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Saturday, December 31, 2016

Permission to Hope

We buried our sweet cat in the back yard today. Each of us thanked God for how he loved us through some rough times this year. Watching your kids grieve is truly difficult. It's an ache multiplied. As I sit here and think back over the year, I realize how hard it's been and equally how lovely. God has grown us all. The thing is that when you get wounded or things don't go how you would like them to, you are afraid to trust and dream. I keep hearing this phrase in my head.

You have permission to hope.

By definition, you have authority, authorization, sanction, approval, blessing to hope. There's beauty in all of this. Through grief and hurt, God will come and meet with us. You can plan for good things in the year ahead with out fear. You can trust Jesus with the secret things you yearn for. Mark tonight a sacred new beginning. Start asking what you would like to do and give in the year ahead. May you find balance in your work, play, prayer, and rest. Enjoy those around you. One of my favorite Christmas cards read, "The true ornaments of a home are those who frequent it." Love people in 2017.

I love doing Jennie Allen's Dream Guide. It asks several simple questions in different areas of life. It's a great visionary and retrospective tool to give clarity and focus. You can download it from her blog.
http://www.jennieallen.com/2017-dream-guide/




You are always welcome to the table. Holy things can happen when friends and family gather around the table for a meal.  



I love y'all. Thank you so much. You have helped us build and pay for all of our dreams of loving others. Don't resist giving to those around you because of fear. Of course some people will take advantage of your generosity. Love them anyway. That's the beauty of the gospel.


If you would like to support us one time or monthly in 2017, we are grateful to receive from you. 
https://donate.unitedcharitable.org/SearchDetails.aspx?ProgID=101575


Thursday, December 15, 2016

Declare a Year of Beauty


I have sort of abandoned my post here. I think the last few years of children and homeschool have taken a toll on my brain. I also spent my year redoing most of our house because I love my husband and his dream has been to have a family reunion here. More than that, I have been dealing with some hurts. I completely opened up my heart to several people for friendship and came face to face with deep hurt. Another pastor cut me to the core and I watched as pain spread through a group of people. Oh, Jesus, not again. We constantly throw open our doors to love people only to have a huge hunk of our ministry budget stolen. So many personal things are gone. During all of this, we notice that we have an area of termites in our dining room floor. Several pest guys later and they all say they have never seen anything like this. It's a coastal termite. It must have been brought in via infected wood or furniture. They may have to tent our house and fill it with toxic chemicals to the tune of ten grand. 

Through all of this, I kept writing myself a note in my day planner. "Write the words, my dear." Even if it is just a few every day. I have been trying. It's sometimes the longest journey and the most painful to pursue what you love. These are the days you just have to be brave. So. I'm here. I'm writing the words. Sometimes with tears and others with joy. Often both. 

Then God gave me a picture and pressed it on my heart. 

I became a bit obsessed with the idea of beauty this year because I wanted to see it so badly amidst my hurt. I kept asking the Lord what this beauty from ashes looked like. Surely it could not be this fluffy idea that the world holds up as beauty. I think when you have been through throbbing, guttural pain and you have been scorched and charred and made to be ash, something fierce emerges. Surely this is a beauty that is mildly terrifying in power. I mean. It has been hurt so badly that it was charred to ash and then it was resurrected. That sounds pretty intense to me. Show me, Abba. 

You know. Beauty is everywhere. I see it. I see these people wounded and hurting who are raising weary hands to restore justice. People without the capacity to care anymore are caring by the power of the Holy Spirit. His hope drifts in like a butterfly carried by the wind. He dwells among us. 

I have a vision in my heart to declare a year of beauty among the churches rising from the ash of internal hurt. Beauty over rogue pastors and beauty over the wounded. Your shrapnel is seen, beloved. Now, we rise to declare the fierce, humble, merciful beauty of the One who made us. You belong here. You are not alone. Gather in. Desperately seek the healing. 

If you think about it, pray for us. My business is doing well at thegospelmom.com...So we are about halfway to replacing some windows that are falling out. Also pray against termites. We have been spraying the house with beneficial nematodes (they eat their brains) and praying for an organic solution that doesn't involve tenting our house and filling it with toxic chemicals for 7 days. Our hearts are heavy after being hurt badly in ministry this year. If you would like to help us replenish our budget, we would greatly appreciate it. Thank you for your love and care as we have served and loved and been fortunate enough to be in cahoots with the Holy Spirit as he restores and revives his chosen people. We truly are humbled to get to be involved in serious and sacred areas of hurt in people's lives. Thank you kindly from the bottom of our hearts.

