Category Archives: Guest writers

Guest post: My first contact with the racism virus

At 9, I had an up-close and personal look at the racial divide.

It happened during my family’s trip to a suburban Chicago shopping mall. As we exited a large department store, another child got my attention.

He was with his family, too. I wondered if he was just as amazed by being in the 1970s megastructure.

But he was amazed by something else. He yelled, “Mommy, look at all the Black people!” I looked to see the people he saw.

Being African-American, I saw Black people all the time. As the obvious conclusion sunk in, I knew the boy was looking at my parents, my three siblings, and me.

My would-be playmate became my White audience instead. Our child-to-child connection was tainted. It felt like he was on vacation and I was on display — for all the wrong reasons.

My mother’s face grew concerned. I’d been exposed to the racism virus and it was too late to give me a vaccine. I’d have to build immunity over time. I’d need doses of truth to counteract the attempt to inject me with insignificance.

The boy’s mother made a poor attempt to hide her embarrassment. Avoiding eye contact with us, she grabbed her son’s hand and hurried away. But they left the insidious residue of an “us and them” mentality. It stuck with me and tried to mutate my thinking. I fought back hard because racism will try to confuse you, confine you or make you a carrier.

I’d seen images of the civil rights movement on television and heard snippets of my parents’ conversations about the need for racial equality.

I’d sat attentively in the classroom learning about African-American contributions to our nation as we observed what was then Black History Week (now it’s the entire month of February).

And yet, I held a naïve hope in my childhood heart. I thought any child I met could be my next friend. A lie said no. However, truth wouldn’t let things stay that way.

I’d later become best friends with a girl of biracial heritage. Her parents’ marriage reminded me love wins. A few years later, through my high school’s student exchange program, I’d become friends with white kids who weren’t startled by the appearance of black people. We shared hopes, dreams, and the common teenage longing for acceptance.

Because at its worst, racism robs a person of any chance of being accepted — as a person. Instead, it limits them to a color, a stereotype, or a statistic.

Decades later, I’m much less naïve and more infused with biblical truth. I’ve endured countless exposures to the racism virus.

Some people still look at my skin color as the first or only consideration for who I am or what I have to offer. But categorizing people solely based on our perspective can cause us to miss God’s heart. He never intended for His mosaic creation to lead to the mistreatment of others.

Historically, our nation missed God’s intentions and we remain stuck in the mire of slavery’s legacy and today’s racially tinged rhetoric. And yet, my childhood experience, or your similar experiences, reminds us we need to move forward.

Some people have.

Some people struggle with racism’s confusion or confinement.

Sadly, others have become unwitting or uncaring carriers of the divisive and hateful strain. However, improving race relations won’t matter to us, if we don’t sense God’s purpose for us.

Otherwise, at best, we’ll settle for a politically correct stance instead of a true change of heart. But if we are to walk in God’s purpose…
“The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”(1 Samuel 16:7 NLT)

“For anyone wanting to receive God’s forgiveness, His perspective or His healing, it’s made possible through faith in Christ.” (see Romans 7:21-25)

His power is just a prayer away.

With a sincere heart, go ahead and ask Him. The results will surely bring hope for the heart and joy to the soul.

Scriptural Reflections:
1. Genesis 1:26-31
2. Matthew 22:37-40
3. Acts 15:11
4. Ephesians 4:2-6 and 31
5. James 2:1, 9 and 10
6. 1 John 4:7 and 8
7. Revelation 5:8-10

The Lord doesn't see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.

Joy A. Williams

Joy A. Williams is an author, blogger, and speaker. She has served as a small-group Bible study leader, Women’s Conference and Retreat speaker for over twenty years. Joy encourages sincere or sidetracked truth seekers with “joy to the soul” on her weekly blog.

You can also connect with Joy on Twitter or Facebook and on Pinterest.


Featured image photo by Suad Kamardeen on Unsplash

Guest post: The doctors said my son might never walk again

[One of the great blessings I’ve experienced since I started writing is getting to connect with men and women all over the world who read my words. Oftentimes it’s something simple like, “thank you, I needed that” or “me, too”. Sometimes I get asked to pray over a situation someone is going through, which is a true honor. And sometimes, someone reaches out and says, “I’d like to tell you my story.” A few weeks ago a reader I’d never met, named Lauren Findley said those words to me via Facebook. But I wasn’t prepared for what she was going to tell me. Her story, and that of her little boy, moved me to tears. Only a God as great as ours could do these things.

