faith, Family Fun & Fitness

30 Days of Forgiveness: Welcome Home

“Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living.”

(Luke 15:13, NIV)

Jordyn was the daughter of a wealthy businessman. One day, she approached her father and demanded her portion of her inheritance. She wanted to live it up while she was still young, she told him. 

Though her father’s heart was saddened by his daughter’s decision, he still gave her the value of her inheritance. He texted her each day she was gone, hoping for a reply. He followed some of her antics in gossip magazines, watching as she seemed to morph into a different person.

One morning when he texted Jordyn, he was surprised to receive a reply. It was short and got his attention instantly: I messed up, Daddy. I know that now. Can I come home?

With shaky hands, her father texted her back: Yes.

When Jordyn told the taxi cab driver to turn down her street, she couldn’t believe what she saw. There, on the front lawn was the biggest party she’d ever seen. As she stepped out of the cab, her father rushed to embrace her. 

Jordyn sniffed and stepped back, “Who are you throwing a party for?”

Her father gave her a watery smile, “It’s for you, baby girl. Welcome home!” 

It can be tempting to believe that you’ve gone too far to be redeemed. But you don’t have to hide out. Your Heavenly Father is waiting to welcome you home, beloved!

God, thank You for Your grace! When others discover Your love, let me be the first to join the welcoming committee! In the name of Jesus the Messiah, I pray. Amen. 

Will Sin Make You Lose Your Relationship with God?

If you liked this story, you might also like the sweet second chance romance novella Believe in Me, by Mishael Austin Witty. Available now on Kindle for only 99 cents!

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30 Days of Forgiveness in June: The Love Itself

“Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.”

(Matthew 6:11-12, NIV)

Corrie Ten Boom was a watchmaker living in Haarlem, Holland. She was a devout Christian, and when the Nazis invaded her country she longed to stand up for the Jews who were being targeted.

She devised a plan to help Jews escape from Holland. Since she was a watchmaker, her family’s tiny watch shop provided the perfect cover because people could come and go throughout the day without suspicion. 

When Jews looking for refuge came to her store, she would guide them to her family’s home on the second floor. There, in a bedroom, was a hidden closet that could hold six people at a time. If there were inspections, Corrie would sound a warning buzzer throughout the house, giving the refugees time to hide.

But Corrie and her family were betrayed. She was sentenced to a concentration camp with her sister. After months of being in the prison, Corrie was released due to a clerical error.

Years later, when she was sharing messages of God’s forgiveness at a church, a man approached her whom she recognized. He had been a guard at the camp where Corrie was imprisoned. He greeted her and held out his hand.

In that moment, Corrie struggled with what to do. She sent up a prayer but couldn’t move a muscle. So, she prayed again, asking for the strength to forgive. She described the moment in her book, The Hiding Place:

“As I took his hand, the most incredible thing happened. From my shoulder along my arm and through my hand a current seemed to pass from me to him, while into my heart sprang a love for this stranger that almost overwhelmed me. 

“And so I discovered that it is not on our forgiveness, any more than on our goodness, that the world’s healing hinges, but on His. When He tells us to love our enemies, He gives, along with the command, the love itself.”

God, give me the strength to forgive my enemies. Grant me the love I need to fulfill Your command. In the name of Jesus the Messiah, I pray. Amen.

If you liked this story, you might also like the sweet second chance romance novella Believe in Me, by Mishael Austin Witty. Available now on Kindle for only 99 cents!

Book Reviews

Book Review: Moving Beyond Anxiety by David Chadwick

Today I’m taking a break from my 30 Days of Forgiveness series to post a review for a book I just finished reading. I have continued the series on forgiveness over on Medium, however. So, if you’re looking for that, you can check it out here.

I hope you take the time to read this review first, though.

Since I’m currently undergoing training to become a certified biblical counselor, I jumped at the chance to read and review this new book, Moving Beyond Anxiety by David Chadwick. I thought it would be right up my alley.

But, from the beginning, I saw some definite problems.

The first problem

On the first page, the author confuses fear and anxiety.

“It is my belief that if you eliminate anxiety, fear will follow. If you change the root, you will affect the fruit.”

But the author has identified the root incorrectly. Classic anxiety starts with fear of either perceived or real danger. That fear triggers the fight or flight response. When the fight or flight response gets out of whack – when it gets triggered inappropriately or too frequently because of environmental stress – that’s when anxiety occurs.