Donate one time or monthly to support Gomer's House: https://donate.unitedcharitable.org/SearchDetails.aspx?ProgID=101575


Thursday, December 08, 2016

Intercessory Healing by Dutch Sheets

This book was much different than what I expected. I believe in miracles and healing and many things that nature because I trust who God says he is and I have seen too much to deny it. That being said, any Reformed book reviewer would chew this up and spit it out. It's full of the miraculous that the cessasionist would refute. I believe in the miraculous. As I traveled through this book, I saw it as much more of a biography of this man's prayer life than anything else. I think it should be seen as such. God is different with each one of us. I don't really see a need to name personality traits anointings, but to each his own. I don't see a need for things like prayer cloths or other tools, but I also can't say God would refuse to partake in the symbolism. I think it's just important that we remember where our hope and our healing come from. Christ alone.

That being said, I have to say I was thoroughly impressed with how our author preached the gospel relentlessly. He kept the focus on Christ throughout the entire book. I read story after story of prevailing in prayer. I was deeply encouraged by many things he had to say. I greatly appreciated his work to keep us focused on our real enemy. 

We are reminded over and over that our enemy is not flesh and blood in Ephesians 6. We also can rest and be challenged by the fact that the weapons of our warfare are not carnal. (2 Cor.10:4) 

Thanks for preaching the gospel, Dutch. Even we who know need to hear it.



Saturday, November 26, 2016

Shop Small Today at The Gospel Mom


I make jewelry and art to be able to provide free educational counseling, respite for pastors and those hurt by the church, as well as raise money for adoption. When you shop in my store, you support a community. You are helping fulfill scripture. Thank you for making the choice to pick up artisan handcrafted over mass produced. Here's a coupon code for $5 off in my Etsy store. 
Coupon Code: YALLSHOP


Wednesday, November 09, 2016

365 Morning Pocket Prayers

If you have ever sat on my front porch where I read, you would see why this devotional gave me joy when I took it out of the package. The palm trees spoke peace to me. We can rest because the God who controls the wind and waves also controls our lives. He is utterly sovereign. I read through it's pages and was grateful and humble to be guided through these prayers. The pages have a wide range of topics to meditate on and ask the Lord to deal with. It goes from personal restraint to prayers for pastors, churches, and nations. This would be a great book to have on your bedside table or a coffee table. Pick one up for yourself.

Thanks to Tyndale House Publishers for graciously providing this book for review.




Tuesday, November 08, 2016

Gratitude Prayer and Praise Journal

This has been my favorite little coloring book for meditation. I love being able to take the scripture and write a little prayer to Jesus about it. It's a bit smaller so you don't feel like you are coloring all day either. It's great to sit down with my girls and color. We can each share about our pages and what they mean to us. I'm including some of the pages below so you can get an idea of different things in the book. 


Thanks to Tyndale House Publishers for graciously supplying this book for review.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

I read Uninvited by Lysa Terkeurst

I have said before that I have come to believe that the church is a psychiatric hospital. We are often shocked to find out (via wounding) that the patients are running the place. Over and over we are struck and hurt and left writhing in pain. It takes us by surprise because we are in shock that these Christians could sin against us. The wound is much deeper than if we were hurt in an office job. We were there working for, serving, and trusting the Lord. That is why this book is so necessary. 

I think we all just avoid or sweep things under the rug. Or we blow up or run off. No one is standing there like a sidewalk prophet reminding us to preach the gospel into the deepest, darkest pits of our hurts. This is what Lysa has done for us. She has reminded our hearts to heal, lavish love and grace, and never give up on setting the gospel in the hearts of our abuser (with wisdom and precaution). The words of scripture lavish the heart with hope and healing. The entire book reminds you that even though you were uninvited by man that Christ loves us. He is for us. 

If you are like me and you have been hurt, abandoned, and uninvited by people you have put your trust in, pick up this book. Wallow in the grace of not needing to be right. Learn to extend forgiveness. Follow God's word to hope and healing. Be free from the constraints of anger that bind you to another. Walk in love.

This book was graciously given for review by Thomas Nelson Publishers.



You are so loved.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Prince Noah and the School Pirates

This is a book about a special little boy with down syndrome.

