Reflecting on the Wonder of Christmas

by Debbie Wilson

For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich. 2 Corinthians 8:9 NIV

One year, my daughter and I flew to Chicago a few weeks before Christmas. Because Ginny works for an airline the flight attendant bumped us up to first-class. We flew coach on our return home. Let me explain the difference between our flights.

  • In first-class, four seats filled a row (two plus two). In coach, five seats were crammed into the same amount of space (three on one side, two on the other).
  • In first-class, a console separated our roomy seats. In coach, we fought for elbow space.
  • In first-class, they provided a steamy washcloth before a hot meal. In coach, they offered pretzels and a soft drink.
  • In first-class, after our meal, the attendant passed out warm chocolate-chip cookies. In coach, after the pretzels, well…that was it.

My cousin flew from San Antonio, Texas, to Washington, DC, a few days later. Young soldiers being deployed overseas filled her packed plane. When the captain announced the soldiers were on the first leg of their trip to an unsafe region of the world, the other passengers applauded.

But one man did more.

A flight attendant from first-class walked back to the crowded coach section and picked an especially young, slender guy, and ushered him into first-class. A couple of minutes later a large man lumbered out of first-class and crammed his bulk into the soldier’s coach seat.

The Wonder of Incarnation

It touched me to think about these young soldiers leaving the safety of home and comfort of their families at Christmas to protect us and the large man surrendering his first-class seat for a soldier he didn’t know. Their sacrifices provide a small picture of what Jesus did for us.

  • Before Jesus filled a manger, His presence filled the galaxies. Jesus left the expanse and glory of heaven to be confined on one planet in a human body.
  • Before Jesus was an infant, He was the Almighty. He spoke and worlds were created. He set aside His power to become a helpless baby. The Creator became a creature.
  • Before the incarnation, Jesus knew everything. He set aside His omniscience to become like us and grow in knowledge.
  • Jesus did not move from first-class to coach. He moved from heaven to earth—to hell on the cross—so that we could live in heaven. He took our shame and guilt so we could share His glory.
  • He died in weakness so we could live in the power of the resurrection.

Have you pondered what Jesus did for you? When we do, we discover strength, comfort, and joy, not for just a season, but for a lifetime.

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

About the author: Drawing from her walk with Christ, and years as a Christian counselor, coach, and Bible teacher, Debbie W. Wilson helps women give themselves a break so they can enjoy fruitful and grace-filled lives. She is the author of Little Women, Big God and Give Yourself a Break. Her latest book, Little Faith, Big God, was released in February 2020.

Little Faith, Big God: Grace to Grow When Your Faith Feels Small by [Wilson, Debbie]

Debbie and her husband Larry founded and run Lighthouse Ministries, a nonprofit counseling, coaching, and Bible study ministry. She is an AWSA (Advanced Writers and Speakers Association) certified speaking and writing coach. Debbie enjoys a good mystery, dark chocolate, and the antics of her two standard poodles. Refresh your faith with free resources at

Join the conversation: What about the Christmas story fills you with wonder?

Seeking Refuge

by Doris Hoover

God is our ever-present help in trouble. Psalm 46:1 NIV

Hurricanes impact entire communities. Tornadoes, on the other hand, target individuals. They spin down a street, obliterating one house here and one house there while leaving others untouched.

On September 1, 2021, Hurricane Ida blustered up the east coast, launching a tornado at residents of a small New Jersey community. It ravaged individual homes three miles from my daughter’s house. She sent photos of houses ripped apart. Although my heart went out to the tornado victims, I praised God for my daughter’s safety. Indiscriminate destruction!

A week prior to Ida, our entire country felt the hurricane-like impact of world events, but individual families in Afghanistan suffered the tornado-like devastation of a suicide bomber who stood near their children. Indiscriminate violence!

In the aftermath of nature’s storms, people generally resume their normal activities unless they receive a direct hit. Then they stand shell-shocked in front of splinters that used to be a house. Meanwhile, they take shelter in homes of friends and family or in motels. Insurance companies provide financial aid so the victims can rebuild. Gradually, families replace the material possessions that had been torn from them.