If you want to deal with the root of the problem, you have to tackle fear first, not anxiety.

The second problem

Also on the first page, the author said that:

Anxiety is not a sin.

And yet the Bible clearly states, as a command (ironically, the author labels this a command, as well … shortly after he says anxiety is not a sin):

Do not be anxious about anything …

Philippians 4:6 (NIV)

And:

“…do not fear…”

Isaiah 41:10 (NIV)

I don’t know about you, but when I read that God is telling me not to do something, and I do it … I think of that as sinning. Sin, after all, is missing the mark of what God wants for us … His best, for our good.

Fear and anxiety don’t fit into that pattern. So, any reassurance that these emotions/emotional states are not sin is misguided at best, and spiritually dangerous, at worst.

So, that’s just the first couple of pages. And I had extreme problems with it. What would I think about the rest of the book? I was willing to keep going so I could find out.

I’m the kind of person who will watch a bad movie or read a disappointing book right up till the end … just to see if it gets better. There’s always hope that it will get better.

It did get a little better

A little ways into the first chapter, the author used an illustration of two dogs. This illustration isn’t unique to him. I think it might be an old Native American concept, although the exact provenance is uncertain.

Since I am currently doing a Bible study about the fruit of the Spirit, and reading a lot about the flesh versus the Spirit as part of that study, I took that dog illustration and ran with it.

So, I owe the author a debt of gratitude for that bit of inspiration.

I also really enjoyed the chapter on “Casting.” The author gave a very clear picture of what casting our anxiety on God (1 Peter 5:7) looks like. Pretty much, you almost literally throw it at Him … as much as is possible.

I also liked the chapter on prepositions – especially the idea of God being behind us. I’d never really thought about that in terms of the armor of God. But, as the author says, we don’t need anything for our rear ends because God has our backs!

The chapter I underlined and highlighted way more than any other was the “Sing!” chapter. In fact, that chapter answered a lot of questions for me, as far as a current church situation I’m dealing with.

And I love that he included a list of the relevant Scriptures at the end of the book in the epilogue. That’s a fantastic resource.

Some final thoughts

Overall, I found the author’s tone somewhat dry and boring, so it took me a little while to get through this, even though this was a relatively short book. I also thought the writing was sort of choppy. Sections of the book seemed to be tacked on next to each other without much thought as to whether they sounded good together, and there were very few helpful transitions – oh, and LOTS of repetition.

And I found a couple of other things that I really didn’t like later on in the book. For example, the author flat-out quoted lyrics from “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God” and didn’t even cite the hymn. No quotation marks, no footnote, no parenthetical citation – nothing. And that was annoying. What was even more annoying was the fact that it happened for another song too before that, but I don’t remember which one it was.

The final verdict? Was this book absolutely terrible? No. Was it terrific? No.

Are there better books on anxiety out there? Yes … ones that are written better, are more interesting, and are less afraid to identify anxiety as the sin it is.

But will you find something worthwhile inside the pages of this book?

Yes, I definitely think so.

About David Chadwick

David Chadwick is presently the pastor of Moments of Hope Church in Charlotte, N.C. He
has been a pastor for almost 40 years. He played basketball under the legendary coach,
Dean Smith, at the University of North Carolina and was a member of the Final Four 1969
team. David also has a graduate counseling psychology degree from the University of
Florida and an MDiv and DMin from Columbia Theological Seminary. These post graduate
degrees have allowed David to combine therapeutic counseling theories with biblical truth.
David is the author of nine books and hosts a weekly talk show on faith and values on
WBT in Charlotte, N.C. He has been married to the love of his life, Marilynn, for 42 years
and has three children, Bethany, David Banner, and Michael. They have given David and Marilynn seven grandchildren.

For more information about the author and the book:

Book website: https://www.movingbeyondanxiety.com

Moments of Hope website: https://momentsofhope.org/

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/MOHDavidChadwick/

David’s video introduction for Moving Beyond Anxiety: https://vimeo.com/408616090/bb523284c

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 the product/product information. Opinions are 100% my own and are NOT influenced by monetary compensation.  I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

faith, Family Fun & Fitness

30 Days of Forgiveness in June: Who Is This Man?

“The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery.”

