency. Either way, the baggage we carry from situation to situation affects us differently.

Ideally when we met someone we would like for their baggage to be displayed and scanned as it would be going through check in at an airport. First giving them an opportunity to dispose of anything that would be hazardous to anyone else around and then going through a thermo scan. The problem with baggage does not come when we are dealing with someone who is upfront with baggage that is not necessarily healthy but rather when things pop up that they claim to know nothing about. On my last trip to the airport, I remember hearing several announcements about baggage not being left unattended or taking packages from people that you do not know. We should treat the people we deal with every day with the same level of security and caution. Until we know what at least pops up during their initial scan, we should not pursue them past the outer lobby of our life. In other words, they should remain associates. They should not get VIP treatment or otherwise they may feel and act like they are entitled to more than they are. Then you will feel guilty and try and fast track them to the exclusive area prematurely. To catch a plane now, they tell you to be at the airport at least two hours before your flight so you can go through all of the proper checks and still make your flight on time. We should treat everyone we meet with the same expectation. If they are not willing to show up early, stand in a line or two for a few minutes, and undergo pre checks, then they may as well be labeled as a terrorist and should be treated hostile. I mean let’s face it, what is the point of blood, sweat, and tears if you are not going to use the lessons it has taught you to better yourself. Would you knowingly let a terrorist come on a plane that you are boarding? Of course not! Then why do we let people in our lives without proper clearance. You need to know something about the people you deal with. Where they are from? Who have they been with? Who they people are? Have they picked up any habits, I mean packages, from strangers along the way?

Even after going through baggage check, people still can have extra stuff that can threaten your life. An example of this is insecurities. Let us say you have met this guy and he seems to have it pretty much together. He is a dream come true. You open up and allow him to board your life. Once in the air you realize he has tendencies. He always wants to know about the names of people from a previous manifest. He also asked repeatedly about current passengers who are just temporary passengers until the next stop or two. You understand his concerns but point out that none of these issues surfaced or questions were asked during initial boarding. You pacify him by giving him everything it seems that he would need but nothing is helping. He wants to dig deeper and ask more questions. This is a classic example of what I call “unauthorized baggage”. Unauthorized baggage can have you off balance with very little to no clue as to why. When a partner is overly aggressive or possessive, it can weigh you down to the point where you are ready to start throwing things off. When nothing you do seems to be working, you will start eliminating things that are actually in your life to help you; like fuel, food or even extra oxygen (friends who give you life). Again, those closest to you will give you warning signs when this happens. Your body will also be a good sign of indicators. Do not ignore the signs. Pay attention, life has a way of getting your attention. If you are not careful you will find yourself starting to become distant with friends and even point the figure at others as the reason to why things are the way they are.

BOOK SOUNDTRACK

Life and Favor – John P. Kee and New Life feat. James Fortune

Her Heart – Anthony Hamilton

My Favorite Thing – Ronald Isley featuring Kem

Rise and Fall – Craig David feat Sting

All of Me – John Legend

Sweat – Toni Braxton & Babyface

AUTHOR’S PLAYLIST

Medelssohn: Octet in E flat, Op. 20-1

Van Cliburn Tchaikovsky: Concerto No. 1 & Rachmaninoff: Concerto No. 2

Michael Meets Mozart

More Than Anything – Lamar Campbell & Spirit of Praise

Grateful – Hezekiah Walker, Love Fellowship Choir

Stitches - Author Photo

AUTHOR BIO

Jeremy L. Blunt is a capital city native of Louisiana and a graduate of the East Baton Rouge Public School System. He is a proud Husband, Father, and Mentor. He is married to the former LaTrisha Earline Milton, also of Baton Rouge. He has two daughters, Kaylie and Amerie Blunt. His hobbies include traveling, reading, exercising, and interacting with people. He is honorably retired from the Louisiana National Guard. While defending his country, Jeremy has been and continues to be very active in his community. He serves as a Minister to young people and serves and advises several boards in his community. Jeremy attended Louisiana State University and attends HOPE Bible Institute for Theology and Religious Studies.

Jeremy is a motivated speaker and teacher who delivers a message of self empowerment and change to audiences of all demographics. He continues to work with “at-risk” youth and considers it as one of the most rewarding experiences of his life. He is an advocate for service and continued education.

Jeremy lives by the motto: “Change comes from those willing to do things differently”.

AUTHOR FOLLOW LINKS

WEBSITE / BLOG – FACEBOOK – TWITTER – PINTEREST – LINKEDIN

INSTAGRAM – stitches4life

Tour Organized & Hosted by

buttonmfh

Tuesdays with Yeshua: The Last Scapegoat

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One of my favorite passages in the whole Bible is found in the book of Leviticus, Chapter 16. This is where God introduces His people, the Israelites (and those of us who would come to read the book later), to the idea of the scapegoat. This is also where we get our modern idea of the word “scapegoat” from, although the modern definition has sadly been changed to give it a more negative connotation. In its modern usage, it has mostly come to be known as someone who wrongly carries the blame for someone else’s wrongdoing. This situation often occurs in abusive relationships and among dysfunctional families. Hence, why the idea of a “scapegoat” is such a negative one.

But in the biblical context, a scapegoat is a beautiful thing. Take a few minutes and read this passage, if you’re not familiar with it. God instructed Moses, the leader of the Hebrews, and his brother Aaron to select two goats every year to become part of an offering to God for the sake of His people. One would be killed as a sin offering to make up for the sins and wrongdoings of all the Israelites. Its blood would be sprinkled on God’s mercy seat at the Ark of the Covenant. Because of this sacrifice, God would have mercy on His people and forgive all their sins.

The second goat would be allowed to live. The High Priest would put his hands on the goat’s head and confess the sins of the people, thereby symbolically transferring their sins to this goat. The goat (which came to be known as the scapegoat) would then be set free into the wilderness.

The Hebrews typically tied a red strip of cloth to the scapegoat to represent the sin of the people that was atoned for by the blood sprinkled on the mercy seat. Jewish Talmudic tradition reports that this red stripe would eventually turn white as a signal of God’s acceptance of the offering. So, this scapegoat, while it did take on blame that wasn’t its own, was actually doing something really good for the Jewish people.  And it didn’t suffer as horrible a fate as we usually ascribe to human scapegoats.

The Last Scapegoat

But the scapegoat story gets even better later on (for us)…thousands of years after the practice began. The Talmuds verify that after Yeshua was crucified, God no longer accepted the sin offering or the scapegoat offered by the Jewish High Priests. According to the Talmuds:

Forty years before the Temple was destroyed (30 A.D.) the chosen lot was not picked with the right hand, nor did the crimson stripe turn white, nor did the westernmost light burn; and the doors of the Temple’s Holy Place swung open by themselves, until Rabbi Yochanon ben Zakkai spoke, saying: “O most Holy Place, why have you become disturbed? I know full well that your destiny will be destruction, for the prophet Zechariah ben Iddo has already spoken regarding you saying: ‘Open thy doors, O Lebanon, that the fire may devour the cedars’ (Zech. 11:1).'” (Talmud Bavli, Yoma 39b)

Look at that date again – 30 A.D., which was 40 years before the temple in Jerusalem was destroyed. It was also the same year that Yeshua was crucified. That’s pretty amazing. Yeshua was the final sin offering and the last scapegoat, who bore all the sins of all mankind on Himself!

But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things to come, He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation; and not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who have been defiled sanctify for the cleansing of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? For this reason He is the mediator of a new covenant, so that, since a death has taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were committed under the first covenant, those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance. (Hebrews 9:11-15, NAS)

Friday Free-for-All: THE 5 LOVE LANGUAGES FOR MEN by Dr. Gary Chapman (Guest Book Review & Giveaway)

Friday Free-for-All

It’s rare for my husband to actually sit down and read a book, so I wasn’t sure whether I could get him to read and review this for me, but he agreed…and he was pleasantly surprised by this one. :-)

We were both familiar with the concept of the five love languages (who hasn’t heard of it by now?), but this was a refreshing new take on the subject that’s designed specifically for men (although my husband suggested I read it too – he was that impressed by it).