In the aftermath of the political storm caused by the military withdraw from Afghanistan, most of us returned to our normal lives, even though our hearts were heavy. But those who lost loved ones, collapsed in shock, unable to stand. How do they go on? Where does one find shelter when a loved one is torn from them?

 “God is our ever-present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1 NIV). If the earth around us gives way, God is our help. When mountains crumble into the sea, God is our help. In the midst of roaring, foaming waters, God is our help.

The devastating circumstances we encounter in life leave us reeling, frightened, hopeless. Yet smack in the middle of our ruins is a place of refuge for broken, hurting people. A quiet voice calls to us. “Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10 NIV)

The Lord invites us to curl up beneath His wings and take refuge in His strength. No matter what storms spiral around us, He stands immovable, unbreakable. In the shelter of the Most High, we can retreat from turmoil, even if just momentarily. Our trial may not cease, but its effects cease when we burrow our heads in God’s neck and hear Him whisper over us, “Be still.”

The Lord is a refuge for hurting people. He holds us in His arms for as long as we’ll stay. There’s no time limit, no expiration date on God’s comfort. He never moves away from us: We can cling to Him until we’re ready to let go.

Are you in need of refuge? Call out to the Lord. He will never fail you. God will work in your brokenness. He’ll pour healing balm over your deepest pain. The Lord is an ever-present shelter in all of life’s storms.

“I long to dwell in your tent forever and take refuge in the shelter of your wings.” (Psalm 61:4 NIV)

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

About the author: If you’re looking for Doris Hoover, she’ll be somewhere between the Sunshine State of Florida and Sunrise County, Maine. Most likely, you’ll find her outside collecting ideas for her writing. Her love of God and nature inspire the devotions she writes. Doris is a mother of three and a grandmother of five. She and her husband Tim enjoy traveling to visit their family. Doris has won awards for her devotions. In addition to being published in The Upper Room,, Arise Daily e-devotionals, and, Doris is also a contributor to many compilations such as Arise to Peace, Short and Sweet, Light for the Writer’s Soul, and more. Her first book is Quiet Moments in The Villages, A Treasure Hunt Devotional. You can visit her website and blog at

Join the conversation: Have you recently encountered a storm?

Counterintuitive Peace

by Deborah McCormick Maxey, PhD @DeborahMaxey2

…he will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge.                                                                          Psalm 91:4 NRSV

“Brain surgery.” Never had two words produced so much anxiety in me. I had prayed the world renown medical team would suggest I try yet another pill. My mind constantly replayed what it would entail to create a “hole in the head”: scalpels in my grey matter and affixing a titanium plate.

It was the first week in December, and instantly I knew that other than my husband, who was with me, God was calling me to keep this scary news from everyone else. I could not let the joy of the Christmas holiday be marred with the fact that I would undergo this on New Year’s Eve, I would undergo this procedure.

At first I was mystified, as a worship leader and a prayer warrior, by God’s direction to not ask for prayer. But eventually I understood: He wanted me to look up, not around, for support.

A few days later I felt God moving me to message a Facebook acquaintance whose sister is a pastor. They both advised me to memorize Psalm 91 and to think of it as “911” to God, because of His promises of protection it held.

I began intense study on that psalm. Verse by verse I journaled deeply into the meaning of the words. As a visual person, it was not enough to understand what the Scripture said, I wanted images to spring to mind as I recited the words in praise and petition.

For the above verse, I googled “birds protecting their young” and found pictures that brought me peace. Birds stretch out their huge pinion feathers and fold their young beneath their wings to shield them. Huddled safe from everything, the babies sleep peacefully while the parent bird stands watch, taking the blows from any attacker. Just as Jesus did on the cross.

I found another reassuring image in verses 11-12 (NRSV): For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways. On their hands they will bear you up.”

Verse 15 (NRSV) also promises God will not fail. “When they call to me, I will answer them; I will be with them in trouble, I will rescue them and honor them.” Each verse brought joy and confidence that the Lord would be there for me through everything that lay ahead.

En route to Duke University on the day of surgery, Psalm 118:24 (NKJV) spontaneously repeated in my head: “This is the day that the Lord has made, we will rejoice and be glad in it.” And unbelievably, I felt the truth of those words.