(John 8:3, NIV)

Since her father had died, caring for her sick mother and younger siblings had fallen to Adina. She couldn’t keep her grades up while working as a waitress. So, she dropped out of school and struggled to make ends meet for her family.

Then one day, an older woman ordered a latte and stayed around to chat. She was dressed in beautiful clothes and carried herself like she was wealthy. 

Then the older woman told her about a way to earn more money. “It’s like being a girlfriend for an evening,” she explained. “You just go to dinner with wealthy men, and they pay you for your company.”

Young and innocent, Adina didn’t realize the con until it was too late. Now, she was trapped in a life as a teenage prostitute. 

When a hotel room door opened and she was dragged naked into the streets, she closed her eyes. Shame burned in her, coloring her cheeks. She hadn’t meant to find this life. 

Thrown into the middle of the town square, she heard a booming voice, “The Law commands we stone her. What do you say?”

Adina opened her eyes, wondering who the judge before her was. She held her breath and waited for his response. Instead, He just wrote on the ground, seeming to ignore the whole scene.

When he was asked again, the man turned and softly said, “Let those without sin cast their stones.” 

Adina watched as the crowd around her slowly melted away. But still, she waited. Who is this man who stood up for me? she wondered.

After a moment, he spoke, “Where are your accusers? Have they condemned you?”

“No, sir.” She whispered the words.

“Then neither do I,” the man said, “Go and leave your old life behind.”

God, thank You for Your grace. You have compassion on me always. Help me to extend that same compassion to someone else. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

If you enjoyed this post, I’d like to invite you to join my free private Facebook group where mothers can connect for support and encouragement in the Lord.

If you liked this story, you might also like the sweet second chance romance novella Believe in Me, by Mishael Austin Witty. Available now on Kindle for only 99 cents!

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30 Days of Forgiveness: Healing Power

“In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us.”

(Ephesians 1:7-8, NIV)

Michael Rowe was part of a drug gang in New York. In 1992, he and two of his friends killed another drug dealer. 

He was arrested and sentenced to twenty years in prison. He used this time to better himself. He earned his GED, then went on to get his associate’s degree and a bachelor’s degree. He married his girlfriend and fathered three children with her. 

In September of 2006, Michael was working in prison when he glanced up to see Anthony Colon, the brother of the man he killed. Anthony had been there to visit another inmate, unaware that Michael was there.

Michael tried to duck out of sight, but it was too late. 

Anthony had seen him. 

Michael’s heart sped up, and his mouth went dry as he wondered what Anthony would do to him. Would he yell at him? Cuss him out? Spit on him? Start a fight?

When Anthony approached him, Michael tensed. But the other man held out a hand and said to him, “I’ve been praying for you. I forgive you. I was praying for a chance to see you again and tell you that.”

Years later, the two men are friends. After being released from prison, Michael went to work with Exodus Transitional Community Center, the same organization where Anthony volunteers. 

God, help me to accept forgiveness when it’s offered, and to grant others that same mercy. Teach me to be gracious in giving and receiving forgiveness. In the name of Jesus the Messiah, I pray. Amen.

If you liked this story, you might also like the sweet second chance romance novella Believe in Me, by Mishael Austin Witty. Available now on Kindle for only 99 cents!

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30 Days of Forgiveness: Freedom from Hatred

“Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”

(Colossians 3:13, NIV)

Samereh Alinejad lives in Iran. Her eighteen-year-old son was stabbed to death when he got into a street fight. She’d already lost one son, and losing another only added to her heartbreak.

Her son’s killer, Balal, spent seven years in prison, awaiting his death sentence. But, as the time for his execution drew near, Samereh said her son appeared to her in a dream, begging her to forgive his killer.

When family came to visit in the days before the execution, no one pressured Samereh to forgive. They showed up to offer support and condolences. Still, Samereh couldn’t sleep that night.

The next day, she showed up at the gallows with her husband. She watched as a noose was placed around Balal’s neck. This was the moment she had waited for, the one that she’d thought would bring her peace.

Instead, she found herself calling out to free the young man. The anger and hate she’d been holding vanished, and for the first time in years she felt free. 

Balal’s mom had also been present at the execution scene. When she saw the display of mercy, she knelt to kiss Samereh’s feet in gratitude. But Samereh lifted the woman up and embraced her, the two mothers united in the middle of their shared pain.