My girls and I sat down a few weeks ago and read this book together. It facilitated great discussion about how we treat people differently when they are not like us. It is a great adventure tale for tiny minds to grasp how we should include others and learn and grow together. All of the children are separated for school on different ships. Girls on one ship. Boys on one. Some who learn differently on another. There were many boats for many needs until one day when they were all kidnapped by pirates! The children had to all band together to escape. It's great. Take the time to read it and learn with your children. My three girls (4, 5, and 9) all loved it.

This book was graciously provided by Plough Publishing for review.

Friday, September 23, 2016

The Bride(Zilla) of Christ by Ted Kluck & Ronnie Martin

Sometimes I have thought that the church looks more like a psychiatric ward than a place of restoration. I am not trying to be a cynic. There is simply a lot of pain there and that makes sense. It should be a place we come to for healing. It can sometimes be hard when the people we are looking to for help bring us more harm. Sometimes we tend to look more like bridezilla than the bride of a gentle and loving God.

That's what this book is about. It is about how the church can hurt you and the people you make yourself most vulnerable to can maim you. There were many great truths in these pages. It spoke of how the overflow of an ungrateful heart is consumerism. That leads congregations to dispose of staff like a commodity. Entitlement creates division. The struggles of ownership in the Corinthian church still continue today. Entitlement obscures our vision and our mission. One sentence reminded the reader that the only thing we are entitled to is wrath. 

There was quite a bit about forgiving those who have sinned grievously against us even when they are not sorry. "Mercy and forgiveness must be free and unmerited to the wrongdoer. If the wrongdoer has to merit it, it isn't mercy, but forgiveness always comes at a cost to the one granting the forgiveness." We want to feel safe at church and when that expectation isn't met, we must learn to forgive.

There were many great and wonderful truths about unity in this book. The problem with two authors can be the two voices differ too much. I began to loathe reading Ted's sections because of his random bitter diatribes about Jon Acuff and Brene Brown. They were completely out of place and lacking in the gospel the rest of the book teaches. Other than that, it was excellent. 3.5 stars for lacking grace.

This book was graciously provided by Multnomah Publishers for review.

The Bride(Zilla) of Christ by Ted Kluck & Ronnie Martin

Sometimes I have thought that the church looks more like a psychiatric ward than a place of restoration. I am not trying to be a cynic. There is simply a lot of pain there and that makes sense. It should be a place we come to for healing. It can sometimes be hard when the people we are looking to for help bring us more harm. Sometimes we tend to look more like bridezilla than the bride of a gentle and loving God.

That's what this book is about. It is about how the church can hurt you and the people you make yourself most vulnerable to can maim you. There were many great truths in these pages. It spoke of how the overflow of an ungrateful heart is consumerism. That leads congregations to dispose of staff like a commodity. Entitlement creates division. The struggles of ownership in the Corinthian church still continue today. Entitlement obscures our vision and our mission. One sentence reminded the reader that the only thing we are entitled to is wrath. 

There was quite a bit about forgiving those who have sinned grievously against us even when they are not sorry. "Mercy and forgiveness must be free and unmerited to the wrongdoer. If the wrongdoer has to merit it, it isn't mercy, but forgiveness always comes at a cost to the one granting the forgiveness." We want to feel safe at church and when that expectation isn't met, we must learn to forgive.

There were many great and wonderful truths about unity in this book. The problem with two authors can be the two voices differ too much. I began to loathe reading Ted's sections because of his random bitter diatribes about Jon Acuff and Brene Brown. They were completely out of place and lacking in the gospel the rest of the book teaches. Other than that, it was excellent. 3.5 stars for lacking grace.

This book was graciously provided by Multnomah Publishers for review.

Friday, August 26, 2016

The Blessing of Humility by Jerry Bridges


In the South there is a saying about being taken to the woodshed.  The woodshed is where you go to get a whipping and sort out your issues. I've been spending so much time in the woodshed spiritually speaking that I could take up residence. In the truest sense, I have been sorting out some deep hurts and some desperate hopes with Jesus. As I followed this book through the Beatitudes, I was more and more desperate to be like Jesus.

Humility is my buzzword. Every time I hear it, it is like an auditory prayer. Simply the word coming in changes into a cry of my heart. Pride is an easy thing for us to muster. Especially for those of us who have been abandoned and wounded. We all want to cover our scars with anything that will conceal our hurts. It is an easy trap. Of course we want others to think well of us. We want them to think we are smart, educated, beautiful, and possessing a perfectly timed wit. Pride doesn't heal others though. It doesn't even look at them. That's why we need to learn to look at the beauty and glory of who Christ is in order to be of any good to another soul.