Lauren was gracious enough to let me share her story with all of you.]

My name is Lauren Findley, and this is a picture of my family.

Lauren findley 3

If you had told me a year and a half ago that I would be asked to write about the gift of trust, I would have thought you were crazy. I have struggled with crippling anxiety my entire life. Proverbs 31 haunted me when it talked about “She was clothed in strength and dignity and laughs at the days to come.” I didn’t understand how anyone could laugh at the future.

On the morning on August 6th, 2017 my son, Ethan, and his cousin were running around our house playing tag. Ethan fell down and wouldn’t get back up. It wasn’t long until we realized that he couldn’t get up. He was hysterical and tried to tell us that he had sand all over his body. We realized that he was numb.

Robby, my husband, and I carried him to the car and rushed him to Cook Children’s Hospital. Ethan was immediately rushed into a sedated MRI. We then sat around waiting for him to wake up to find out what was going on. There was a lot of prayer and asking people to pray, but I was in denial that anything was really wrong with him. We were brought into a little room in which they made us sit down and the doctors began explaining that Ethan had a stroke.

They had no answers for us.

We walked into the Pedi ICU to find our precious boy screaming and not being able to see, sit up, or use the right side of his body. Later that day we were told that he had a stroke in the motor skills part of the brain, and they had no idea what type of a recovery he would have. They told us that they didn’t know if he would be able to walk again, have short term memory struggles, or get his cognitive skills back. They also ran more tests than I can count and every one was found inconclusive for what caused the stroke.

Lauren and Ethan

It was at this time I felt God ask if I could trust him even for a minute. I told him that I could trust him only for that long. He was going to have to handle the next minute. The Holy Spirit placed Matthew 6:34 on my heart “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will have enough trouble of its own.” I told the Lord He was going to have to do it for me.

He gave me the strength.

A friend sent me 2 Corinthians 12:8-10 (NIV) “Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

I clung to this passage. I begged the Lord to make me strong, because I was at my weakest. He followed through in amazing ways. He kept me going when I could not go anymore. These were some of the worst days of my life. God showed me that I needed to take every thought captive. I had to constantly fight the “what ifs” and live for the moment.

It was also at this time that I felt led to start posting exactly what was going on to Facebook, which seemed crazy to me, but I chose to trust. We quickly began seeing the goodness of God not only in the Holy Spirit but also through the kindness and loving encouragement of others.

Ethan opening presents in hospital

We were finally moved out of the PICU and into the Neurorehab floor of Cook Children’s. We started seeing progress in Ethan’s motor and cognitive skills, but we were told not to get our hopes up. He was in speech, physical, and occupational therapy three hours a day. My parents had been stuck in California due to bad weather, so we had to rely on others for help with our other son and everything else. This was a blessing, because we were able to see God work out every little detail when we didn’t have our family around. And Ethan’s sweet friends loved on him in ways that reminded me of God’s goodness.

On August 8th, my mom’s birthday, my parents arrived. My devotion that day was about waiting for God and my lack of control. It touched on the fact that God is in control, and He is so good, things that I desperately needed to hear. On August 12th I was given Psalm 130:5, “I wait for the Lord. My soul waits. And in his word I hope.” On August 16th, we were shown how to work with Ethan to help him walk. We kept seeing huge progress, but we were told not to keep hoping.

After hearing that he may never walk over and over again, I felt God just saying “watch me, trust me.” On August 28th, Ethan looked and me and said, “Mom, look what I can do.” He proceeded to stand up and walk out the door all on his own.

The hospital staff freaked out and told me to stop him. They didn’t know what to do, because he shouldn’t know how to walk. I didn’t stop him.

On Sept. 1st, long before we were supposed to be released, we were allowed to take our boy home.

Not long after that we started him in an outpatient rehab for PT, OT, and speech therapy. I was asked what my long-term goals were for Ethan. I told them that eventually I would like for him to walk without a brace. They told me that wasn’t realistic, and once again I felt God tell me “watch this.”

A few weeks later, they asked Ethan to take his brace off and see what he can do, because his progress was so good. And he started running! The Physical Therapist started crying. She told me she had never seen any child with his type of brain injury heal like this before. She even admitted that it must be God.