God, forgiveness is a struggle. But I want to show mercy and kindness to those who have hurt me. Give me the strength to release this burden and live free. In the name of Jesus the Messiah, I pray. Amen.

If you liked this story, you might also like the sweet second chance romance novella Believe in Me, by Mishael Austin Witty. Available now on Kindle for only 99 cents!

faith, Family Fun & Fitness

30 Days of Forgiveness in June: A Heavy Load

“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.”

(Matthew 5:23-24, NIV)

A seminary professor had a habit of starting each new semester the same way. He would pass out a bag to each of his students. At the front of the room, he had a large bin filled with hundreds of baseballs.

He would invite all of his students to come to the front of the classroom. Then he would hand out markers. He instructed each student to write down every wrong they’d ever suffered. 

When they were finished writing, they would put the baseball into their bag. After they were finished, the professor looked at the class. “Now, I want you to carry these bags everywhere you go until our next class. You take them everywhere, from your dorm to the cafeteria to your job. Keep it with you always.”

A week later, many of his students arrived with their bags. The professor pointed to a young man in the first row. “Tell us about your week…how do you feel?”

The young man sighed. “Tired. Lugging that thing around was exhausting. My neck ached from it.”

The professor nodded. “That heavy bag represents unforgiveness. Every time you hold onto a wrong, you add weight to your bag, and it’s a weight that God didn’t intend for you to carry.”

God, help me to put down the load I’ve been carrying. I don’t want to hold onto unforgiveness. Show me how to release this burden, so I can walk in freedom and healing. In the name of Jesus the Messiah, I pray. Amen.

If you enjoyed this post, I’d like to invite you to join my free private Facebook group where mothers can connect for support and encouragement in the Lord.

If you liked this story, you might also like the sweet second chance romance novella Believe in Me, by Mishael Austin Witty. Available now on Kindle for only 99 cents!

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30 Days of Forgiveness in June: Building Bridges

“How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!” –

(Psalm 133:1, NIV)

James and his brother William were close friends growing up. Whatever one did, the other was sure to follow. Their mother sometimes joked that the boys were actually twins she’d had two years apart.

When the brothers grew up, they decided to become farmers. They bought hundreds of acres and started planting their crops. They shared their tools and knowledge with each other freely. When one succeeded, he was quick to help the other.

Then one afternoon, a fight broke out between William’s hired hands and James’ helpers. Both were so convinced the other was wrong that they let their sweet bond sour. As the years passed, they both kept to their own farms.

When a handyman appeared at William’s farm begging for work, William brought him outside. He pointed to a muddy area. “A stream used to run through both our lands to water our livestock, but my brother has built a dam. It waters only his acreage now.” 

Then William showed the handyman a grove of trees and bushes. “I want you to make a fence there,” he explained. “Build a big privacy fence, so my brother will forever be a stranger to me.”

The handyman agreed, and William brought the man all the tools and lumber he would need. He left to go handle more business on his farm and finally returned that evening. 

He stopped in his tracks as soon as he saw the handyman’s work. Instead of a fence, there was a beautiful bridge. The work was intricate, and the details were breathtaking.

Before he could ask the handyman about it, William saw James running across the bridge. “You built a bridge to welcome me back! What a special day this is!” 

When someone hurts you, it’s natural to want to shut them out. But instead of ignoring them or sending them away, look to restore fellowship with your friend or loved one.

God, let me be a bridge builder, not a fence builder. Let me be quick to forgive others and warmly welcome them back into fellowship. In the name of Jesus the Messiah, I pray. Amen.

If you enjoyed this post, I’d like to invite you to join my free private Facebook group where m

If you liked this story, you might also like the sweet second chance romance novella Believe in Me, by Mishael Austin Witty. Available now on Kindle for only 99 cents!

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30 Days of Forgiveness in June: Facing Grief

Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”

Matthew 26:38 (NIV)

It was a mild August day when Amelia climbed into the passenger seat of her car. She and her husband were headed to the beach to celebrate her promotion. “We’d only been married five months at that point. We were newlyweds, and I was still learning so much about him.”

But Amelia and her husband never made it to the beach that day. Instead, they were hit by a drunk driver, who crossed into their lane. He hit their car, head-on. 

Amelia’s husband was killed on impact, and she was left with life-threatening injuries. She had broken her back in two places, needed stitches in her face, and had a serious concussion.