I cried through certain sections on meekness and peacemaking. "Lord, let me be like you," I prayed. How can we never leave the beloved lost in sin, always speaking into it? How do you speak out against sin and never speak evil of anyone like it says in Titus 3:2? How do we live out Ephesians 4:29?

"Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear."

I don't know the answer, but I'm looking.

Read this book. Let Jesus rend your heart and teach you to love others far beyond your own selfish capacity to do so. Looking at Him turns off the switch in our brains that makes everything about us. Five Stars. Loved it. It tore me up. 

Synopsis from the Publisher:
We all admire humility when we see it. But how do we practice it? How does humility―the foundational virtue of the normal Christian life―become a normal part of our everyday lives?

Jerry Bridges sees in the Beatitudes a series of blessings from Jesus, a pattern for humility in action. Starting with poverty in spirit―an acknowledgment that in and of ourselves we are incapable of living holy lives pleasing to God―and proceeding through our mourning over personal sin, our hunger and thirst for righteousness, our experience of persecutions large and small, and more, we discover that humility is itself a blessing: At every turn, God is present to us, giving grace to the humble and lifting us up to blessing.


This book was graciously provided by NavPress for review.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Lessons From the East by Bob Roberts Jr.

I did not know what I was getting myself into when I selected this book for review. It's hard to tell which direction people are going these days with the adulteration of the church. Thankfully, Bob presented a simple, honest plan for spreading the gospel. It's the plan I would say is closest to my heart.

Bob shares stories from around the globe, not about major marketing plans for our churches, but how people were reaching thousands by loving their neighbors and encouraging others to do the same. It's authentic and relational. The words are a call to self-abandonment. It's counter-culture. It sounds radical. So many of the ways that he is engaging different cultures would be terrifying to us. We are comfortable and have a hard time veering from our routine. We never engage these people except with disdain or pity. What if we were their friend? What if we really listened? What if we were there when people needed us? What if we respected people and allowed God to work in our relationships with them.

This is how we are trying to live. Not in a big, churchy program conversions, but by way of relationships. Loving people is hard. If you read this and choose this, prepare your heart. It hurts. You will pour out everything you have and be a good friend and love deeply. Some people will receive it, but many will abandon you. Grief will flood your world and you will need to pull so close to Jesus to endure it. When you do endure it and continue to be kind to others, pray they see him. Discover needs and meet them. Serve others. Do it for Christ. Don't do it for some culturally acceptable charitable reason. Do it because you love him and you love people because he loves people. He so loved the world. Do it because you need him. Do it for the gospel. Engage someone somewhere. Be ready and listen for his guiding. Who is the least likely person you could reach out to right now? Go. Love.

This book was graciously provided by David Cook Publishing for review.




Wednesday, June 08, 2016

I read Hope Unfolding by Becky Thompson

When I saw the cover of this book, I knew I had to read it. Whoever designed this cover did an amazing job. It made me feel peaceful and drawn to it. Once in the pages, I felt no different. I felt like Becky was simply talking to me the entire time I read her book. It was as if I was sitting across the table from a dear friend. There are so many things we can identify with in her narrative. 




She had plans to marry a pastor and have a certain type of life for herself. God directed her another way and her life seemed to unfold much differently than she expected. She ended up in the middle of nowhere a bit disheveled and depressed until God started to spark a fire in her heart for blogging. From there on we follow her through heartbreak and success. It's a great salve for a mama's heart. No matter how awesome you or your kids are, motherhood makes you weary because you continually pour out a huge amount of everything you are to do it. We all need these little reminders to keep going. We are not alone.

(Graphic Content) In one part of her book she talked about a miscarriage. She knew it was happening and ended up holding her unborn fetus in her hand. She wrapped it up and took it to the hospital in her purse. It stirred some serious memories because this happened to me. It has to be one of the most sobering things I have experienced in life. Sometimes when we go through things like this, it's easy to question if it is real or not because there is no tangible evidence. It all happened inside your body. This however shocks the heart awake. It feels like the loneliest place to be, but thankfully we know that we are not alone. Thanks, Becky.


