Rising and Falling and Grounded Faith

by Beth Duewel

When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd… Mark 6:34 ESV

One particular night—after being grounded back to my room by my daughter, who’d grown tired of me watching her sleep—I went to Scripture. Not in the casual, easy way I’d always searched before, but with urgency. Because my daughter had a brain tumor, and wasn’t Jesus gonna fix this?!

I can honestly say, I’m so thankful for the hardest days of our lives, and for the freedom in the fall. Why?

Because there is something about being stripped of our security that makes a whole lot of everything elsefall away, too. You’re left standing without reliance on what you’ve put your hope in—what you’ve fixated on. Which for me, so long ago, was to make sure my daughter stayed alive by the power of my stare and a teeny-tiny little nightlight. Suddenly it seemed there was nothing left to do but fuzzy-slipper-shuffle back to bed where I belonged.

One of the first life changing things I discovered during my “grounding,” though, I found in John. It’s where Jesus was holding a banquet that was more than just about food—showing us that their time together was less about eating and more about getting fed. Because Jesus gives this instruction, “Have the people sit down.” I mean, He could have had the people listen and eat while standing, He didn’t want that. John tells us: “There was plenty of grass in that place, and the men sat down, about 5,000 of them” (John 6:10 ESV).

Why would this detail about “plenty of grass in the place” be important enough to include in Scripture if it wasn’t a significant indication of God’s caring character? Reading this then, I think: God Cares for our comfort even on the most uncomfortable days. But also, if He cares this much about our physical needs, how much more can He care for our souls?

It’s a relief, really. Especially, freeing, don’t you think? To know we don’t have to work this day like dough in our hands and fix all the flaws in it? We don’t have to spend anxious hours worrying about what’s to come.

So, we’re back to that hillside, as the disciples tell Jesus, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food.” Instead, Jesus feeds the people.

After this we read, “When they all had enough to eat, [Jesus] said to his disciples, “Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted” (John 6:12 NIV). This is the kind of God that He is. There is hope here. Joy, also.

Let me throw a wild thought out to you. If Jesus would have wanted more bread, couldn’t He easily have placed another order for bread into the heavenly realms instead of collecting the leftover crumbs? He could have. But He didn’t.

Can’t we then, trust a God who gathers small pieces of bread, breadcrumbs, just so nothing would be lost? My amazement exactly. We need to remember this today. We can trust that God doesn’t waste pain. Not yours. Not mine. Today when I considered the breadcrumbs, I was reminded: Pain serves a PURPOSE. And there is a special place for it in our lives.

The ability to sit with pain and not try and wiggle out from under it, or help my kids escape it, is a lesson I’m still learning. Give me 75 degrees and comfortable, that’s all I’m sayin’. But Jesus replaces our firm steps with seawater. We step out, unknowing, even forgetting that faith is supposed to feel like this. Buoyant and unfixed. Rising. Falling. Giving way to God’s good work as He cares for us. Wholly nurturing us: mind, body, and soul.

All these years later—I can tell you; our family has prayed God would restore Brittany’s health. Fix it. We see her faithful then, smiling now (currently five months pregnant), and we know: He had in mind to do so much more.

By the way—in case you’re wondering. I haven’t been grounded to my room lately. Well, last night. I. Was. Not. Grounded.

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

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About the author: Beth Duewel is a writer, speaker, and blogger at Fix-Her-Upper.com. She has three almost adulting children and lives with her husband in Ashland, Ohio. Beth and her coauthor friends are super excited about their new book,  Faith Pump, a 40 day devotional that will make your spirit soar.

Join the conversation: How has God nurtured your mind, body, and soul lately?

He Will Make It Rain

by Beth Duewel @DuewelBeth

And when the Israelites saw the mighty hand of the LORD displayed against the Egyptians, the people feared the LORD and put their trust in him and in Moses his servant. Exodus 14:31 NIV

Today, the forecast on my side of the world is sunny. But this isn’t the case in many places around the world, I know.

Just recently, I read an article about the drought in Salinas Valley, California. The scarcity of water is so bad that the remaining water supply is salty. And nothing about salty water says relief to the farmers or life to the plants. They need fresh rain to restore the land.

With not a rain cloud in sight though, many people in California are calling on “mother nature” to act fast. The opposite is true for Louisiana and Texas. After getting hit with a hurricane, they want mother nature to calm herself down. So many people are surprised when she doesn’t answer her cell, but a brief look at the world with droughts and hurricanes, floods and earthquakes will tell you—mother nature is not a reliable friend these days.

But God is.