Her body began to heal, but her spirit felt broken. “Everyone told me to just forgive the other driver. I got a lot of pressure to move on from other people. One person told me if I didn’t forgive, I was worse than the drunk driver.”

Then came the day Mary showed up in Amelia’s hospital room. She was a widow from a local church who often reaches out to other widows. 

Amelia shared her story, crying through parts of it. “How am I supposed to forgive?” she whispered.

Mary squeezed the woman’s shoulder. “Right now, your only job is to grieve. You need to process what you’re feeling. All of the sadness, rage, and pain. Let it come.” 

Sometimes, it can be tempting to tell someone going through an injustice to “just forgive,” but that advice can stunt the grieving process. 

“It only compounds loss,” Mary explains. “So, now we have someone who’s grieving, and they feel this guilt and sense of isolation added with it. Many people don’t realize this, but Jesus grieved in the Garden of Gethsemane. Grieving is an important part of the healing process.”

God, help me to grieve with those who grieve. Let me be a loyal friend who welcomes the broken into Your presence. In the name of Jesus the Messiah, I pray. Amen.

If you liked this story, you might also like the sweet second chance romance novella Believe in Me, by Mishael Austin Witty. Available now on Kindle for only 99 cents!

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30 Days of Forgiveness in June: Love Is Kind

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.”

(1 Corinthians 13:4, NIV)

Ellie lived with her grandmother, who regularly criticized her from the time she was small. 

“Nana always seemed to have a list of reasons why things didn’t work out for me. In junior high, she told me I didn’t make the cheerleading team because I wasn’t pretty enough. In high school, she said no one asked me to prom because I was too fat.” 

Ellie spent years accepting her grandmother’s painful words. Like many kids and teenagers, she simply believed that when an adult tells you something, it must be the truth. She never thought to question it.

Then she shared with a college friend the painful things her grandmother would say during their daily phone calls.  

“I still remember his face when I told him about it. He turned to look at me, and there was such compassion in his eyes. He said, ‘That’s abuse. Love is kind, Ellie, and you deserve love.’” 

For Ellie, it was the first time anyone had ever stood up for her. She’d never had that validation, and it made her think there could be people who loved her simply for being herself.

“I started working with a counselor not long after that. She helped me see myself as a precious child of God. It took years to work through all of the verbal abuse, but I eventually forgave my grandmother. I didn’t want to carry those wounds with me for the rest of my life.”

God, when the people in my life aren’t kind, help me to remember that You speak love over me. Let me feel the warm embrace of Your love every day. In the name of Jesus the Messiah, I pray. Amen.

If you enjoyed this post, I’d like to invite you to join my free private Facebook group where mothers can connect for support and encouragement in the Lord.

If you liked this story, you might also like the sweet second chance romance novella Believe in Me, by Mishael Austin Witty. Available now on Kindle for only 99 cents!

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30 Days of Forgiveness: Choose Compassion

“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”

(Ephesians 4:32, NIV)

Andy lived in a small farming community in Idaho. When he was fifteen, he took a gun to school. He showed it off to his friends, who crowded around him at the lunch table.

While he was handling the gun, Andy accidentally discharged the weapon. Another student, seventeen-year-old Larry, was shot. Paramedics were called, and Larry was taken to a local hospital.

After several days, Larry woke up to the news that he was paralyzed. Overnight, his baseball scholarships had disappeared, and his girlfriend dumped him. But he couldn’t stop thinking about Andy.

“I know most people would think I hated him. But I didn’t. All I could think about was my younger brother. He’s done some dumb stuff, and I couldn’t imagine how he’d feel if he seriously hurt somebody.”

When Andy was brought to trial, Larry was there. He testified on the other boy’s behalf and begged the jury to show mercy. “He’s already changed my life forever….he knows that, and I know it. I don’t want his life to be messed up, too.” Larry explained.

Because of Larry’s compassion, Andy was sentenced to only a year in a juvenile detention center, with a few years of probation following.

Just like Larry forgave Andy and showed him mercy when he didn’t deserve it, God does that for us … every time when He sin against Him … if only we ask (see 1 John 1:9). And, because of that, we are called to show that same kind of forgiveness and mercy to others.