We had many more scares that made his doctors believe that it was very possible that he might have another stroke. We scheduled a trip to the Mayo Clinic. Everyone was in a panic trying to figure out what was going on. Almost every day for a while I had to decide whether to take him to the ER or not. They knew us well in the ER. It was a dark, extremely emotional time. God gave me Psalm 94:18-19 “when I said my foot is slipping, your unfailing love, Lord, supported me. When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.”

One day, our neurologist told me that he was going to try a medicine that probably wasn’t going to work. Since that day, we haven’t had a real scare. When I asked the stroke team why the medicine worked, they had no idea. I believe God made it happen.

Every time I ask the Lord why he did these miracles, He tells me it’s for His glory. So here I am telling you that He is amazing. He is able to do more than we can ever ask or imagine.

May we never forget the goodness of our Lord. I saw first hand that God cares and provides for the crazy huge things and the details of life. He cares about all of it and wants you to rely on him. He won’t disappoint. He is good, faithful, and fully worthy of your trust. Fully trusting the Lord is true freedom.

Psalm 66:5: “Come and see what our God has done, what awesome miracles he performs for people!”


Lauren Findley is from Fort Worth, Texas. She has an amazing husband and two sweet boys that she stays home with.


Wheelchair photo credit: The View via photopin (license)

All other photos and video courtesy of Lauren Findley. All rights reserved.

Guest Post: If looks words could kill

This month’s guest post comes from Christy Pearce, who runs the blog Faith Like Dirty Diapers. Christy and I met a few months ago through the Compel writers group run by Proverbs 31 Ministries. Right away I was struck by how open and honest Christy is in her writing, using her own life experiences so that she may encourage others. She has a real passion for ministering to women, particularly through their marriage and parenting struggles.

Today she shares with us the power of words…

Proverbs 18:21

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue,
and those who love it will eat its fruits.”

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a dirty look is worth a thousand sucker punches. I had the art of nasty facial contortions NAILED, and Momma always used to reply to my facial expressions—“If looks could kill, we’d all be dead.”

That was before I found the power of my mouth.

I was always a very timid and shy girl. I had LOTS of opinions, but lacked the boldness to voice them. Until, I got a little older. Then my mouth opened a little wider.

Older Not Necessarily Wiser…

In my late teens and early twenties I began shedding the inhibitions that once left me holding my tongue. I began to explore the power of stating my mind. I realized it felt good to get the truth off my chest. And standing up for myself or my opinions felt even better.

That is…until I was saved by grace.

You can’t shoot your mouth off in anger or be brutally blunt without your conscience gnawing away at you once you understand the grace of God.

But it didn’t stop me completely. I felt a lot like Meg Ryan’s character in “You’ve Got Mail.” Suddenly saying everything I ever wanted to say didn’t feel as good as I thought it should. It felt bad, and usually didn’t even result in winning the other person over to my side.

No matter how emphatically I stated my case, I could NEVER control people with my words. All I could expect in return was anger and hurt. I certainly didn’t want to go around spewing death in my conversations with those around me.

I still don’t want that. Yet, I still struggle with how I sound when I speak. I still struggle with what to say. But if I have learned anything, I have learned this:

Oh, can you ever influence people when words are “fitly” spoken.

Proverbs 18:21

Beautiful Words, Wonderful Words of LIFE!

I am a blogger and I participate in a few weekly linkups with a fabulous community of writers. One of them is #LiveFreeThursday with Suzanne Eller of Proverbs 31 Ministries. Suzie gives a prompt. Then on Thursday we share what God has laid on our hearts by linking up our blog entries on her website.

One week I didn’t get my post linked up until late on Thursday. It had been a busy week. I had bitten off more than I could chew, but I really love this community of women and didn’t want to miss out sharing together with them—not even for one week.

I eventually got the post done. It was later than normal, but I finally made it.

Once I posted my link, Suzie replied with five simple, but beautifully encouraging words: “I was waiting for you.”

It was almost like she knew I was thinking to myself, “No one will notice if I don’t link up this week. It isn’t “required” anyway, I could just skip this week.”

But instead of giving into that thought, I pushed on and got ‘er done.

Those simple words had such power. To know that I would have been missed if I didn’t link up made me feel valued. Those words made me think my writing may matter after all.

But more than that, her words made me want to share life giving words with others. I wanted others to know the feeling of encouragement that I felt.

