“The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David.”
In December, there was always Christmas music playing in our home. My Mom loved listening to her Perry Como, Andy Williams, and Burl Ives Christmas albums on the family stereo. When music wasn’t playing on the turntable, Mom would be singing “Up on the Rooftop,” or “Here Comes Santa Clause.” Remembering her singing is one of my favorite Christmas memories.
At church we sang Christmas carols, but my favorite time would be the Christmas Eve service and singing Silent Night.
My grandparents and Aunt always visited for Christmas and we attended the service together. It would end with the lighting of small white candles held in the hands of attendees as we all sang Silent Night.
I would stand beside my aunt as the familiar carol began and I would hear her sweet singing voice. As the song progressed my aunt would harmonize with the melody and my heart would swell with joy because it was my favorite holiday, spent with those I loved. As the song came to a close, we would blow out our candles and exit the church in silence, walking down the sidewalk lit by luminaries. It was a special time.
In 1816, the words to the carol we now know as Silent Night were written by an Austrian priest by the name of Joseph Mohr. Two years later, Franz Gruber, the church’s organist, put music to Mohr’s poem and the song, “Stille Nacht” was born. The two men performed the song, accompanied by guitar, for the first time during a Christmas midnight mass at St. Nicholas Church in Oberndorf, Austria.
As the story goes, an organ repairman, Karl Mauracher, was called to repair the organ at St. Nicholas. (The organ being in disrepair was perhaps the reason the song was first sung with guitar accompaniment.) The repairman heard the song and took it back to his hometown of Tyrol, where he shared it with a group of singing sisters, known as the Strassers. The Strasser sisters began singing the song in their performances as they traveled. The carol soon became popular in German-speaking countries. As Germans immigrated to the United States, they brought the song with them. The song was first performed in the U.S. in New York’s Central Park by another singing group of sisters, the Rainer family, in 1839.
It would be hard for me to imagine Christmas without this familiar carol. Growing up in my family’s home, I would always sneak away from the rest of the family at some point on Christmas Eve before it was time for bed. I would go and sit in silence and look at our pretty Christmas tree, all lit up, the only lights in the room. When I married and had a family of my own, I continued this little tradition. Just a few quiet moments, silently looking at the Christmas tree lights, thinking about God’s goodness and Him sending His son, Jesus, all those years ago. He rent the heavens and love’s pure light came down on a silent or maybe even a not-so-silent night, just for you and me. Christ the Savior is born, Christ the Savior is born!
A Chant Sublime
“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one.”
On Christmas Day in 1863, as the American Civil war raged throughout the land, a poet by the name of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow found himself momentarily captivated by the music ringing out from the belfry of the local church. For years Longfellow had been living in a season of personal heartache. First, he experienced the tragic death of his beloved wife, then came the bleakness of a nation at war and then most recently, Longfellow became a caregiver to his son who was seriously injured in battle. All of this despair had taken a toll on the famous poet and he was emotionally and creatively drained. In fact, it had been years since Longfellow had been inspired to write anything new. But, on that Christmas day, when his focus shifted from the distractions of this world to the sublime sound of the bells ringing out, Longfellow sat down and penned the poem, “Christmas Bells”, which would eventually be converted into the carol, “I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day”.
What is captivating your attention this Christmas season? Perhaps like Longfellow, you’ve been living in a time of great despair. Maybe you’ve been coping with a loss or affected by a serious illness, maybe you’re struggling financially or dealing with a wayward child or a broken marriage. Or perhaps, maybe everything is going great for you and you’re grateful to be healthy and able to enjoy all of the festivities that this time of year brings. In either case, let me ask again, what is captivating your attention this Christmas season?
What we choose to focus on matters. Especially now when so many things are competing for our attention. Think about the difference between Martha and Mary in Luke 10. Martha was missing out on Christ because she was so busy being “worried and upset about many things”, while Mary sat captivated at his feet. We can become so distracted by the world that we miss out on the significance of Christ’s birth. We miss out on what the angels in Luke 2:14 proclaimed to the shepherds and what Longfellow described in his poem as “a chant sublime“: The sovereign provision of ‘peace on earth, goodwill to men’.
The restored peace with God that was promised to Adam and Eve in the garden was delivered to us in a manger on that first Christmas. The Prince of Peace came to earth in the form of a baby and through his perfect life, sacrificial death and victorious resurrection we have been reconciled to God. Our mighty Lord and Savior came to us; He willingly bound himself up in the weak flesh of an infant, so that we could one day be reunited with Him in heaven. The idea that a wretched person like myself can be so deeply loved and wanted by a perfectly holy God is mind blowing, it’s beautiful, it’s awe-inspiring, it’s…well, it’s sublime.
This year when the festivities and the personal situations tempt you to look away from the true meaning of Christmas, allow yourself to refocus on Christ. Let His gift of everlasting peace ring in your hearts so loudly that it drowns out the distractions of this world until you become completely captivated by what Jesus has done for you.
O Little Town of Bethlehem
“For a child will be born for us, a son will be given to us, and the government will be on His shoulders. He will be named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.”
Once again, the year has flown and somehow, we are already back to the month of December. Throughout this month, we will each be sharing some of our favorite Christmas carols. For me, Christmas music is my favorite part of the season, so it was tricky to pick out just one song. However, I finally chose “O Little Town of Bethlehem.” I love how the words throughout are very descriptive of what that night in Bethlehem would have been like, with phrases like, “How still we see Thee lie,” and “The silent stars go by.” It was a quiet city, without a lot of excitement. Except for Mary and Joseph, no one was expecting their Savior to be born that night. Yet what a beautiful thought that at Jesus’s first cry, “The hopes and fears of all the years are met in Thee tonight.”
Hundreds of years before Jesus was born, Isaiah prophesied these words found in Isaiah 9:6: “For a child will be born for us, a son will be given to us, and the government will be on His shoulders. He will be named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.” They were given the promise of the coming Messiah, however, they didn’t know how long they would have to wait for His arrival. I’m sure over the course of hundreds of years, they began to doubt if the prophecy was actually going to be fulfilled. When He was finally born, it was probably not how they would have envisioned a prince’s birth. As the song says, “How silently, how silently, the wondrous gift is given.” His arrival was not announced throughout a kingdom, but instead to lowly shepherds. Maybe they thought that He was going to be an earthly King, like David, and bring freedom and peace, not peace to their souls. Perhaps the Israelites were confused or disappointed in the way God’s promises came to be, losing trust that Jesus really was who He was prophesied to be.
Like the Israelites, there are times in our lives, where we know the promises filled throughout Scripture, and yet struggle with doubt as we wait to see how God fulfills those promises. We sometimes think we know what God’s plans will be and envision how He’s going to answer our prayers, instead of releasing control to Him and trusting His plan. Lastly, sometimes we can get confused or angry with God when He finally gives us the answer to our request, but it’s not what we wanted or expected.
We can know that even in the quietness, while we wait to see His plan unfold, He is working in our waiting. Just like the Israelites had to wait for the Messiah, He came when they least expected, and in a way they didn't envision, but it was God’s perfect timing and plan. Even in the waiting, God is working all things out for His glory and our good. We can trust that His plan is perfect, even when it doesn’t look like what we thought it would.
My Dog and a Kitten
"And my God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus." ~Philippians 4:19
When my daughter was a baby, my parents gave us a puppy from their dog’s litter. We named her Chloe and loved this little white dog with black eyes and little black nose. One afternoon, when Chloe was 7, I let her outside. Normally, she stayed in the back yard - but this day, she got out of the fence and barked at the door. I should have let her in at that moment; however, I was putting my two-year-old son down for a nap and decided to let her in as soon as he fell asleep. That was a choice I have always regretted! Before he fell asleep, our neighbor rang the doorbell and informed me that a school bus hit Chloe. We rushed outside and in the middle of the street was our lifeless Chloe. I was hit with grief and guilt!! We stood crying on the side of the street. As we were getting ready to pick her up, a kitten suddenly appeared and approached each of my sobbing children. They were devastated over Chloe - but with this playful kitten, their tears soon dried up and they started laughing. As I watched this happening, I believed that the Lord provided this kitten at the exact moment we needed in order to offer us comfort. Over the years, this situation has reminded me that no matter the circumstance, He is the God who provides. Whatever our need, whatever we are facing - He knows. He cares. He will provide.
Throughout Scripture, there are countless ways that God provided. In Genesis 22, out of obedience to the Lord, Abraham was preparing to sacrifice his son, when he “saw a ram caught by its thorns…and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. ‘So Abraham called that place Jehova Jireh, the LORD Will Provide’” (Genesis 22:13,14). The Lord creatively used ravens to bring food to Elijah in the wilderness when there was a famine (1 Kings 17: 2-16). When Jonah was running from God out of disobedience, the Lord provided a large fish to save him (Jonah 1). And out of His unconditional love for us, the Lord provided His perfect Son to pay the penalty for our sin (John 3:16). Jesus is the ultimate gift and only provision for eternal hope, joy and life!!
The God of Abraham is the same today, yesterday and tomorrow and He Will Provide! He will provide through a divorce, unplanned pregnancy, death, accident, job loss, illness, financial crisis, difficulty with a parent, child or grandchild, deployment, depression…. The situations are endless - however, He remains the same. Rather than half-heartedly saying, “I know that God can provide,” we can confidently say, that the Lord Will Provide because that is Who He is! He Will Provide in His timing and for His good and pleasing will. He may provide at the very last moment, when everything looks hopeless, but He will always provide!
By the way, because no one claimed that kitten, we kept him and named him Jireh!
Thankful For Everything?
“ Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.”
I Thessalonians 5:18 says,
“Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus."
Wow, that is not always the easiest thing the Lord commands us to do. Most of us have walked through some really difficult things that bring us, at its worst to deep grief and anguish, and at best, to feeling bewildered or confused as to why it happened.
If we are not careful, we can find ourselves living under the assumption that life should be easy and trouble free because we follow Jesus. But that is the exact opposite of what Jesus told his disciples, the men who gave up everything to follow him. In fact, he said, “in this life, you will have trouble." That word trouble in the original language means, anguish, affliction, trouble, and persecution. And yet God’s Word still tells us to “be thankful in everything."
Thankfulness is about faith and trust, Colossians 2:7 says, “ Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.”
There are truths in God’s Word we learn with our heads that cannot be seared onto our hearts until we experience them.
The sudden death of my father is one of the things the Lord used to make this truth about thankfulness real for me. This is the single most difficult thing I have walked through; the grief was so overwhelming at times I felt like I couldn’t breathe. Even now, after 11 years, I write this with tears in my eyes. You see, being thankful is not the same thing as being happy about a circumstance, or denying the pain or the ugly wrongness of it.
Thankfulness is about “letting your roots grow down deep into him,” allowing the things the Lord has allowed in your life to drive you deeper into His grace and mercy, so you are able to trust Him, and your thankfulness overflows not in the circumstance but in who He is.
As we drove to my father’s funeral, the Lord met me in that car with a simple children’s song from Psalms 33**, He spoke this truth to my heart.
In You our hearts rejoice, for we are trusting in your name,
in You, our hearts rejoice
We depend on You, for we are trusting in your name,
we depend on You
Our hope is in you Lord, for we are trusting in your name,
our hope is in you Lord
I am still filled with thankfulness as I remember the tender way He accompanied me to the funeral. Reminding me I can rejoice in Him, not in the circumstance, I can depend on Him, even when I don’t understand why the Lord allowed this, and I can hope in Him because this life is not the end. He has an incredible eternity marked out for my Dad and me.
Oh, Ladies, we can give thanks in ALL THINGS because we belong to Christ. After Jesus said “in this life, you will have trouble” he said “ fear not, for I have overcome the world” and in that we can truly be thankful.
**Psalms 33 is written by Rob Biagi, I added the link if you want to take a listen.
"'I don’t know whether (Jesus) is a sinner,’ the man replied. ‘But I know this: I was blind, and now I can see!’”
Next week my husband will have cataract surgery. He will have surgery on one eye and then a week later on the other. He is rather young to be having this surgery in my opinion, but because of some medications he has had to take for other health issues, the cataracts appeared quickly and his vision has suffered because of it. Ironically, he is an eye doctor, so he needs to be able to see clearly when examining the vision of others.
Recently he told me the story of a patient who had cataract surgery at the age of 95. That is rather an old age to be having surgery, but she was healthy in allother regards and the cataracts which had been there for a long time threatened to rob her of vision completely. She had needed the surgery for 20 years but had been afraid to have it done.
So, at age 95 she had the cataracts removed, and she could see again. What had once been blurs of her loved ones became clear and distinguishable faces. Her vision acuity was great again. She was amazed at the difference and very grateful for having had the surgery. And, my husband told me, she was also quite sad. She was sad that she had waited 20 years because of fear. She was sad at all of the sights she had missed in those years; at all of the family events that had just been blurs on the screen of her eyes. She deeply regretted having let fear have dominion over her life.
The disciple John tells us in his gospel that when Jesus walked on the earth, He declared that He was the Light of the world and then He healed a man who had been blind since birth (John 9). The man’s life changed instantly. The man who had been a beggar for years because of his blindness, could now see. The change was so incredible that his neighbors questioned whether he was really the blind man they had known his entire life.
The religious leaders decided to get involved in the conversation because this life-transforming miracle happened on the Sabbath, a no-no in their eyes. Their vision was fixed on their own legalism rather than on the miracle that had just occurred.
The Pharisees accused Jesus of being a sinner. They brought the formerly blind man’s parents in for questioning. They continued to deny the work of God that was right before their eyes. The now-seeing man told them as they questioned him a second time about his healing, “‘I don’t know whether (Jesus) is a sinner,’ the man replied. ‘But I know this: I was blind, and now I can see!’” (John 9:25)
The healed man was thrown out of the synagogue by the religious leaders, cut off from community. Jesus found the seeing man and revealed Himself to him, telling him, “I entered this world to render judgment—to give sight to the blind and to show those who think they see that they are blind.” (John 9:40)
It is quite the paradox, Jesus enabled a physically blind man to see, both physically and spiritually, while the physically seeing religious leaders denied the spiritual and physical miracle right before their eyes. They were the blind ones. All of the blind man’s sightless years were swept away in a moment by the hand of God and he was also blessed by the gift of beholding God himself, and he believed.
Let The Repairman In
You also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
We recently moved into a newly built home and over the last few months we’ve had multiple contractors here to either repair or finish projects that were not completed before our closing. As a somewhat private person, I am not completely comfortable with welcoming all of these strangers into my home on a weekly basis. It seems like I am never quite sure of which rooms they will be entering and truthfully, there are just some rooms that I would prefer for people to stay out of. As I considered this matter, I wondered if as Christians there are “rooms” in our spiritual houses that we are not inviting Jesus into.
The room that is ‘too dirty’:
In a home with two little boys, messiness is inevitable, especially in the bathroom and sometimes a serious cleanup is required. On those days, I would want to hide the dirtiness behind the door.
Is there sin in our lives that causes us to hide ourselves from God?
When we knowingly sin, our shame can make us want to hide from the Lord. We may become distant in our prayer lives and feel like we need to veil ourselves from His sight. But, because of the cleansing power of Jesus’s death and resurrection, with a repentant heart, we can confidently ask God into our mess and experience the restoration of His amazing grace upon us.
The room that’s ‘too full’:
In Southwest Florida, houses don’t typically come with a lot of storage space, so all of our extra things often get crammed into a spare bedroom. These extra things aren’t necessarily bad and may even be neatly organized, but the room is just too full for anyone to fit into it.
Are our lives too full of good things and busy schedules that we’ve left no space for the Lord?
Sometimes our blessings can become our god. We can become so involved with what we have or with what we have to do, that we leave no space for the true God to have His way in our lives. When we invite Jesus to stand in the center of our full lives, asking for His will to be done, we can be sure that He will wisely order our days.
The room that’s ‘too personal’:
The home office allows us to keep all of our private business separated from the more public areas of the house. In fact, we may even put a lock on the door to encourage people to stay out.
Are there things in our lives that we feel are too personal to share with God?
The physical and emotional intimacy of marriage is an amazing thing, but there are difficult seasons and situations in marriage that are so deeply personal that we may prefer to keep them private. When we invite God into these personal matters we can trust that He will work for us; He created marriage and He deeply wants to preserve the beauty and holiness of it.
So, even though there are days that I’d prefer to keep some doors shut, if I don’t let the repairman in, then the work on my home will never be finished. Likewise, if I don’t invite the Lord into every area of my life, then I will never fully experience His restorative and refining work in me.
Are You Sure?
“This is why you must take up the full armor of God, so that you may be able to resist in the evil day, having prepared everything, to take your stand.”
My 5 year old son enjoys math and will randomly ask me different addition problems throughout the day. Recently, he was asking me what eight plus eight equals. I told him that it was sixteen and very confused, he looked at me and said, “No, I said what is eight plus eight?” I gave him the same answer, and then he questioned me again, saying, “Are you sure?” At that moment, because he kept doubting me, I started to doubt myself too, thinking maybe I told him the wrong answer. After taking a moment, I reassured him that sixteen was, in fact, the right answer.
As I sat there, finding it humorous that I let my 5 year old cause me to doubt a math fact that I had been taught my whole life, I realized how easily it is for us to be swayed in our thinking. Whether it’s our culture, the enemy, or our personal worries and unbelief, it is so easy for us to doubt the truth of God’s Word. We can easily find ourselves questioning things that we know to be true, some of which we have been taught our whole lives.
God knows that we will deal with doubt, which is why, in His wonderful grace, He reminds us all throughout the Bible to be steadfast and on guard. We can do that by daily reading His Word, memorizing Scripture, and spending time in prayer so that we will not be easily swayed by other teachings or beliefs that are thrown at us. Ephesians 6:13 says, “This is why you must take up the full armor of God, so that you may be able to resist in the evil day, having prepared everything, to take your stand.” When we are consistently reading the Bible and spending time in our relationship with God, it will strengthen us for when those doubts try to creep in. We will more easily be able to spot the lies in our thinking and combat them with the truth. Even Jesus was tempted by Satan in the wilderness to deviate from the truth, but Jesus fought those lies by quoting Scripture.
It’s like the familiar story that is told about the person whose job it is to recognize counterfeit money. The way they become so good at it is by taking time to truly study what the real dollar and coin look and feel like. That way, when something counterfeit is in front of them, they can quickly realize it, because it differs from the real thing. In John 10:4-5, Jesus gives a similar illustration about sheep with their shepherd: “The sheep follow him because they recognize his voice. They will never follow a stranger; instead they will run away from him, because they don’t recognize the voice of strangers.” When we are so familiar with truth, it will be easier to flee from the lies of this world and not doubt the Word of God.
"But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint”
Recently, my husband and I experienced an unusually crazy, non-stop period of time. So, after church one Sunday afternoon, we left our home and went for a motorcycle ride through a rural area. Sitting on the back of the motorcycle was vey relaxing. As we rode, I enjoyed the rolling hills, cows and horses in the pastures and the fresh air blowing in my face. At one point, I looked up and watched two birds …high in the sky…gliding … effortlessly … floating … going higher and higher … soaring. The words of Isaiah came to mind, “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint” (40:31).
At that moment, the birds were soaring. They were not trying to carry sticks to build a nest or food to feed their young. They weren't trying to impress or compare themselves to the bird flying near them. They didn’t have the weight of the world on their feathers. They were soaring - so effortlessly - so beautifully and so freely. I realized that in my multi-tasking mindset, I was trying to do many things in my own strength. Even though they were good things, I wasn't waiting on the Lord, therefore, I definitely wasn’t mounting up on wings as eagles and soaring - I was more like a chicken running in circles flapping my wings in a tailspin crossing things off my to-do-list…. and I was beginning to feel weary and faint. As I watched those birds soar, they were doing exactly what the Lord created them to do. And the very way that His word encourages us to live. When we wait upon the Lord, our strength will be renewed, we will spread our wings and soar like eagles, we will run this race and not grow weary and we will walk through life without giving up. And that, is very refreshing for my soul!
We all will face serious burdens and feel as though we are spiraling downward unable to run or walk. When this happens, Jesus told us to, “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:29,30). We can cast our cares upon Him, because He cares for us. And we can remember that the Lord likens us to eagles. The eagles are a symbol of courage and strength. They tend to fly higher than any other birds, oftentimes they fly alone. When there is a storm or wind runs into hills or mountains, currents are forced upward and when eagles discover such a current, they just go along for the ride. They don’t force themselves through the current - that would be exhausting and foolish—they fly without expending much energy and they are able to soar higher and higher. The eagle allows the difficulty to take him higher. And that is a beautiful example of allowing our trials to take us higher and higher, straight into His mighty presence!
Next time you are feeling weary and faint, wait upon the Lord- really sit at His feet, meditate on His word, rest in His unconditional love for you, listen to what He wants to share with you and your strength will be renewed and soon you will be soaring.
“You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day passed.”
I sat watching my week-old granddaughter as she lay in her cushioned bouncy seat. Her eyes were wide open, quietly looking up at the space above her. She was so small, so tiny, so vulnerable. I was struck by her vulnerability, being so small in a big room, in a big house, in a big world. If she didn’t have loving parents, an adoring big brother, a loving grandmother nearby, how would she survive?
Yet that is how we all come into the world; small, vulnerable human beings. By comparison, I was a huge baby when I was born, the largest my mother’s doctor had delivered in his 30-year medical career. My parents tell me that I was a miniature of my father in appearance. Still, I was small and except to my parents and grandparents and the rest of their family and friends, I was insignificant. No newspaper headlines proclaimed my arrival in the world. It wasn’t reported on the local news. It was a grand event for my family who welcomed me with great love, but just a tiny blip in the events of a big world.
Even so, my Heavenly Father, the God who ultimately created me didn’t think me insignificant. The Psalmist David wrote in Psalm 139 that God had already planned out my days even as he was knitting me together in my mother’s womb: “You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day passed.” (Ps. 139:16)
All of these thoughts passed through my mind as I watched my new and already greatly loved granddaughter. How any of us survive in a world so big is really miraculous; yet we do survive. We survive and become the parents and grandparents of new small beings. Watching my granddaughter, my thoughts drifted to how big God is and how He looks out for the small things of His creation. I thought of the words of David in Psalm 8:
“LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!...
When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
what is mankind that you are mindful of them,
human beings that you care for them?
You have made them a little lower than the angels
and crowned them with glory and honor.
You made them rulers over the works of your hands;
you put everything under their feet:
all flocks and herds, and the animals of the wild,
the birds in the sky, and the fish in the sea,
all that swim the paths of the seas.
LORD, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!” (Ps. 8:1, 3-9 NIV)
All of us are significant, every single person that has ever been born, because we have a Heavenly Father who says we are.
My precious husband, Bill, and I have been planted in Fort Myers, Florida for almost 35 years. As a newly married couple, God most graciously had placed people in both of our jobs to share Christ with us. Its hard to believe it has been almost 34 years since we asked Jesus into our hearts! Bill and I have been blessed with four children, 3 daughters, then a son. These blessings came quickly, all within 6 years!! During these years I'm so thankful I was able to be part of women's ministry classes at our church, helping me to grow in my walk with Him. Then came the day when I was asked that question that stretched me way outside of my comfort zone...will you teach a class? Its hard to believe that I have now been teaching more than 20 years. Bill and I love to travel, most of the time going to visit our 9 grandchildren, oh ya, and their parents! I also love reading, walking and hanging out with some very special young moms in Beloved that bless my socks off!
Julie is a Kansas girl who resides in sunny Southwest Florida. She's been married to her husband Sean for 23 years and they share two boys ages 21 & 17. She enjoys baking and biking, but her absolute favorite thing is snow skiing which is a little difficult to do in a sandy 80 degree land.
She became a follower of Christ at age 10. She loves studying and teaching God's Word. She has a passion for encouraging moms to love and follow Jesus.
Beth grew up in a loving home; however, in her early 20s she faced a very lonely time. During that time, she cried out to God and asked “If You are real, please show yourself to me!” God met her where she was and she trusted in the Lord Jesus at that time. Her life verse and desire is “no matter what happens, to conduct herself in a manner worthy of the gospel.” Philippians 1:27
Beth now resides in Tampa, Florida with her husband Larry. The Lord has blessed them by blending their family of five children. They currently have eight grandchildren and are hoping that there will be more grandchildren in the future.
Donna accepted Jesus as her Savior at the age of nine and has been amazed at God’s goodness and faithfulness throughout her life. She has been blessed to have had many mentors through each season of life, who have shown her what trusting God looks like. Donna and her husband, Bryan, make their home in central Arkansas. They have five grown children and are grandparents to wonderful grandchildren. Donna enjoys spending time with her family, laughing with friends (usually over coffee), going for long walks with her husband, and reading a good book (which may also be accompanied by a cup of coffee).
Sarah is a true Florida Cracker. She was born and raised in Southwest Florida. At the age of 6, Sarah accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior, and she hasn't looked back since. Hebrews 13:8 is one of her favorite verses, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever." Eating delicious desserts, spending time with her family and friends, and teaching people about Jesus are a few of the things she enjoys to do in her spare time.
Sarah has been married to her best friend and husband, Brandon, for 7 years. They have been blessed with one beautiful, determined son, Asher, who keeps them on their toes. Sarah and her family live in the Tampa area. They love exploring their community together, family hugs, and eating pizza whenever possible.
Katie Flint just recently moved back home to Fort Myers, Florida with her husband, Ryan and two children, Collins and Madden. At the age of 5, Katie accepted Jesus Christ to be the Lord and Savior of her life, after attending Vacation Bible School. Through each phase of her life, God has shown her that He alone is trustworthy. The verse that has been her life source is Psalm 46:10- “Be still and know that I am God.”
She is a stay-at-home mom and enjoys exercising and baking. She has been married to her husband Ryan for almost 9 years, who is her high school sweetheart. They enjoy trying new restaurants, family trips to the beach, and relaxing at home.
Marsha grew up in a small rural town in upstate New York. In 2006, after finishing college, she moved to sunny SW Florida where she met her, now husband, Shawn. Together they enjoy spending family time with their two fun-loving toddler boys Zachariah and Kairos.
Marsha enjoys living an active lifestyle, which is helpful, considering that her favorite hobby is baking.
Though she attended church as a child, Marsha was not saved until adulthood when her eyes were finally opened to the love and mercy of Jesus Christ.
Since being saved, God has placed a loving burden on her heart to share the truth about God’s healing grace with those who may feel like forgiveness is not possible for them.