Although, I can’t say I’ve never rested my reliance on the wrong forecast. Or in the wrong thing. Even today we’re being tested with our ability to “fix” and restore things on our own. I mean, who doesn’t feel a little deep-down-dry right now? Parched maybe. SALTY even?

When it comes to daily dependence on God alone, I can certainly falter. Sometimes I’ve even rested in religion and not in the sheer power, truth, and love of Jesus. I can forget that no one, no institution, no right way will ever get it righteous. When I depend on the rules and regimens to get me through, it’s simply as silly as relying on mother nature to get it right. She may have a great day every now and then, but can she make it rain? Never. For me, it’s a great reminder that religion won’t save us—Jesus will.

Paul addresses this need to know God when he talked about what Jesus’ life accomplished: “For I passed on to you what was most important…Christ died for our sins, just as the Scripture said. He was buried, and He was raised from the dead on the third day, just as Scripture said” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4 NLT). God’s Word is the truth we can rely on. Jesus’ life is the hope we can live in.

Even so, my dependence on other things doesn’t stop. I’ve placed restorative power in the hands of my relationships. My efforts. My job. My grande cup of coffee in the morning. Lately, it’s been a bit bitter too, don’t ya think? Our souls know what it means to get dry. Parched even. We have to decide on who or what we will depend.

And I hate to pick on the Israelites. Over and over they’re the example of what not to do. But because I feel like I relate to them, struggle with them as a human, I thought we might look at the few things they got right.

For instance, they depended on God. Daily. They woke in the morning looking for God to drop what they needed from heaven, and they laid their heads down knowing He would send a cloud to lead their way. They knew a God who could supply them with the greater gift of life itself, could also be counted on for the lesser worries. They had to trust God.

“And when the Israelites saw the mighty hand of the LORD displayed against the Egyptians, the people feared the LORD and put their trust in him and in Moses his servant” (Exodus 14:31 NIV). They showed us this day-to-day-have-to-have-God mentality grows a bigger faith. It erases worry, it calms anxiety. It helps us trust Him fully and fearfully. Friends, we’re learning to trust God like never before. It can be big and scary. But mostly it’s big.

Like in C. S. Lewis’ Prince Caspian, a child named Lucy is reintroduced to Aslan the Christ-figure in the Narnia series. When Lucy sees him again after a long separation she says, “Aslan, you’re bigger.” But Aslan explains that he isn’t bigger, but Lucy is. “I am not. But every year you grow, you will find me bigger.” Such is our faith. A bigger faith sees a bigger God!

Friends, this is the joy of the drought.

Because anything we’re going through, any lack we’re suffering—when God’s plans the forecast—we can be sure that it’s growing something good. And big. The certainty of who Jesus is delivers us and pours life down on us. We don’t have to-do, re-do, and over-do. We simply must look up. Because GOD WILL MAKE IT RAIN.

He Will Make It Rain – encouragement when life is hard from @DuewelBeth on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

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fix her upper reclaim your happy space

About the author: Beth Duewel is a writer, speaker, and blogger at Fix-Her-Upper.com. She has three almost adulting children, and lives with her husband in Ashland, Ohio. Beth and her coauthor, Rhonda Rhea, are super excited about their new book,  Fix Her Upper: Reclaim Your Happy Space.

Join the conversation: Has God grown bigger for you through a drought?

Live Free…Your Best Life is Yet to Be

by Beth Duewel @DuewelBeth

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.  Romans 15:13 ESV

Life may seem a little off right now. In Fix Her Upper language, it’s been a bit of a demo time.

But that’s the good news. There will be a day we can look back and marvel at all God’s done. Today even. We can pray together, because we know prayer changes everything.

Jesus knew this. In Scripture we see Him step away from the crowds. Walk off quietly to pray. He takes walks with His Father and declares, “Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me” (John 14:11 ESV). No matter what happened to him on this earth, He remained in perfect peace. It’s prayer and the presence of God that fixes this anxious life.

Now that I’ve had 8000 moments to catch my breath, I can see how frequently I forget to pray when life is moving quickly and noisily.  

The enemy would love us to stay overwhelmed with crisis and underwhelmed with Jesus. But while the world tells us one thing—God tells us something different: “My counsel is this: Live freely, animated and motivated by God’s Spirit. Then you won’t feed the compulsions of selfishness. For there is a root of sinful self-interest in us that is at odds with a free spirit, just as the free spirit is incompatible with selfishness” (Galatians 5:16 The MSG). I love this verse and the future it holds for us. God encourages us to live our best life freely, dynamically, and sensitive to the nudging of the helpful hand of the Spirit.

