It was almost Christmas, I was five years old, and my class at school was preparing for the Nativity play. Our teacher, Mrs. Davies, allocated the parts while we waited with anticipation, all the girls hoping to be chosen to play Mary, or at least one of the angels. When my name was called, it was to play the part of the donkey. While Katie Hill would get to wear the lovely long, blue dress and put Baby Jesus in the manger, and the other girls ... Read More about Not What I Was Hoping For
by Sara R. Ward “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28) Before my son passed away, I spent almost every night hunched over his medical bed, checking to make sure his feeding tube was working correctly, adjusting his body in the darkness, rolling him on his side so he wouldn’t choke on his saliva. This was my nightly medical drill as the parent of a child with a rare disease. My son was ... Read More about What happens when there is no miracle?
by Bekah Bowman "Those who plant in tears will harvest with great joy. They weep as they go plant their seed, but they sing as they return with the harvest." (Psalm 126:5-6) My Broken Narrative I begin my broken-story narrative on February 10, 2014--the day my son, Titus, had a seizure. What followed was a massive and swift wave that rocked our lives hard between fear, anger, mystery and defeat. April 7, 2015, Titus was diagnosed with a ... Read More about How to Bloom with Joy in the Midst of Brokenness
by Lora Hattendorf “To shine, we must keep in his light, sunning our souls in it by thinking of what he said and did, and would have us think and do. So shall we drink the light like some diamonds, keep it, and shine in the dark.” (George MacDonald, The Hope of the Gospel) Diamonds draw me. Christmas lights mesmerize me. Anything spangled, sparkly, sequined, “who knows how,” anything glittered or glowing has an unmitigated effect on my ... Read More about How to Reflect the Light of Jesus Like Diamonds
by Patricia Alderman My four-year-old niece was spending the weekend with me. Whatever I did, she wanted to help. Including when I began loading several large tote bags into my car. She wrapped her arms around one tote in a bear hug and grunted loudly as she picked it up. She had to peer around the bag to see where she was going, and she huffed and puffed as she struggled to carry the load. When I asked if she needed help, she gasped, “No, I ... Read More about The True Meaning Of Casting Your Cares On Him
by Martha Artyomenko Growing up, I dreamed of being a part of a club where everyone enjoyed reading as much as I did. But I didn’t know how to find a book club to join. And I certainly never dreamed of starting one. Until I realized how easy it might be to start my own. I gathered a few acquaintances, my sister and so we began. Have you ever been part of a book club? Or wanted to be part of a book club? Then I have some ideas for you on how to ... Read More about How to Find the Perfect Book Club for You
by Katie Neal “Next to being married, a girl likes to be crossed in love now and again. It is something to think of and gives her a sort of distinction among her friends.” - Mr. Bennet in Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen Thank you, my dear Mr. Bennet. We’ll deal with you later. First some backstory. As a Christian girl, I have read so many articles and books about singleness and dating. And I assure you, plenty on marriage. But ... Read More about What To Do With the “Almosts”
by Anonymous Ever since we got married, I dreamed of Christmas with children. I love Christmas. Always have. Partly because my parents always labored to protect us from materialism by focusing less on the presents beneath the tree and more on stuffing the season with traditions like trimming the tree together, making a gingerbread house, and watching Christmas classics. I grew up the eldest of three, the only girl towered over by two tall ... Read More about When All You Want for Christmas is a Baby
“Why would you let this happen?” “Don’t you care about me?” “Why didn’t you save my baby?” In the wake of miscarriage we’re pummeled with questions—questions about the biology of reproduction, about our bodies, about medical procedures which may be required, as well as questions about how to process grief, how to share the news with friends and family, how to know if what we’re feeling is normal, and many more. But perhaps the most ... Read More about Why have you forsaken me?
by Nel Stephenson Did I ruin my life? It’s a demonic thought, really, but one that gripped my mind in the first few years of my marriage. I had a thorn in my flesh—a problem of portions larger and greater than I could have imagined. I had a mother-in-law conflict. The situation I walked through is the most painful trial I have ever faced. The self blame I felt was due to seeing the red flags of pending conflict while my husband and I ... Read More about hope for your marriage when you have a difficult mother-in-law
It’s been more than 27 years since I received the letter from my future mother-in-law that almost severed all ties of friendship and family before they had a chance to grow. I sat on my bed, looking out the open window at the beauty of the setting sun, listening to singing birds mocking me as the door of hope of a friendship with my future mother-in-law dashed, like a door slammed in my face. The beauty and joy of knowing the woman who had raised ... Read More about When Your Mother-in-Law Rejects You
by Anika Ryan Ortiz I signed up for a women’s retreat for our church, and the nerves of my introverted side made me anxious for the weekend. After I arrived and settled in the Southern California mountain retreat, the rhythm of the weekend allowed for depth and friendships to form. On the final night of the retreat, the speaker shared the value of vulnerability in community, organically leading to beautiful moments with six new friends that ... Read More about the power of sisterhood: together we can defeat armies