Word Matters

Our words matter. All of them. The “power of life and death” resides in our words. Sometimes, we don’t realize how very badly our words hurt, and other times we miss how wonderfully amazing they can be to the hearer.

Just like Suzie probably had no idea the impact her simple statement had on me. (Well, now she does!)

Let’s set our mouths to speak life! We reflect Christ when our words are an offering of love and kindness to those around us.

And above all—

“Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ…

Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.” Colossians 4:2-3, 6 (ESV)


Christy PearceChristy Pearce is a wife, stay at home Mommy of 3, writer and speaker. Her passion is to proclaim God’s truth and make Jesus known! While Christy admits that she is far from perfect, she desires that Christ would be preeminent in all she says (writes) and does. Her blog, “Faith Like Dirty Diapers,” was born out of God using every day events—even a diaper change—to strengthen her with words of life.

You can connect with Christy on Facebook at  or on Twitter at:

photo credit: Confunsed via photopin (license)

Guest post: An Uncluttered Heart

Y’all, I am so excited to introduce you to my friend April Lakata Cao! I first met April nearly 25 years ago in 8th grade chorus class. I was the new girl — socially awkward and going through an unfortunate “Blossom” phase. But I remember April as the beautiful girl, with quiet confidence. Even back in 8th grade she seemed to have a wisdom beyond her years. We shared many classes throughout highschool, but never really got to know each other well. After graduation we lost touch, but thanks to Facebook we reconnected a few years ago.

April shared her writing on Facebook and as I started to read some of her blog posts I was instantly moved. I felt a sisterhood for this fellow wife and mother, and like I’d found a kindred spirit in this woman who wrote her heart, and openly shared her struggles in order to encourage others. April’s passion and love for the Lord comes through in everything she writes. She has a gift for weaving words into a beautiful tapestry of truth, encouragement and conviction. This post is no exception! When I first read it all I could think was “Yes! Me, too!” It’s a message I think so many of us can relate to.

So now, without further ado, some encouragement for living life with an uncluttered heart:

When you crave an uncluttered heart

The closets are being emptied and the hallways filled with bins of stuff we’ll never see again. How is it possible to have accumulated so much? Things we spent money on only to have thrown in a corner to collect dust. I look at it all; piles of clothes spilling over. A tangle of faded colors and worn knees and outgrown elbows pushed aside.

I look at it all and mentally add up the cost. An invisible, growing receipt that could have paid for a future semester of college or the meager beginnings of a down payment for our first home.
Stuff cluttered and taking up space in the house as much as in my heart because I see the things I’ve held on to hoping they would fill me; remain a constant reminder of those early years in love or rocking babies.

There are preemie clothes stuffed into Ziploc bags and his first outfit home folded neatly. The toys we sent across the world and the red dress with cherries for her first birthday that she wore that first time we saw her walk through that door. The white plastic bands that circled identical newborn wrists, our claim to them in that place before going home.

This past Sunday, our Pastor talked about how easy it is for children to move on from the hard things. The bickering and arguments that seem impossible to mend are over and forgotten before they’ve had time to take root.

But as adults we cling to the things that hurt us or remind us of the past. Whether it’s a blanket sewn lovingly with their name or an offense cultivated in quiet moments, we refuse to loosen our grip on the memories. We become owners of dog-eared books and bitter grudges.

In some ways I envy the childlike ability to cast things aside-even the good stuff they beg for yet manage to quickly forget. As adults we’ve learned to hold on tight to everything. We take more ownership of what shouldn’t matter and we proudly stake our claim to trophy homes and family feuds.

We react to a child’s ability to treat their things as disposable with great frustration because we automatically associate it with an utter disregard for what we’ve selflessly provided. And while that is often true of children (they must learn to care for their belongings respectfully) we unwittingly teach them to take greater pride in material possessions before lasting gifts such as integrity and honesty. We often stress the pride and care of possessions before the care and feeding of their soul.

I will be the first to admit that I have been more upset over a messy room than a messy heart. I have fussed and scolded for the way they’ve abandoned expensive Legos before grabbing a Bible and praying with them after a lie told or unkind words exchanged. I realize I have been more proud of how they behave in a group of strangers than a moment of tenderness between them after a scraped knee or that first, unassisted back handspring.