Apparently, I wasn’t living my freest life, though. Not at all. Because when the pandemic arrived, I was reassigned to work in our hospital Emergency Room with many of my coworkers. My dynamic was gone. My fear? The same as everyone else’s with the forecast of what the virus might do to our world, my family, and…me. I started to self-preserve and hold back; I noticed my preoccupation with the ability of my N95 to save me from all things germy.

But I’ve realized there’s no freedom in fear. None. Fear is selfish. It causes our spirits to retreat in an effort to ensure our own survival, protect ourselves. All this time, I’ve tried to play it safe.

A safe life is not our best life—because faith makes us live for something more.

This assurance came as I sat with a patient who was dying—my N95 pooling with snot and tears—my heart so full of prayer for the other person that I couldn’t safeguard my soul. Suddenly, I felt fierce and full of hope. Apparently, we don’t feed the compulsions of self-preservation or worry when we’re in all-out prayer for someone else. Galatians 5:16 reminds us “the free spirit is incompatible with selfishness.” Prayer is the freedom that overrides fear, selfishness, and self-preservation. Prayer is the dynamic that protects the ones we love, and those we don’t know but love anyway. Prayer places the future in the best hands.

Seriously, we don’t have to be consumed with the thought of staying safe in order for God’s loving intent to protect us. He just does. In fact, the very definition of Sovereignty means to be free from external control—God’s perfect purpose protects even when we can’t shield ourselves. You deserve the freedom in this thought. I do too.

We can live free. 

It’s okay to be afraid. It really is. It’s smart to be cautious. It really is. But Romans 15:13 (above) tells us that it’s by the Holy Spirit we have power and hope. It’s my guess that this power makes us more alive today than ever before.

Remember: “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery” (Gal. 5:1 ESV).

In Christ, our flesh is released from sin. In prayer we’re energized with LIFE. Friends, this is good news! Because in the beginning the world was great, and then it wasn’t. And maybe today is good, and then it’s not. There is freedom when we live in the Spirit and have conversations with the Father. In this new day we can pray.

Lord, we want to live our best life with You. Stripped down, sanded of all the things we once felt important, we can feel full and undeserving of Your joy. We can only look back and marvel at what You’ve done and praise You for what You are about to do. May we settle into Your hope and stay totally dissatisfied with self or fear. For freedom You have set us free. Amen.

Live Free…Your Best Life is Yet to Be – encouragement from @DuewelBeth on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

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fix her upper reclaim your happy space

About the author: Beth Duewel is a writer, speaker, and blogger at Fix-Her-Upper.com. She has three almost adulting children, and lives with her husband in Ashland, Ohio. Beth and her coauthor, Rhonda Rhea, are super excited about their new book,  Fix Her Upper: Reclaim Your Happy Space.

Join the conversation: What have you found to help manage your fear in these uncertain times?

Taking Heart in the Heartache

by Beth Duewel and Debb Hackett 

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. John 16:33 NIV

Debb: My family is in a season of uncertainty as my husband’s current role in the military comes to an end, and we wait to see where we’ll go next. After years in our present location, it’s hard to start living through the ‘last time we’ll do this, go there, see them’ moments, especially as we don’t have anything to run toward yet. I look around at the families who are rooted in this community we have loved and think how different their predictable lives seem to ours.

I acknowledge this is solidly a first world problem. We aren’t in danger, hungry, or homeless, and we have no major health concerns. But each day, the not-knowing gets a little harder. I don’t want to waste these last few months in this mood.

Beth: I get this! When my daughter was first diagnosed with a brain tumor, I found myself living in the space of “She may never graduate, drive a car…” It was a crowded place to dwell, and I must have been some kind of delirious to worry about such temporary things. The not-knowing kept me anxious. Moody. Makeup-less. Then one day her neurologist said, “You may want to at least try to look optimistic, because we really don’t want to make her think she is not going to be okay.”

That’s the thing: Jesus didn’t put on a face and pretend it was going to be okay, but assured that we can expect peace even though it’s not. Just imagine, in the early chapters of John, Jesus tells the disciples what will happen. He will go away. They will suffer. But, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace” (John 16:33 NIV). He knew that in His absence their tired hearts could know the home of His presence.  

Deb: So Beth, how do we do it? Even in the short time of writing this, we’ve seen our lives change. A lot of those ‘lasts’ have been taken away. How do we find peace and take heart in heartache? Even as streets and grocery store shelves are eerily empty, when schools and playgrounds are closed and everything, even church, looks different? When so much we knew in life has shifted? No one’s shooting, but the military folks I know agree we are at war.