He gives it 4 stars (he says the advice felt a bit compartmentalized at times and not easily generalizable to all situations) and recommends it for any man who is either married, engaged, or in an otherwise serious relationship.

5 love languages coverHere’s more information about the book:

240 pages
At the heart of every man is a desire to master what matters. Getting a compliment at work or on the court is nice, but nothing beats hearing your spouse say, “You make me feel loved.” If you haven’t heard that in a while or feel like you are not bringing your A-game into your relationship, this book is for you. The 5 Love Languages has sold 10 MILLION COPIES because it is simple, practical, and effective. In this edition, Gary Chapman speaks straight to men about the rewards of speaking their wife’s love language. You’ll learn each language, how to identify your wife’s, and how to speak it clearly. Packed with helpful illustrations and creative pointers, these pages will rouse your inner champion and empower you to master the art of love.
About the author:
gary chapman

Gary Chapman, PhD, is the author of the bestselling The 5 Love Languages series, which has sold more than 10 million copies worldwide and has been translated into 50 languages. Dr. Chapman travels the world presenting seminars on marriage, family, and relationships, and his radio programs air on more than 400 stations. He lives in North Carolina with his wife, Karolyn.

S O C I A L • C O R N E R
 
Gary Chapman’s Official Facebook Page
Gary Chapman’s Official Twitter Page
One lucky commenter will have the chance to win this book for either themselves or someone they know and love. Just make sure to comment before 11:59 PM on February 20, 2015 to get your name entered!


Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. 

Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

Mommy Memoir Mondays: The Most Dangerous Prayer…and the Most Glorious Hope

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I’ve been praying for my children since before they were born – certainly that they would be healthy and I would be the best mommy for them I possibly could be. But also that they would know God and would grow to love Him.

Lately, I’ve begun adding this to the prayer—“Lord, please help them grow closer to You than I ever have or ever could.” And God’s been showing me just how dangerous this prayer is. It’s certainly right and noble…but completely dangerous—to their little selves.

The older I get (and the closer I get to God through prayer and Bible study), the more I realize just how terrible it is to be stuck here on Earth. The effects of sin are evident all around us all the time, and I’m starting to notice them more. In fact, I’m starting to notice sin more, in general—my sins, as well as other people’s sins, and…well, it’s just not very much fun.

We’re called to walk in the light, but something happens when we walk in the light. The darkness is exposed, and we see it for what it is. We’re no longer blinded by ignorance. And the result is not pretty. The more I see the truth, the more I realize how ugly and despicable just about everything is in the eyes of God…even myself. And that hurts.

So, this is what I’m praying for when I pray that my little girls will grow closer to God than I ever will. I’m praying for them to see the ugly truth of who they are in comparison to who God is. I’m praying for them to have to hurt physically, mentally, and emotionally by dying to themselves every day—every minute and every hour of every day for their whole entire lives. I’m praying that they will suffer for being the sinful creatures they are. And, as a mother who loves her children dearly, it hurts me to know the truth of what I’m praying for them.

Yet I know the hope of that most dangerous prayer, as well. The hope is that the grace and the love of God will draw them close to Him. Yes, they’ll know their sin and the horribleness of it, but they’ll know the wonders of His love and grace too. They’ll understand just how much they need His mercy and forgiveness, and He’ll give it to them without reserve. Because that’s just who He is.

In the grand scheme of things, we are so very small, and yet God loves us so very much. That’s what I came to realize the other day. Actually, it’s what God told me the other day as I prayed during my quiet time, reveling in the wonder of His creation and realizing what a very small part I play in His vast universe. But the next morning He brought a couple of lines of a song I used to sing when I was a child into my head: “How small, how small but important am I. To the God of the Universe, important am I.” It was a message I needed to hear that day…and it’s something I pray my girls will understand as they grow up in Him. They were important enough to Him that He sent His Son into the world to suffer and die for them, so they could be reconciled to God.

We experience pain here on this Earth because of sin’s destructiveness and God’s disciplinary work within us to make us who we were meant to be, but as Paul told the Corinthians, our present troubles are light and momentary and “are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” (2 Corinthians 4:17, NIV) That, ultimately, is what I’m looking toward when I pray that most dangerous prayer for my girls—their eternal glory, the greater good.