We reprimand for the littering of toys and scribbled walls. We praise for character that spotlights our well-done parenting. Ours is a death grip on the things of this world when the world cares little for us and eventually, this becomes their legacy, too.

I look at these growing piles and stretched thin plastic bags and the desire for them to be gone is overwhelming. Just hauled out to the curb with no care for where they go but just gone. Gone away where they can no longer remind me that I haven’t always been a good steward of the blessings we’ve been given. Gone so I can start over with empty drawers and maybe this time only fill them half way.

The long road paved with good intentions might be smoother but it’s not without steep hills and sharp bends. I wonder why it’s taken so long to feel overwhelmed by the clutter. Why I worry needlessly about their good manners and rigid obedience when clearly the time should be spent nurturing a humble heart longing to be close to Jesus.

When Christ called the Twelve to Him, when He spoke about them going into the world to proclaim the Good News, He told them to go with nothing. No bag filled with a change of clothes or toiletries. No staff to keep their back upright as they walked one dusty, rocky road to another. No leather, designer bag to prove their worth or validate their societal hierarchy. Not even bread to sustain them when they journeyed from one town to another.

They traveled with empty hands but full hearts. They needed nothing outside of what God would graciously provide. And isn’t that the blessing? That nothing carried or accumulated can ever fill the cracks in our hearts? That perfect love doesn’t just cast out fear, but fills the void left empty apart from God?

How much easier the journey must be when we’re not weighed down with stuff, but heavy and spilling over with the love of Jesus.


April Lakata CaoApril Lakata Cao is the homeschool mom of four beautiful kids and military wife of sixteen years. Wannabe morning person by day and freelance writer by night, April is currently writing her first book while blogging her heart into words at

Guest post: Hope and the Messiness of Spring’s Thaw

Kim Gunderson is one of those people who leaves a lasting imprint on your heart, even if you only just met her. That’s how it was for me after meeting Kim at the She Speaks conference last July. We sat together at one of the meals and talked for a bit, and I just knew from those few moments she was someone who had been anointed by God to encourage moms and dads and love on others who were hurting and needed hope. Her writing is honest and beautiful, and often brings me to tears. I’m so honored to be able to share this guest post from Kim.


Have you ever wondered if God has a sense of humor? Last month, Jelise reached out to ask if I’d like to write a guest post for her blog. Id love to! I quickly responded. After chatting, I decided to write about the one thing I believe many need to hear: hope. Hope that there is more to life than what we see. Hope that God is real and he really does mean all that his Word says. Hope that pain and sorrow don’t last forever. Hope that joy really does come in the morning.

As quickly as I settled on the topic, I tumbled headlong into the darkest pit I’ve experienced in years. A pit so deep, I wondered if I’d ever see light again. The feeling of hopelessness stormed my heart with the fierceness of a midwest thunderstorm. Funny how God allows that to happen – a return to hopelessness just as I need to write about hope.

The month of March is pretty significant for my family. Not only is it my birthday month, but nestled right in the beginning is the anniversary of my youngest daughter’s death.

Yes, I’m one of those moms, a mom who lost a child living everyone’s worst nightmare. The kind you’ve heard about, aren’t sure how to react once you meet, and who often surprise people into silence when asked, how many kids do you have?  After all, how do you respond when someone shares, two by choice, two by birth and the youngest of those two is in heaven?

My youngest daughter, Emma, was born into a blended family 15 years ago. She arrived two weeks early and kept me on my toes every moment after. For 5 years, Emma brought pure joy as her giggles filled our home and her squeezes made any day better. She belonged to all five of us and truly completed our family.

Five years, one month, and fifteen days after Emma was born, she breathed her last, right on the second day of March. A normal day became a defining day, forever altering my life. A fire destroyed my home and snatched my sweet girl away. (You can read more about that story here  or here).

To say I fell headlong into a pit that day would be like saying Chicago weather is unpredictable. Obviously.

What wasn’t so obvious was how I was going to survive. Yes, I knew Jesus. Yes, I believed in him, in his Word. I mean, I worked for him (translation: I work at a church). But this? Living life on earth without my sweet girl? Living the tenuous and tender dance of joy and sorrow, love and grief, loss and hope? I didn’t want to simply survive this season of my life. I was determined to not allow it to define me. Or control me. Or keep me trapped in sorrow as my soul yearned to live.