Beth: Just like any battle, the not knowing is the hardest. Eventually, we exhaust ourselves. We have somewhere to run to though, a destination, a home even. Because Jesus says this in verse 32, “A time is coming and in fact has come when you will be scattered, each to your own home. You will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me” (John 16:32 NIV).

The thought of Jesus abruptly leaving had to have been a frightening thought for His disciples. The anxious worry of being scattered to their own homes, of being truly alone, would have been a shock after the security of traveling together for three years.

We now know this was one of the last conversations between Jesus and His disciples. Although Jesus knew what waited ahead—trouble then triumph—He offered harmony in the middle of both. His promises give comfort a voice. I am not alone. In me you will have peace. I have overcome the world. These truths, re-read after a makeup-streaked day of work in the ER, tell me it’s going to be all right. This connection is vital to our fierce, soul-filled peace. Life may shift and change, but we can expect the best because “…my Father is with me.”  

Debb: And that’s how we make it through whatever life throws at us—uncertainty, fear, anxiety, illness, or heartbreak. My family has always known and lived the trouble, but now more than ever, we need to claim the promise: we can take heart because Jesus has been to each of those hard, emotional places before us, and we know that in the end, The Story concludes in victory. He wins. And so do we.

Taking Heart in the Heartache – an encouraging conversation between @DuewelBeth and @Debb_Hackett on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

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fix her upper reclaim your happy space

About the authors: Beth Duewel is a writer, speaker, and blogger at Fix-Her-Upper.com. She has three almost adulting children, and lives with her husband in Ashland, Ohio. Beth and her coauthor, Rhonda Rhea, are super excited about their new book,  Fix Her Upper: Reclaim Your Happy Space.

Writer, broadcaster, and speaker Debb Hackett  has been a radio journalist for more than twenty years. Married to a test pilot, Debb writes for military wives and lives just outside Washington D.C. with her husband and children. She’s having lots of fun working on an inspirational contemporary romance series. When she’s not writing, Debb can be found leading worship, playing bass, or skiing. Also, if you can swing by her house while she’s making scones, that would be a win. She blogs at: http://debbhackett.com

Join the conversation: How does knowing the end of the story help you live in the here and now?


Because Some Things Simply Never Get Old

by Beth Duewel @DuewelBeth

...and let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing…                                                                                                              James 1:2-4 ESV

Every few months I start a new to-do list. Maybe you’ve recently started planning that new project? A new goal, like that new look for the new you? Granted, the “out with the old—in with the new” can be so inspiring.

Like the time I decided to make a change to my daughter Brooklyn’s OLD room. It was pink with polka dots, sorta looking like a neon-pink giraffe. (If you have a pink giraffe at your house—solidarity, friend!) It had fulfilled my then eight-year-old’s dream of “The best room evvvvver!”

I’d poured work into it way back when. But now it was time to pour more paint into the tray to cover it up. As I did, I thought back to the special time of Brooklyn helping me create it, all pink and happiness. But now it quickly became apparent that moving on would not be as easy as I thought. Let me just say—pink giraffes don’t go down without a fight.

Seriously, after three coats of primer and paint and pink still poking through, my husband’s eyes began to question what I was doing. Did his eyes even have to ask? I simply wanted an easy checklist item on my DIY to-do list. I wanted to accomplish something. I wanted to enjoy it.

The good feelings disappeared far more quickly than the polka-dots did.

And I sure didn’t help the situation. Because, while I started painting with a passion, I found it necessary to stop for a sandwich and then a meeting. A load of laundry. A lint trap. A deadline. It turned into days and days of this unreasonableness as every other thing threatened to overwhelm my good intentions for those walls. I ended up stuck in overwhelmed mode and fixated on something elses for three whole weeks.

Turns out—it’s important to get-right-back to painting. Especially when you forget to replace the lid on the paint before a three-week long lunch break. Want the FYI on the DIY? A can of Bleached Cotton congeals, turns the color of baby pooh, and shrinks to the size of a salad plate when you let it go. Can you say, “All dried up and good for nothing?” The paint had lost its purpose, and I’d lost my appetite.

That’s one of the things I’d like to remember as I march fresh into this new day, new project, or new perspective: that something fresh isn’t necessarily the something NEW I need to throw myself into. Discovering fresh joy may mean revisiting a previous passion, project, or purpose, or a goal I’ve intentionally left behind. I have to admit, the “newish” tendency doesn’t go down without a fight, but I’ve discovered it’s never too late to try again.