Wednesday, May 25, 2016

My thoughts on The Antelope in the Living Room by Melanie Shankle

I downloaded this little baby on to my phone a month or so ago to read when I didn't have a book or woke up in the night. I like to have something funny going in the background of reading things that are supposed to make me smarter or wiser. It seems to take the edge off and helps me see life through the scope of normalcy. It's easy to lose our humility in our quest for knowledge. Then we just run around trying to one up one another spiritually. That is lame.

Enter Melanie Shankle who just talks like a normal human being. She tells true to life stories and is more honest than most people I know. I think most of us want to share the truth of our struggles, but we have all fallen pray to some sort of fake stepford wife syndrome in the church. We need a good laugh. We need to say it like it is and be seen for who we truly are so that we can all love one another. I realize that some people don't let us do that. Every time we say something real, they retort that it is also awesome (!). Uh huh. Then those people get upset at us and tell us we aren't sharing. Oh dear. You guys. Grace. Let's wallow in it for each other. Let's laugh.

The other book I read of Melanie's was about friendship. I loved it. This one is about marriage. I can't tell you how much truth was in there hidden in the humor. It is good. There just isn't anything like learning something while we are laughing. No shame in this game. I loved how she spoke of the differences in she and her husband and how she came to be at peace with them. It's good to learn to just enjoy people...especially our spouse. This is a great book on marriage. If you need something light and comical, dive in. 

I think I'll order her other book now.


Sunday, May 22, 2016

A Review of Finding God In the Hard Times by Matt & Beth Redman


I loved this book. If you follow me on The Gospel Mom (on Facebook and Instagram), you will have seen some of the things that impacted me from it's pages. I did not pay attention to what the book was about when I selected it to review. You can read about how it hit me and took me back in time when I started reading it on Instagram.

I review books for publishers. Often I will click on a book in the queue and select it to review without diving into what it's about. I saw this new book by Matt and Beth Redman and selected it. The book is called Finding God In the Hard Times. It's largely about the testimony of Matt's song Blessed Be Your Name. You probably know these lines from it. "You give and You take away. Blessed be Your name." I wasn't expecting it, but reading this book set me straight back in time to a time of miscarriage for me and my husband. We have lost six babies (one set of twins). We just kind of quietly move forward after these things, but on the Sunday after one of our losses, my husband was leading worship at church. He had not planned it in any way, but Blessed Be Your Name was on his set list. In that moment, it hit him and he was overwhelmed with emotion. It was such a helpless feeling to be standing there in the back of the sanctuary and see him hurting. Those words kept washing over me though. "Blessed be Your name. He gives and he takes away." May we as mothers, wives, daughters, and friends always see through to bless God in tragedy and triumph. He's there. He's listening. He redeems our delightful and our painful moments for His glory. ๐Ÿ’— Blessed Be Your Name In the land that is plentiful Where Your streams of abundance flow Blessed be Your name Blessed Be Your name When I'm found in the desert place Though I walk through the wilderness Blessed Be Your name Every blessing You pour out I'll turn back to praise When the darkness closes in, Lord Still I will say Blessed be the name of the Lord Blessed be Your name Blessed be the name of the Lord Blessed be Your glorious name ๐Ÿ’— Blessed be Your name When the sun's shining down on me When the world's 'all as it should be' Blessed be Your name Blessed be Your name On the road marked with suffering Though there's pain in the offering Blessed be Your name ๐Ÿ’— Every blessing You pour out I'll turn back to praise When the darkness closes in, Lord Still I will say Blessed be the name of the Lord Blessed be Your name Blessed be the name of the Lord Blessed be Your glorious name
A photo posted by The Gospel Mom (@thegospelmom) on


I found the pages to be deep and thoughtful. Matt was talking about 9/11 and how he noticed that the church didn't have good songs of lament to help us take our hurt to God's throne for healing. The pages walk you through the Psalms (75% of which are songs of lament) and shows us how the Psalmists always takes his pain to God, but is never left without hope. It hit me like Ann Voskamp's 1,000 gifts, but in a deeper way. It makes the soul yearn to praise.

The book is a short 92 pages with a study guide after. You could easily read and reread it in a day or so. I highly recommend it.

Blessed be Your name.




Friday, May 20, 2016

A Review of For the Love by Jen Hatmaker


Here is all the honesty. I have not been a big fan of Jen Hatmaker. I don't mean to say I don't like her. I just never jumped on the bandwagon. I heard her speak and could have taken it or left it. I thought Seven sounded gimmicky. I just never connected. I am only telling you this because I was given a copy of her latest book For the Love at a conference and I liked it. 

I have read some of Jen's blogs over the years and thought of how brave she is to tackle some serious topics of our day. You know people have to write her some major hate mail. This book is really no exception. It's full of good old fashioned wisdom. Much of what she said I can hear myself saying. In an age where so many Christian mom sites are about "stuff you need to do right or you don't love Jesus," this is a breath of fresh air. I can boil the whole thing down to two phrases.

Simmer down.
Be kind.

Well, Jen, I cooked the food and had the neighbor over. I made Ina Garten's Beef Bourguignon. We cooked and laughed. It's a typical scene at our house and I love that you encourage people to invite people to the table. I loved your chapter on marriage. It's the same advice I give people. Laugh, be kind, have lots of sex, & pray. It's the glue of a marriage, lovelies. 


I think she is simply telling us all to open the doors of our lives with all the grace we can muster (and lean in to Jesus for the rest). I say dive in to the book. Get prepped for some truth and some goofy laughs. 

Bonne livre!
(I think that's enjoy your book in French:)


Thursday, April 21, 2016

Counted With the Stars by Cannilyn Cossette

It was fascinating to me to see a historical fiction account of Exodus from Egypt written from an Egyptian slave's perspective. There were many aspects that I had read but did not truly understand the gravity or impact of. The terror and length of each plague, losing generations of men, and the impact of darkness. Connilyn gives some brilliant and well thought out ideas of how a foreign people who worshipped many gods may have seen the plagues. They had gods that governed each of the things dealt with in the plagues and those gods were failing them. It makes you imagine the rumors that were flying about Moses. What sort of sorcerer was he? Could their gods overcome him? 

Thought the book we journey through the every day, the release, the Egyptians that escaped with the Hebrews, and the treacherous journey through the desert. The imaginative account gave much more to the story for me. I was able to put myself in the shoes of the Egyptians and Hebrews. Of course, there's some unlikely romance and restoration in here akin to Lynn Austin. The book carries itself though. I highly recommend it.

Read on, dear friends.


Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Surprised by the Healer by Dillow & Slattery

I recently read a book entitled Surprised by the Healer that was sent to me. It is about God stepping into our broken stories and offering hope. The testimonies in the book are profound. Each one refutes the idea that there is anyone beyond healing and forgiveness. One of the women spoke about Mary and Martha as she faced some deep hurt she was going through. She stated that she realized that it was not what the women were doing that was of great concern, but what they were offering. One was offering Jesus worship and the other bitterness and focus on another. That realization helped her forgive and put God on the throne as Healer in her life. Jesus, heal our bitter hearts. I pray we are found worshipping. ๐Ÿ’—๐Ÿ’• I highly recommend this book. The words are especially potent if you have endured any trauma or abuse in your life. ๐Ÿ’— Photographer—Vanessa Houk #vanessahouk #forgive #forgiveness #hope #beach #surf #grace #healing #pray #mom #mother #letitgo #beauty
A photo posted by The Gospel Mom (@thegospelmom) on
Perhaps you read my Post about Surprised by the Healer on The Gospel Mom last week. I wanted to share about it again in hopes that some of you who have been abused (or have been convinced by the enemy that your sexuality isn't a gift) would read it for yourselves. It's powerful.


Over the past few months I have been asked repeatedly to tell my story...to write it out, to share it publicly, to video it and something happened during all of that. I started having flashbacks. It was all painful in a way I cannot describe to you. Sometimes I would wake up sobbing and short of breath. I could make a big spectacle about the enemy attacking me, but honestly I think if it wasn't this it would be something else. I just have to do the thing anyway. I can do all things through Christ.

As I read through these stories, I was deeply encouraged. Don't get me wrong, some of them were HARD to read. When we see the things people do to one another, it all begins to be a bit too much. I start to wonder if there truly is any good in the world. Then you hear one woman's story of rising from the ashes. Then another and another. I know only a very faithful God could resurrect this type of hurt. Only him.
Jesus in this book met me and poured precious balm on my heart. I decided to share what I could where I was asked to do so. It means that I had to and will continue to wade through some serious pain to get it out. One thing I am sure of is that the world is most broken and people need every act of love that you will give them. There is nothing so small that it cannot be a tool of Christ to tender a heart. 
Read it. Share it. May your story become less and less about you and more about others as you share it. May light shatter darkness in every area of your life. Be free.