Perhaps you can relate. Maybe you see threads of your own story interwoven among mine. Tears well up, blurring the screen because you know. You know exactly what I’m talking about – that pit of darkness where hope seems absent. You. just. know.

“Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in him.” Psalm 62:5 NLT

The years following Emma’s death felt like perpetual winter. C.S. Lewis penned it this way: Always winter, and never Christmas. Waiting through the frigidness of this season became my new normal. Waiting for our house to be rebuilt. Waiting for the waves of grief to subside. Waiting to see God work, to make sense of this tragedy. Waiting to survive, to see beauty even in the sorrow. There was beauty during those years, just as there’s beauty on a winter morning as sun strikes the snow, causing it to sparkle like diamonds. Beauty surrounded us through the gifts of strangers, friends, and family. Gifts of time and resources replaced clothes and furniture, and ultimately built a beautiful new home where devastation had once reigned.

During the waiting, God provided strength to bury my sweet Emma’s body, courage to choose to trust Him, no matter what. He provided peace in the midst of chaos, and filled me with hope that His Word was true, that He knew what He had allowed and would use it for good. He drew me closer, calling others to do the same. He revealed His faithfulness through His constant presence, His whispered words of comfort, His tender declarations of love. His Truth became alive as it showed up real and tangible throughout my everyday life. He met me in the darkness of the pit and shone brightly through the love and hope and patience of his Son, Jesus.

“For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.” Isaiah 43:19 NLT

We long for the beauty of springA couple of years ago the thaw began and I started to see the “something new” that God promised. The trauma and chaos of the previous years subsided, and peace reigned. Christmas finally arrived. The days of sorrow lessened to moments. While memories of Emma still brought tears, they soothed my soul even as I yearned to hold her once more. Healing, deep, full-thickness healing occurred and I longed to embrace the beauty of spring. The dark days were behind me and life felt good again.

Until I fell into that pit a short few weeks ago. This year marked the 10th anniversary of the fire and Emma’s death. Ten years of living without her. Ten years of wondering what she’d look like, what her likes and dislikes would be. Ten years of sorrow, and ten years of experiencing God’s faithfulness each and every day.

One day as the darkness hovered near, I felt the pull to head outside to breathe the fresh air, sweeping away the cobwebs that clouded my mind. As I walked around the little lake near my rented home, I noticed it had begun to thaw. Sure, the ice was still thick towards the middle, but the outer edges had been released from its grip and the water flowed with ease. A perfect visual of the journey of my heart.

The air was warmer, too, and it felt like spring, full of hope. Yes, my soul was weary and weighty as sorrow interrupted my life once more, much like the melting snow and ice I traipsed through on my walk. As I walked, I was reminded of this hope: spring is coming. There is absolutely nothing I can do, nothing that can happen, that will stop it. I can’t wish it away, or wish it to come sooner. I can’t hide away and hibernate until its arrival. I need to walk through its ugly thaw, brown and wet and dirty. I need to take every sloshy step, feet wet, hem of my pants soaked, one step at a time, believing that beneath the ugliness of the thaw, beauty yearns to burst forth.

We don’t want the messiness, though, do we? We long for the beauty of spring’s flowers yet dread traipsing through the messiness of spring’s thaw. But the thaw is necessary for growth, providing nourishment for the months to come. Hope is a bit like that. It looks messy and uncertain, ugly and inconvenient yet so vital for our growth. Hope is like trudging through the frigid waters of melting snow, slipping in its muddy wake, shifting our eyes from the mess and fixing them on the Maker. It takes patience and strength and great courage to allow the spring thaw do its work in our hearts, to trust that work even when we can’t see the beauty just yet.

“And the Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.” Isaiah 58:11 (ESV)

Yes, God does have a sense of humor, and he is at work, calling hope forth from our sorrow. He’s creating something beautiful through our circumstances and in our lives, even those messy and painful parts. I suppose the question remains, are you willing to endure spring’s thaw so you can embrace the beauty of its flowers?


Kim GundersonKim recently admitted she’s a true Midwesterner at heart, having lived in the Chicago area for the majority of her life. She loves watching the seasons change, especially as winter gives way to spring. Kim has raised four kids – two by birth, two by choice, and recently welcomed a son-in-law into her family. She’s the author of Breathing in Ashes, a memoir that shares her story of hope after the death of her youngest daughter. She also blogs over at and is a contributing writer for Ask God Today Ministries.

You can connect with her on: