faith, Family Fun & Fitness

30 Days of Confronting the Darkness in July: Not Strong Enough

Some men brought to him a paralyzed man, lying on a mat. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the man, “Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven.”

(Matthew 9:2, NIV)

Sharon’s life looked perfect on the outside. She was married to a godly man who loved her deeply. She had three beautiful, healthy children. She worked part-time in a job that she found fulfilling.

But still, Sharon couldn’t shake the depression that followed her around. She didn’t understand why she was depressed. She’d had a great childhood with loving parents. She’d never suffered any significant illnesses or diseases. 

Still, she struggled to get out of bed each morning. She felt guilty for being depressed. “You don’t have a real reason to be sad,” she reminded her reflection in the mirror.

One day, her husband gently suggested Sharon should see a counselor. 

“I feel like I should be strong enough to overcome this on my own,” Sharon said.

“You don’t have to be,” her husband responded. “Just like the paralyzed man needed people to carry him to Jesus, sometimes we need people to carry us. Let me help you. I’ll go with you to see the counselor and support you every step of the way.”

God, when I can’t do it on my own, send sweet friends and a loving community to wrap their arms around me. Let me feel their support and care each step of this journey. In the name of Jesus the Messiah, I pray. Amen.

faith, Family Fun & Fitness

30 Days of Forgiveness in June: From Death to Life

“Help us, God our Savior, for the glory of your name; deliver us and forgive our sins for your name’s sake.”

(Psalm 79:9, NIV)

Mary Johnson was at work when she learned her son had been murdered. She struggled through the next few months including the trial of his killer, Oshea Israel. Oshea was just sixteen years old when he was sentenced to twenty-five years in prison.

At the trial, Mary said she forgave Oshea. But she carried around anger and bitterness with her constantly. 

She struggled with feeling hate toward Oshea. That changed when she read a beautiful poem about two mothers who were grieving over the loss of their sons. One had lost her son to violence at the hand of the other one’s son.

The poem sparked in Mary a vision for an organization that could help heartbroken mothers who had lost a child. But she knew she needed to work on forgiving Oshea, so she reached out to him in prison.

When the two met together, they talked for over two hours. Mary offered forgiveness again, and before she left Oshea asked if he could give her a hug. As she walked out of the prison that day, Mary felt all of the hate and bitterness leave her body.

In 2010, when Oshea was released from prison, Mary threw him a party. The two now travel together and speak at events, sharing their story. Her organization is aptly named From Death to Life.

God, help me not to hang onto bitterness and hatred in my heart. I don’t want to drag this anger with me for the rest of my life. Help me to release this burden to You. In Jesus’ name, 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: Carried to Jesus

When Jesus saw their faith, he said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.”  

(Luke 5:20, NIV)

They called themselves The Three Musketeers as kids. Liam, Noah, and Jackson were friends since elementary school. They did everything together and were constantly playing pranks on each other. 

Instead of going their separate ways after high school graduation, they decided to rent an apartment together. But shortly after turning twenty, Liam became very ill. He had no family to look after him so Noah and Jackson took turns caring for him. 

They brought him to doctor after doctor. No one could explain why Liam had suddenly lost the ability to walk. Noah and Jackson suspected he had a neurological disease but neither knew enough to help their friend.

So, when they heard about a man named Jesus that was healing people, they decided to bring their friend. “Maybe this Jesus guy can help you, buddy,” Jackson said as he carefully loaded his friend into the back of his car.

Noah grinned. “Who knows? Maybe you’ll be running a marathon by this time tomorrow.”

But when Jackson and Noah arrived, they quickly saw the crowds were thronging Jesus. “There’s no way we’ll get close enough to get his attention,” Jackson said.

“Hold on, I have a crazy idea,” Noah said. The two men gathered a tarp from the trunk, made a makeshift gurney, and then carefully moved their sleeping friend. 

They climbed to the roof of the house where Jesus was and peeled away shingles until they had a large opening. Then they lowered their friend down until he was right in front of Jesus. Jesus not only forgave their friend, but He also healed him from his disease.

Sometimes, God sends people into our lives to help us seek His forgiveness. It might be a friend that prays for you faithfully, a parent that won’t give up on you, or a sibling who always has your back.

Thank You for the friends that carried me when I’ve been hurt, God. Let me return that kindness and carry someone else to You when they need it. 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!