God, thank You for loving and forgiving me. When someone else’s decisions impact my life, let me be forgiving and gracious. Not because of me and what I want, but because of Jesus and the forgiveness He’s granted me. In the name of Jesus the Messiah, I pray. Amen.

If you liked this story, you might also like the sweet second chance romance novella Believe in Me, by Mishael Austin Witty. Available now on Kindle for only 99 cents!

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30 Days of Celebrating Moms in May: Never Let Go

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Romans 8:38-39 (NIV)

Paula Cichan was traveling with her husband and two kids in August 1987. The family of four was returning from a reunion in Philadelphia. 

But they never made it home.

Flight 255 crashed, killing all of the passengers but Paula’s four-year-old daughter, Cecelia. 

The seconds ticked down as the plane rapidly descended. With no protection to offer her girl, Paula gave the only thing she could—her life. She unbuckled her own seatbelt and threw herself on top of her daughter.

Paula’s sacrifice reminds us of what Jesus did on the cross. Unwilling to see you suffer for eternity, Jesus came to offer life. He sacrificed His life and His body so you could live free. 

This is part of what Jesus meant when He said in John 10:27-28:

“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.”

Wherever you are today, and whatever you’re going through, know that Jesus is holding onto you. And He never lets go of His precious children!

God, thank You for Your sacrifice on the cross. Thank You for giving me life. No matter what happens, I believe You are holding me. In the name of Jesus the Messiah, I pray. Amen.

If you enjoyed this post, I’d like to invite you to join my free private Facebook group where mothers can connect for support and encouragement in the Lord.

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30 Days of Celebrating Moms in May: Doing Good

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” 

Galatians 6:9 (NIV)

Cassie adopted Ethan when he was just a few months old. Even though it meant becoming a single parent, she felt like adoption was what God wanted her to do. 

But Ethan wasn’t like other kids. He’d been born to a mother addicted to drugs, and he had several health problems because of it. His biggest struggle was with learning new information. So, Cassie had to work hard to help Ethan understand basic information like the ABCs.

One day, she’d spent all afternoon working with him. She was about to give up when she remembered Galatians 6:9. The verse gave her the strength to keep working with her son.

But even after their session, Ethan didn’t appear to have absorbed a single letter. Discouraged, Cassie wondered if she’d ever be able to get Ethan to understand letters and words.

The next morning, Cassie went to get Ethan out of his bed. But she stopped when she heard singing. She kept listening, and then smiled as she realized Ethan was singing the alphabet song. 

God, when I encounter hard things, help me to lean in. Give me strength to keep going, even when I feel disappointed or discouraged. In the name of Jesus the Messiah, I pray. Amen.

If you enjoyed this post, I’d like to invite you to join my free private Facebook group where mothers can connect for support and encouragement in the Lord.

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30 Days of Celebrating Moms in May: Redemption in Progress

His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?

John 9:2 (NIV)

Sheryl’s son was diagnosed with autism when he was five. After that, Sheryl spent a lot of time online looking for causes. She made appointments with the best specialists in the world. But even with all their medical knowledge, the doctors couldn’t explain exactly why her son had the medical condition.

A few days after another disappointing doctor’s visit, Sheryl was waiting in line at the coffee shop. The woman behind her struck up a conversation, and they both discovered they had children with autism.

Sheryl felt relieved to connect with someone who understood her family’s struggle. “I keep trying to figure out why this happened. I want to know what I did. I must have done something wrong, and God has punished my son for it.”

The other mother smiled at Sheryl sympathetically. She shared the truth of John 9.  “God didn’t send autism to punish you or your child, but He can use it for His glory. What was meant to hurt and destroy your family will become a beacon of light that calls others toward God.”

God, help me to remember that You can redeem any illness or disability. Please take the painful parts of my life and use them to draw others closer to You. In the name of Jesus the Messiah, I pray. Amen.

If you enjoyed this post, I’d like to invite you to join my free private Facebook group where mothers can connect for support and encouragement in the Lord.

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30 Days of Celebrating Moms in May: Wonderfully Made

“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

Ephesians 2:10 (NIV)

Holly struggled with an eating disorder when she was a teenager. She’d always felt uncomfortable in her skin. When a boyfriend broke up with her because she was “too chunky,” she started purging after meals.

It wasn’t until her senior year of college, when she met a Christian counselor, that Holly began to experience healing. Now, after years of work, Holly views herself as a precious daughter of God. 