Moving forward doesn’t always look like I’d imagined. Even spiritually, sometimes progress can look like failure. But failure is always an integral part of the faith-fight with the sense that no matter what—God in His excellence—is doing the work and helping me to grow. To forge ahead by going…back? To endure by helping me to break an old habit. To renew a strained relationship or maintain an old hope. To finally forgive. Or to pray with perseverance that certain prayer (again). Because some things simply never get old!

Want a fresh new outlook for a new day? Here it is: With God there is no NEW or OLD, there is only forever.

The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever (Psalm 138:8 ESV).

 Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing the in the Lord your labor is not in vain (1 Corinthians15:58 ESV).

So take another look at the verse with which we began, this time with closer resolve, “And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” (James 1: 4 ESV). Turns out it’s important to get right back to looking for the good, because this verse in its entirety is the reminder to “count it all joy” (vs.2), with encouragement to stay-put and consider everything that’s become a part of our journey. Even those painful things we’ve left behind.

So, here’s to pink giraffes and a new resolve to pray that too familiar prayer! Again. And again. And again.

Father, renew my spirit in surprising ways today. Help me move forward with fresh hope and purpose, believing in what You’re going to-do. But also keep me looking back with faith to all You have already accomplished. Revisiting the familiar reminds me of how good, faithful, and loving You are. You really do want me to lack nothing. Thank You in advance for forever. Amen.

 Adapted with permission from Fix Her Upper: Reclaim Your HAPPY Space, Bold Vision Publishing.

Because Some Things Simply Never Get Old – encouragement from @DuewelBeth on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

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About the author: Beth Duewel is a writer, speaker, and blogger at Fix-Her-Upper.com. She has three almost adulting children, and lives with her husband in Ashland, Ohio. Beth and her coauthor, Rhonda Rhea, are super excited about their newfix her upper reclaim your happy space book,  Fix Her Upper: Reclaim Your Happy Space.


Join the conversation: What “old” thing is God bringing to your heart today?

Tiny Effort, Extra Joy

by Beth Duewel @DuewelBeth

Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good.   Psalm 34:8 NIV

Last week, a friend and I wandered into a tea-room for lunch. The place had linen and plates and a tiny dish with a baby-sized spoon in the center of our table. Fancy. So, when my order of tea arrived, I lobbed extra tiny-teaspoons of white into my cup with my fancy fingers pointed to the sky.

Um, small detail: It’s good to know what…exactly it is that you’ve extra’d into your tea, or you may have to hand it back to the server explaining, “My tea tastes like the ocean. Sorry.”

With all the extra this day needs—it’s not uncommon to add a little more to everything. Our tea. Our day. Our joy. Sometimes we happily heap on the wrong things in hopes that life will taste just a tiny-bit sweeter when we do. But there is something infinitely healing in the reality—that unlike sugar or salt (label the dishes, please, fancy, people)—there is nothing I can add to the simple joy of Christ. His joy is elaborate. Extra. Enough.

In fact, look for a moment to the instruction God gave Jeremiah:
“This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon. Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Marry and have and daughters… Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you to exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper” (Jeremiah 29:4-7 NIV).

Hold the extra!

Not only were the Israelites told to build their houses, they were encouraged to settle their hearts in as well. To marry and have children, to seek peace, to be content and allow God’s happiness to sustain instead. Even in exile, they could rise above circumstance and confusion and prosper in the uncertain place God placed them—in that plain, hardly ever fancy, space of joy.

But we’re human. We wrestle. We add. We live the stretch and pull of tentative trust. Sometimes we even take the spoon into our own hands. That’s why I couldn’t love what God says later to Jeremiah any more if I tried: “I will make an everlasting covenant with them: I will never stop doing good to them, and I will inspire them to fear me, so that they will never turn away from me” (Jeremiah 32:40 NIV).

Focusing on who God is, is the more a wanting heart needs. No matter how much fear and uncertainty this day holds, God’s over and over good will be added to it.

Ultimately, God is always moving us to His more. We can do hard things!

Inviting this entire more into our lives? It can be scary. I’m reminded of just how frightening when I think about the conversation I had with my daughter this past week. Because although Brittany is wading through another flare-up of a challenging illness, she said, “I had three good days this week, Mom!” I heard her voice smile.





I will never stop doing good to them.

You can try to judge a moment for all that it lacks—but so much more life is lived when you notice all that it doesn’t.

Also, something miraculous happens in my soul when I measure life from the plenty of my less: I see Jesus for the good and gracious of who He is. And who He is demands less effort on my part. Sure, we may expect sweet and get…ocean? But whatever He plans—however it tastes—we can trust that He is working His eternal plan.

As my friend Rhonda Rhea mused: “Oh, how I love that fancy place—and that plain place—of joy. Beautiful, fancy-and-unfancy, unnatural JOY. The kind that happens in the most unexpected places. EXTRA blessing, right there.”

You too will prosper. No EXTRA needed.

Father, You are over and above, enough. Help me trust Your provision more and to stop trying to add extra to YOUR already perfect plan. Lord, help me notice Your abundant, good joy today. Amen. 

You can try to judge a moment for all that it lacks—but so much more life is lived when you notice all that it doesn’t – @DuewelBeth on @AriseDailyDevo #Godsmore #ourless #extraeverything (Click to Tweet)


beth duewel (2)

About the author: Beth Duewel is a writer, speaker, and blogger at Fix-Her-Upper.com. She has three almost adulting children, and lives with her husband in Ashland, Ohio. Beth and her coauthor, Rhonda Rhea, are super excited about their newfix her upper reclaim your happy space book,  Fix Her Upper: Reclaim Your Happy Space.


Join the conversation: Dear friends, what is your extra today? Is it extra worry, extra work, or extra stress? We would love to pray for you. Feel free to private message me via Facebook. Enjoy!


Helicopter Mama   

by Beth Duewel @DuewelBeth

“Now the donkeys of Kish, Saul’s father, were lost. So Kish said to Saul his son, ‘Take one of the young men with you, and arise, go and look for the donkeys.’ And he passed through the hill country of Ephraim and passed through the land of Shalishah, but they did not find them. And they passed through the land of Shaalim, but they were not there. Then they passed through the land of Benjamin but did not find them. When they came to the land of Zuph, Saul said to his servant who was with him, ‘Come let us go back, lest my father cease to care about the donkeys and become anxious about us.” 1 Samuel 9:3-5 NASB

I admit. There may be a hint of helicopter mama in me.

Sure, I want my adulting children to fly solo. To soar, flip, and do bungy cord belly-flops off the hope of their futures. Sometimes though, I secretly want their cord-thingy to tangle in my propellers. And tomorrow my oldest daughter and her husband will move past the invisible state line. They want me to drop them in the middle of nowhere-land and be happy about it. Please. Somebody STOP this high-drama-mama moment right here!

Moms, you know what, we don’t start out this way. All hovery and clingy and obsessively licky with smudges of dirt. We never intended to tuck hair into envelopes, mark walls with inches of growth, or lick purse fuzz off suckers. But I’m here to tell you—when it comes to the irrational way we love our children—these things happen.

We start off secure. We point up, train up, and show up with a dollar slipped under the pillow for good molar-measure. And has the price per tooth gone up? I don’t even know.

How did our moms stay calm while we slept on the backest inside window ledge of a car the size of a Cozy Coupe? No seatbelts or one single kilometer of panic from our mothers, and right now I’m sweating, sweating as I think about it, because, that window ledge was the porthole of death! Yet-we’re alive.

I think it’s harder than it was then, because we’re flying busy-anxious with a laser-like focus over the lives of our children.

We can’t look away, we can’t let go, we can’t trust. We. Just. Can. Not.

And I’m really not sure when “hover” mother showed up in our house. She just appeared one day, uninvited and fearful. One moment I got a phone call to pick up our daughter early from school. The next morning a seizure. An instant later a brain tumor. That first night, I touched the cold glass of my daughter’s hospital window and couldn’t reconcile with the Trust-God Mama within. Life looked different through frosty glass and tears.

Suddenly, I felt constricted and clingy while we followed the doctor’s advice to “look normal” because, “We don’t want Brittany worrying about you—worrying about her.” Oh, sweet Jesus, help. Then, with mascara streaking I reached for God’s Word where truth told me to trust.

I found Kish (a worried father), sending his son, Saul, on a journey to look for lost donkeys. They passed through many lands, but still—no donkeys. Finally, Saul tells his servant, “Come let us return, or else my father will cease to be concerned about the donkeys and will become anxious about us” (1 Samuel 9:5 NASB).

Before leaving Zuph, Saul and his companions decide to seek out the prophet Samuel for help. Unbeknownst to Saul, the Lord had already revealed to Samuel that Saul was coming. When they arrive, the Lord tells Samuel, “Behold, the man of whom I spoke to you! This one shall rule over My people.” On the very next day a recently clueless Saul is anointed king.

And what about the donkeys? Samuel assures Saul: “As for your donkeys which were lost three days ago, do not set your mind on them, for they have been found” (1 Samuel 9:20 NASB).

God brought Saul to that very place at that very time to fulfill His purpose for Saul’s life and give His people the king they requested. All through a frustratingly futile search for lost donkeys.

Friends, it’s really NEVER about the donkey. Or a brain tumor. Or rebellion, addiction, the worst or the best. The journey is—and always will be—about the high love and altitude of a God who loves well. Who is always at work, always present, and always able.

But we must trust God’s ability before we can rest in His abundance.

Mamas were never meant to carry the weight of their children. Jesus, You alone are able. He draws them to Himself through a gracious journey we may not understand. And when it comes to the irrational way God loves our children—lofty things will happen. Always.

Speaking of lofty, if you happen to have a helicopter handy, can you pick me up? Please. I’m just thinking a little fly-by can’t hurt.

How one helicopter mama learns to rest in God – @DuewelBeth on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

beth duewel (2)

About the author: Beth Duewel is a writer, speaker, and blogger at Fix-Her-Upper.com. She has three almost adulting children, and lives with her husband in Ashland, Ohio. Beth and her coauthor, Rhonda Rhea, are super excited about their first book, Fix Her Upper: Hope and Laughter Through a God Renovated Life!  And now you can catch Beth & Rhonda’s soon to release, Fix Her Upper 90 Day Devotional , (Bold Vision).  Start off the New Year with this Devotional, Journal, and Coloring Book in one! https://www.boldvisionbooks.com/shop/. Use the link to pre-order their new book now!

Join the conversation: Are you a helicopter mama?


by Beth Duewel @DuewelBeth

“Being ran over by a donkey isn’t as much fun as you think.” I tried to set the record straight with my kids. Three wide grins told me they thought otherwise.

I confess, I have a problem. I expect I can do things I really can’t do or fix things I just can’t fix. I try anyway. Because I can already feel the winds of success blow across my shoulders and finger through my hair. Without tangles even. I imagine everything is great and good and happy. It’s funny though, some things never quite play out how I’ve pictured in my mind.

Like when Virelle Kidder and I both spoke at the same woman’s conference at my home church a few years ago. The leadership team needed a fun video of a donkey smiling—so I volunteered. I can help, I thought. I imagined that I know stuff. Not donkey stuff—but some stuff.

I reported the whole disaster to my family a few days later at dinner: “You remember how I was supposed to go on a donkey excursion today?” I watched my daughter’s spoon drop and her peas bounce to the floor. “Well, it didn’t go as planned—can someone please pass me the bread?”

What happened this time? my husband’s smile said as he handed me a roll.

“Anyway…Maryanne said she knew a donkey-guy. So we took carrots. Jumped a fence.  Walked up to this “tame” donkey. And I talked to him while Maryanne taped. Suddenly, he laid his ears back and smiled. Not a nice smile though, more like a ‘I’m going to eat you, and I’m very glad to do it!’ type-grin. Then it yelled ‘Get out!’ put his head down and chased us across the pasture! We were almost trampled when our feet tangled in the tall grass—but we distracted him with girly screams. Yep. Maryanne got the whole thing on tape. We can all watch it later if you want.”

“COOL, MOM! Do donkeys head-butt like our goats?” My son wanted something National Geographic worthy—but there was nothing worthy, only meatloaf.

“How did the video turn out?” My husband’s question highlighted the one bright spot in the I saw the whole thing going differently loop playing in my head.

“Well—it’s hysterical.” I admitted. “Although it’s nothing like we thought it would be, maybe even better than we expected!”

And that’s what I remember when life seems off track and the opposite of what I’ve dreamed up in my head. On chased-by-a-donkey-type-days, I have to fasten expectation to God’s hope and allow His happiness to happen instead. However. Whatever.

Especially when what I’ve imagined wraps around reality and leaves me in a knot. Or this time of year, when resolve turns to “Not EVER gonna happen!” I tend to get myself in quite a tangle.

But we can trust His truth to untangle us.

“For I know the plans I have for you…plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11). I guess if I know some stuff—it’s that these two ties: the hope of eternity and the promise of perfect, loosened the jumble of sorrow and famine and captivity for the Babylonians’ reality. We don’t have to be tied to all we’ve imagined, when we can have the freedom of God’s perfect hope. Forever.

So, if you’re having a chased-by-a-donkey-type-day, remember this single strand of truth: God’s plan is infinitely better than you could ever dream up! Ever. Happy New Year, friends! And may your future be great and your donkey…tame!

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.  Psalm 23:6

Untangled by God’s truth when life gets tricky – thoughts from @DuewelBeth on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

beth duewel (2)

About the author: Beth Duewel is a writer, speaker, and blogger at Fix-Her-Upper.com. She has three almost adulting children, and lives with her husband in Ashland, Ohio. Beth and her coauthor, Rhonda Rhea, are super excited about their first book, Fix Her Upper: Hope and Laughter Through a God Renovated Life!  And now you can catch Beth & Rhonda’s soon to release, Fix Her Upper 90 Day Devotional , (Bold Vision).  Start off the New Year with this Devotional, Journal, and Coloring Book in one! https://www.boldvisionbooks.com/shop/. Use the link to pre-order their new book now!

Join the conversation: Have you had a donkey-type-day lately?


Get Run-O-Vated

by Beth Duewel

Have you wanted to start something new? Have a new goal? Begin a new project? Great! Because every new venture means new opportunity for adventure.

A recent project of mine was taking down the Christmas lights. Adventure, yes, but anything but fun. I was out in single digit temperatures working to deconstruct what took hours to construct a few weeks before! I felt as tangled on the inside as my desperately tangled lights were on the outside. Grrr. And BRRR.

High expectations coupled with high frustration can create a tangled mess of conflict and stress. I’ve never been good at facing either. Mostly I try to outrun them.

When we were expecting our first baby, I expected a lot. I’d read What to Expect When You’re Expecting about a bazillion times. I practically memorized its pages. I expected my husband to read the book, too. But that wasn’t all I expected of him. Everyday he’d come home from work to a list of must-haves like, “My face is totally glowing and I must have the crib and bassinet assembled tonight right after you demo the wall between our room and the baby’s room (big breath here), pleeeeease.”

A few weeks later, in angry frustration, I ran out the door after a silly argument. Misplaced hope and unreasonable expectations were pushing us apart. The more I expected from Jerry, the less I expected from God. I was running in the opposite direction of where I needed to go. My very human husband was no match for my long list of must-haves.

Thankfully, I’m now learning to run to the One who can renovate my heart and give me the makeover I need. To run-o-vate me!

Consider the woman plagued with bleeding for twelve years. Her ailment, according to Mosaic Law, made her ceremonially unclean. Others assumed her outside ailment meant inside brokenness. They were wrong. She faced more even wrongs. Wrong diagnosis. Wrong hopes for a cure. Scripture tells us, “She spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse” (Mark 5:26 ESV). Every hope or expectation of a cure had been frustrated. So when she heard about a man who “healed many who had various diseases” (Mark 1:34), she ran to Capernaum. She put feet to her faith.

The book of Matthew gives us insight into her expectations: “If I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole” (Matt. 9:21 KJV). The Greek word translated whole literally means “to be complete.”

She reached for the fringe and felt His power rushing through her. Jesus told her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease” (Mark 5:34). She had properly placed her hope and expectations into the healing hands of Jesus. He alone could truly solve her need.

We have to start with faith. Improperly placed expectation invites conflict, frustration, and heartbreak. Faith guides expectation and hope to the right place. It is a choice to run to Him. To run away from our expectations for every new project or distraction and toward Him alone. He is the new adventure.

Jesus will make the difference between being renovated or exasperated. When we trust Him first, we align ourselves with His plans for us. Which is a very good place to be.

So I say, “Touch the fringe today…and watch the stress melt away.” Too bad I can’t say the same thing for the snow.

“So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy.” Romans 9:16 NASB

 Adapted from Fix Her Upper: Hope and Laughter Through a God Renovated Life (Bold Vision Books, 2017) by Beth Duewel and Rhonda Rhea

beth duewelAbout the author: Beth Duewel is a writer, speaker, and blogger at Fix-Her-Upper.com. She lives in Ashland, Ohio with her three almost all grown up children, and husband Jerry. She tries to stay refreshed by running fast to Jesus. Catch her recent book release with co-author, Rhonda Rhea, Fix Her Upper: Hope and Laughter Through a God Renovated Life. (Bold Vision Books, 2017.)

Free Book Contest!  Arise Daily will use a random numberScreen Shot 2017-12-22 at 1.58.43 PM generator to pick a winner from today’s comments. To enter our contest for Beth’s book, Fix Her Upper,  please comment below.  By posting in our comments, you are giving us permission to share your name if you win!  If you have an outside the US mailing address, your prize could be substituted with an e-book of our choice.

Join the conversation: What expectations do you need to place in God’s capable hands?