Still, when she had kids, she didn’t want them to face the same struggles. So, Holly made it a point to talk with all of her kids about their bodies from the time they were young. “I tried to emphasize how beautiful and unique their bodies were,” Holly explained.

But she didn’t stop there. She wrote down encouraging Bible verses like Ephesians 2:10, Psalm 139:14, Romans 12:1, and 1 Corinthians 6:19-20. Then she placed them throughout the house, near mirrors and on appliances.

Holly said, “My prayer is that my kids get so filled up with the truth of who they are in Christ that they don’t fall into the same lies I did.” 

God, You made my body and formed me. I am Your work of art, and that makes me beautiful. Help me to accept this truth and live it out. In the name of Jesus the Messiah, Amen.

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30 Days of Celebrating Moms in May: Holding On

“For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.”

Isaiah 41:13 (NIV)

As a senior nurse in a busy hospital, Anne thought she was prepared for everything … until the day she learned her mom was in the beginning stages of dementia.

Suddenly, every word, touch, and conversation with her mom was precious to her. Each was a gift that Anne held close and treasured. 

As time went on, Anne watched her mother slip further and further away. She tried not to cry as she watched the tiny woman, who’d once been a powerhouse, retreat into herself. 

One day, Anne was taking her mom to the grocery store. She got out of the driver’s side, and then went around the passenger side to get her mom. The older woman refused to come out because Anne had parked close to the curb. “I’ll fall,” she said in a timid voice.

Anne looked around the full parking lot. Then Isaiah 41:13 popped into her head, “For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, ‘Do not fear; I will help you.’”

It was the Bible verse that her mother had kept taped to the fridge for her entire life. Anne reached out to her mom and smiled. “Don’t worry. I’m holding onto you now.” 

When circumstances look scary, remember God is holding onto you. He will help you through your trial, and He won’t let go. 

God, thank You for holding onto me no matter what! Let me feel the comfort and assurance of Your presence in the middle of my trials. In the name of Jesus the Messiah, I pray. Amen.

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30 Days of Celebrating Moms in May: Shine Like the Stars

Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life.

Philippians 2:14-16 (NIV)

Leslie watched as Jonathan followed Samuel around. Born just ten months apart, the two brothers often seemed like the best of friends. They did everything together until it was time for Samuel to start attending school.

At first, Jonathan would just stare out the front door and ask where his brother was. Eventually, Leslie was able to distract him and keep him busy. She let him “help” with the chores, even though it sometimes meant more work for her.

As time went on, Jonathan adjusted to Samuel’s absence. But one day as Leslie was doing chores with Jonathan, he started to complain. He wanted to know why he had to work while his brother got to go to school to play.

Leslie thought for a moment and said, “You know God tells us to do everything without grumbling so we can shine like stars and show other people God’s light.”

Jonathan stopped. “I’m shining when I clean?”

Leslie smiled. “Yes, you are! Any time you do a task with a good attitude, you’re shining so people can see Jesus.” 

God, help me to approach my chores and activities without complaining. I want Your love to shine bright in my life so others see how amazing You are! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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30 Days of Celebrating Moms in May: All Things

“I can do all things through him who gives me strength.”

Philippians 4:13 (NIV)

When Danny opened his mouth to speak, he started with the words that had always given him courage, “I can do all things through Him who gives me strength.”

Those words were an important part of Danny’s childhood. They were the words his mother had repeated when she was in a difficult labor with Danny. They were the words she’d repeated over him when doctors had said the tiny baby wouldn’t live for more than a few hours. 

Danny had been born with a neuromuscular disease that paralyzed him. He defied the doctor’s dire predictions and lived. When Danny lived, the doctor told his mom that her son would never be able to do anything. 

As was common at the time, the doctor suggested that the best option for Danny was a group home. Knowing her history, the doctor pointed out her other children, “Go be a mother to them. Danny will only be a burden on your family.”

“But my mother refused,” Danny said, smiling, “And today, I’m graduating magna cum laude from one of the best universities in the state, thanks to the grace of God and the love of my mother.” 

You may not be able to provide your child with the fanciest foods or the best clothes. But you can offer your child the knowledge that you believe in them, and that God can carry them through the toughest times. That gift is far more valuable than anything else you could give.

God, help me to be a sweet encouragement to my little ones. When others see grim statistics or terrible outcomes, let me remind them that You are the God of the possible and impossible. Nothing challenges You, and nothing changes You! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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30 Days of Celebrating Moms in May: Sharing Faith

“Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.”

Deuteronomy 4:9 (NIV)

Connie had tucked away her prayer journal in the back of her closet. She brought it out frequently to add updates and notes. When God answered a prayer, she noted the day He did that. When God said “no” to a prayer, she noted that, too. 

Over the years, Connie’s journal began to fall apart. She chose a new journal and began filling it with prayers, too. But one day as she was reading in her Bible, and she came across Deuteronomy 4.

She hadn’t thought to share her prayers and God’s responses with her kids. But now, it was all she could think about.

A few days later, the family dog was lost. Instead of retreating into her prayer closet alone, Connie gathered her three young children into it with her.

Together, they prayed for the safety of their dog. Then Connie went and began calling local animal shelters, but no one had brought the dog in.

The next day, Connie took her kids into the closet and again prayed for the dog. 

Finally, on the sixth morning, there was a knock on the door. Connie opened it to discover a stranger holding their beloved family pet. “He’d been hit by a car and needed medical attention,” the elderly man explained. “I brought him back the moment the vet released him.” 

Praying with your kids can be a wonderful way for them to learn about God’s loving nature. If God doesn’t answer your child’s prayer right away, encourage them to keep praying and waiting. 

God, thank You for all the prayers You answer! You never forget or ignore a request. Now, please grant my children faith. Let them come to know You in a real and life-changing way. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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30 Days of Celebrating Moms in May: The Comfort of God

“As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you…”

Isaiah 66:13 (NIV)

When Cindy’s daughter was a toddler, she had a fear of the dark after an older sibling accidentally let her see a scary movie. Cindy would put her little one to bed, only to have her up a few minutes later, asking her mom to check for monsters.

Each time she asked, Cindy would put down her crossword puzzle to come check. She would look under the bed, in the closet, and anywhere else her daughter wanted her to investigate. Again and again, Cindy was patient, remembering how fearful she’d been as a child, too.

Eventually, Cindy’s daughter grew into a teen. Because of the sweet relationship Cindy had nurtured, her daughter would come to her for advice and guidance on just about everything.

One night, her daughter called out to her in the night. Cindy stumbled from her bed and went to comfort her child. The girl was upset over some cruel text messages she’d received. Cindy stayed up most of the night, talking with her daughter and encouraging her.

Just as Cindy always ran to reassure her child, God does the same thing for His children. It doesn’t matter if you call on Him in the middle of the blackest night or in the deepest distress of your life, God will always come to comfort you, His precious child.

God, thank You for the gift of Your presence. You promise in Your word that You will never leave me on my own (Deuteronomy 31:6, Hebrews 13:5). You come to me when I’m sad, discouraged, or in need. Thank You for that! In the beautiful name of Jesus I pray, Amen.

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30 Days of Celebrating Moms in May: Building Your House

“The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.”

Proverbs 14:1 (NIV)

When her kids were home from school, Dana felt like she spent the entire time nagging them to do their homework and chores. More than once fights broke out, and she spent her afternoons arguing with her children.

She felt like her home was in chaos and wasn’t sure what to do. On the weekends, she worked as a volunteer at a hospital. The volunteer coordinator was a warm, elderly woman named Elizabeth.

When she shared what was going on, Elizabeth listened sympathetically. Then, she shared Proverbs 14. “Someone once told me that, every day, a woman either builds her house or tears it down. When you nag, it’s a way of controlling the situation. It may make you feel better temporarily, but it rarely gets results.” 

Dana nodded. “So, how do I get results, instead of yelling and insults?”

Elizabeth said, “Remind your kids once about what to do. Share what the consequences of not obeying are, and let them make their choices. If they don’t listen, then gently but firmly allow them to suffer the results. That’s what God does for His children.”

Dana took Elizabeth’s words to heart. It was hard at first because her kids challenged her resolve to see if she’d stick with the consequences she’d laid out. But, after seeing her stand firm, her kids quickly began to listen to her. 

This decreased Dana’s stress and made her afternoons with her children more relaxed and enjoyable.

God, help me to build up my house. Give me wisdom when it comes to training my kids and others that are under my influence. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

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