Before leaving for the hospital, with a Sharpie, I had written “Psalm 91” in the palm of my hand, ready to grasp it like a squeeze ball if I needed extra strength. But there was an unintended effect: several hospital staff saw it, recognized it, and prayed with me on the spot. Folks I never met on the surgical team, found me afterwards to say that they also saw it and prayed.

I suffer from a chronic neurological disorder, Trigeminal Neuralgia, known as the “The Suicide Disease” because seventy two percent of those diagnosed end their lives within two years of onset. But through the surgery, which had been so scary to anticipate, God greatly reduced my 24/7 pain. He knew all along that His grace would be sufficient when I sought and trusted in him.

When things look overwhelming, and it feels counterintuitive to trust fully in Him, we can know He has a plan, a lesson, and a blessing in store. Over time, prayer, and the study of His Word, we learn to discern His voice. And His presence in our discipline brings us peace.

Counterintuitive Peace – encouragement from @DeborahMaxey2 on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

deborah maxeyAbout the author: Deborah Maxey, winner of numerous writing awards, has several short stories soon to be released in anthologies. Her first novel, “The Endling,” is scheduled to be published by Firefly Southern Fiction, Iron Stream Media. Along with a love for storytelling, Deborah is worship leader at her church, devoted wife, mother, grandmother, fine artist, and a licensed professional therapist in Lynchburg Virginia.

Join the conversation: What has been counterintuitive for you in your relationship with God?

Time for a Nap

by Terri Clark @TerriClarkTCM

In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, LORD, make me dwell in safety.                                                                                                                               Psalm 4:8 NIV 

I seldom ever take a nap during the day. It’s not that I’m opposed to naps, but I’m one of those perpetually fast-forward personalities that has a hard time slowing down long enough during the day to take one. But the other day, my late nights and early mornings caught up to me. I was so sleepy and sluggish; I couldn’t concentrate on anything and needed a power nap.

Setting the timer on my phone for 45 minutes, I curled up on my bed and started to drift off to sleep, but the room was so cold, I couldn’t relax. My husband keeps the thermostat set at “frigid” in our house. Remembering the quilt folded at the foot of the bed, I pulled it over myself. With the heavy warmth of that quilt wrapped around me, I instantly fell into a deep, restful sleep.

It feels good to have a fresh start; and grabbing a little rest is needed. When my timer went off, I woke up refreshed and ready to tackle the rest of the day.

We normally just think about rest in terms of our physical bodies, like when I ran out of steam in the middle of that day. But rest is essential for our soul and spirit as well. We tend to forget about our need for spiritual and emotional rest. It’s easy to become weary and worn out when our lives are filled with concerns and worries for our family or marriage, work issues, finances, health, or even ministry.

Hey, let’s face it, we live in a cold world, and as much as I needed the warm quilt to relax and rest in a cold room, we need a covering over our minds and hearts to relax and rest in the Lord. That’s where we find peace for our weariness.

God has provided a covering for us that is even better than my warm quilt. Look what it says in Psalm 91:4 NLT: “He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection.” When our minds are filled with a million thoughts, when we are stressed out, when life seems out of control and when things aren’t going the way we want them to, it’s time to step away and rest under the soft downy feathers of God’s faithful promises.

Our situation may not change right away, but His peace that comes with His covering, allows us to relax and rest. After a time of refreshment with Him, we’ll have what we need to get on with the situation at hand.

So, how about you? Are you in need of a spiritual and emotional nap? Cover up under the warmth of God’s wing. He is there for you. Here are a few more verses to read while you rest.

  • Ruth 2:12 (BSB) “May the Lord repay your work, and may you receive a rich reward from the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have taken refuge.”
  • Psalm 17:8 (NIV) “Keep me as the apple of Your eye; hide me in the shadow of Your wings.”
  • Psalm 18:30 (BSB) “As for God, His way is perfect; the word of the Lord is flawless. He is a shield to all who take refuge in Him.”
  • Isaiah 51:16 (BSB) “I have put My words in your mouth, and covered you in the shadow of My hand, to establish the heavens, to found the earth, and to say to Zion, ‘You are My people.’”
  • John 14:27 (NLT) “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So, don’t be troubled or afraid.”

May you wrap yourself in God’s peace and be able to rest in Him today.

Time for a Nap – encouragement on finding God’s peace from @TerriClarkTCM on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Terri ClarkAbout the author: Terri Clark works with women to prepare and equip them to receive God and the blessings He wants to produce in their lives. She began to answer God’s call on her life in 1994 and has since impacted women all over the world with His news of salvation, edification, and healing.

Her book, Fanning the Flame: Reigniting Your Faith in God, identifies and addresses the issues which most affect a believer’s spiritual flame: the busyness of life, Christian service, pride, and worldly temptations. Join her in this pilgrimage and reignite your spiritual lamp with a fresh, empowering faith–a faith that will stand through a time of testing.

Join the conversation:  What are some of your favorite verses that help you to rest?

Walk a Mile in Their Shoes

by Julie Coleman @JulieZColeman 

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 NASB

Ironic to the beauty that was characteristic of the Hawaiian Islands, the leper colony Molokai was home to some of the most deplorable and wretched conditions on the earth.  Missionary Father Damien arrived on the scene in 1873 to spread a message of hope and to minister to those who had been sent to the island to die.

He erected a church and worked tirelessly to provide decent shelters and improve the quality of life for the lepers who lived on the peninsula. Those suffering with leprosy politely attended the church services, out of respect for this man who selflessly gave of his life. But in their minds, religion remained something for those who did not suffer from the disease. Damien began every sermon the same way: “My dear lepers . . .”

Years passed. One morning as Damien prepared breakfast, he accidentally spilled boiling water on his foot. There was no pain. Damien realized that the dreaded had happened. He had finally contracted the disease. That Sunday morning, he began his sermon differently: “My fellow lepers . . .”

The news that Damien was now one of them spread like wildfire throughout the leper community. As the curious lepers watched, Damien continued to live out the rest of his life in dedication to the God he trusted. Religious revival swept the colony. God had suddenly become very real to the lepers while displayed in the life of one who suffered as they did.

God can turn our pain into an avenue of His grace and mercy. Knowing they are not alone is a balm to those who suffer.

When painful circumstances strike, our first prayer is for the Lord to take them away. Much of our prayer times sound like a Christmas wish list, as we tell God what to “fix” in order for life to be more comfortable for us. While there is nothing wrong with bringing our concerns before the Lord, we should also be praying about our own response should the Lord choose to allow that circumstance to remain. We need to pray for endurance and grace. Our goal should be that God might be glorified through us and that we would remain faithful to Him through the trial.

“…The God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” (2 Corinthians 1:4 NIV). One of the reasons God brings painful circumstances along is so we can effectively minister to others. After walking in someone else’s shoes, we can listen and respond with an empathy we could not have had without going through the experience ourselves. Having been there gives credibility to our spiritual counsel.

Knowing this should revolutionize our prayer lives. In the midst of the pain, we should be looking for ways God makes Himself real to us through the struggle. We must ask God to make us sensitive to what He is endeavoring to teach us. Because one day we will be given an opportunity to pass on what we learned in the experience to another who is in the midst of the battle. And they will need what we can give them.

Are you struggling right now? Julie shares what God is revealing to her in her current battle with breast cancer on her blog. Check it out!

Walk a Mile in Their Shoes – insight from @JulieZColeman on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Julie-Coleman-headshot-295x300About the authorJulie Coleman helps others to understand and know an unexpected God. A popular conference and retreat speaker, she holds an M.A. in biblical studies. Julie is the managing editor for Arise Daily. When she is not glaring at her computer, she spends time with her grandchildren, gardening, or walking her neurotic dog. More on Julie can be found at and Facebook.

Does the Bible depict women as second-class citizens of the Kingdom? Jesus didn’t think so. Unexpected Love takes a look at the encounters that Jesus had with women in the gospels. You will fall in love with the dynamic, beautiful, and unexpectedly personal Jesus.

Join the conversation: What has God revealed to you in a struggle that you have been able to use to encourage others?

What’s Your Pleasure?

by Karen DeArmond Gardner

How can I describe the glorious smell of coffee in the morning? The scent wafts through the air filling my senses as it brews. Coffee brings me pleasure and comfort whether it’s a cold morning curled up in my blanket or a Texas summer day. Nothing says pleasure like that first sip of coffee from my favorite mug.

I like my coffee rich and black. No foo-foo coffee for me.

I’ll saunter down the coffee isle in my grocery store just to breathe in the scent of coffee. The fragrance of coffee is pure bliss. Some days I can’t wait to go to bed just so I can get up and drink my coffee in the quiet solitude of early morning.

Coffee is also relational. The rise of coffee shops all over the world reveal how we love to sit and chat over coffee. Many a heart has been bared in those moments. Laughter, secrets, tears, love and fights, all shared over a cup of coffee.

A few years ago, as I contemplated what to give up for our church-wide fast, I asked God what He wanted me to give up for three weeks. I suggested, sweets, television, ice cream, food—but only one word dropped into my mind… coffee.  


Surely You don’t mean coffee? I love my coffee. I need my coffee.


I bargained, I whined, yet He didn’t budge. Either I would be obedient or I wouldn’t. It’s not like I love coffee above God. Or do I? I was about to find out.

I had a slight headache at day three and the brain fog that had been a problem for several months, was now horrible. I was a bit grumpy. Okay, maybe more than just a bit. I was frustrated with God, wondering what His point was in this. I didn’t feel closer to Him.

My daughter wasn’t thrilled when I bit her head off during a conversation. “You should have warned me you were off coffee,” she said.

I begged God to clear my mind. Nothing. Why did You take my one comfort and pleasure away?

Because it brings you pleasure and comfort.

 What? Oh!

Could it be He wanted to be my pleasure and comfort? Grabbing my Bible, I scanned the concordance and noticed most of the verses relating to pleasure were about sin and wrong doing, with the exception for Psalm 16:11 (ESV):

“You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”


Now He had my attention. Clarity cleared my foggy brain. I saw the greater purpose of finding my pleasure in Him. Did I look forward to my time with Him as much as I enjoyed my coffee? Did I stop and breathe in His presence? Did I anticipate going to bed so I could wake up to share our morning together? Point taken.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort. 2 Corinthians 1:3 (ESV)


Coffee isn’t my comfort. He is.

By time you read this, my fast will be over. I’ll be back to sipping coffee, appreciating what I’ve taken for granted. But I’ll also bask in His presence through my cloudy mind and realize the fast wasn’t about coffee. It was an object lesson on who my source is and where I find my comfort.

Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word.  2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 ESV

What’s Your Pleasure? – wisdom from Karen DeArmond Gardner on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

karen dearmond gardnerAbout the author: Karen DeArmond Gardner is a 30-year survivor of domestic violence. She has spent 15 years on her own healing journey and nearly that long helping others find freedom, restoration, and redemption.

Karen is a facilitator in Freedom Ministry/Sozo and directs the Women’s Ministry at Catch the Fire DFW Church. She also facilitates Mending the Soul, a group that leads women through the trauma of their past into healing and wholeness. She serves on the Board of Directors for Arukah House, a transitional home for women coming out of sex trafficking and abuse.

Karen blogs at Crack the Silence and can be found at her Crack the Silence Facebook page. She continues to be a helpful contact and resource for abused women in her church and community.

Join the conversation: What’s your favorite pleasure? Has God asked you to give it up for a season? How did it change your relationship with Him?

Receiving Peace in the Night

by Judy R. Slegh

A while ago, an event precipitated a sleepless night for me. It involved a choice my son made to hang out with friends over the weekend. Because of past compromises proving his inability to say no, I became fearful of what might happen while he was away. As I wrestled with the reality of placing my loved one into the complete care of God, I asked Holy Spirit a simple question.

“Holy Spirit, am I awake due to my spirit being unsettled or due to my soul (mind, will, and emotions) being unsettled?”

Immediately I heard, “It is your soul.”

He chided me saying, “Your loved one isn’t having a sleepless night, why should you?”

I then repented for allowing my soul to rob me of my peace and my sleep. I deliberately handed the issues with which I had been struggling to God. He assured me He was taking care of the situation and I could sleep restfully now. Within minutes, I fell asleep and stayed asleep for the rest of the night.

In the morning, I searched Scripture to validate this conversation with God.

I came across Psalm 16:7-9 NIV which states,

“I will praise the Lord, who counsels me;
even at night my heart instructs me.
I keep my eyes always on the Lord.
With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.
Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
my body also will rest secure,

The prayerful interaction I had in the night was God counseling me! Remembering His watchful concern and care prodded me to stop worrying about possible catastrophic events. I had let my mind race out of control. He was urging my mind to not be shaken so I could rest.

Then I was reminded of a verse I learned long ago. Isaiah 26:3 (NIV) states: “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.”

Once again, this was a confirmation to my mind and gave me peace.

I also asked the clarifying question, “What should I have done if my spirit was unsettled?”

Quickly I heard, “It would be an unction to intercede as needed for your loved one. I will keep you up as long as is needed, and then perfect and peaceful sleep will come easily.”

At times, this has happened after I ask the question, “Is it my spirit or soul?” and heard that my spirit was unsettled. I obediently and groggily got up and contended in prayer for about an hour. Sometimes it is more. Sometimes is it less. Then I sense it is time for sleep. This has been a great revelation to align myself to His promptings in the night and get peaceful sleep when He tells me everything is fine.

Asking the right questions has brought incredible peace to me at night. Especially when my children were in their teen years. Now they are spread across the world. It has been a stretch for me to let them go in obedience to the call of God, but asking the right questions in the night has brought many restful nights.

Paul assures us to trust Him in prayer, even when we don’t know the details. “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.” Romans 8:26-27 NIV

Receiving Peace in the Night – insight from Judy R. Slegh on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

judy sleghAbout the author: Judy R. Slegh is passionate in helping others get free of emotional baggage through healing prayer. She leads and mentors the growing team of prayer ministers and prayer intercessors at Nephros Ministries. Being a Minnesotan, she enjoys kayaking on lakes and rivers as well as bird watching with her husband Daryl.

In her first book, Help! I Have a Prodigal, Judy offers compassion and hope to those wearied by the turmoil of loving someone who has turned away from the faith and value systems of his or her upbringing. Experience compassion, hope, and healing through devotional readings, thoughtful questions, and prayers designed to help you identify and unpack your emotional baggage, freeing you to welcome your prodigal home.

Join the conversation: Has God ministered to you in the night?

Mourning Peace

by Louise Tucker Jones

 He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. Psalm 147:3 (NIV)

It had been several sad and lonely weeks since my three-month-old son, Travis, died suddenly from previously undiagnosed congenital heart disease. In fact, the weeks had now turned into months. The sadness was more than sad, and the grief still so raw, it cut my heart in two. The shock of his death brought me to my knees, as I held onto God with all of my strength.

But now my heart was so broken that I couldn’t even pray. Questions assaulted me. Where was God? Why didn’t He prevent this? What kind of God takes babies from their mothers? I felt totally abandoned, and became so angry I vowed to never pray to God again.

There was just one problem. I had a four-year-old son, Aaron, who missed his brother dearly and would ask me questions daily. “Mommy, what’s Heaven like?” “Mommy, can I go to Heaven and see Travis?” Or, “Mommy, why can’t Daddy go get Travis and bring him home?” These are tough questions, especially when you are mad at God.

I couldn’t stand the thought of hurting Aaron with the bitterness that was consuming me. I had taught him every day of his young life that Jesus loved him, and I couldn’t bear to destroy that faith. I loved my four-year-old son with all of my heart, and seeing him in such grief was more than I could bear. I knew I had to find peace beyond my own grief so that I could be a good mother to Aaron.

Finally, one night, as I lay alone on my bed in the darkened room, I poured out my heart to God—my anger, bitterness and pain. I prayed, “Lord, I have tried to change but I can’t, so if you want me whole again, You will have to do it. But please let me know that my baby is okay. Please heal my broken heart so I can be a good mother to Aaron.”

Suddenly, the room was filled with an almost palpable peace and I heard God speak to my heart, “Louise, Travis is with me. He’s okay. He’s with me.” Then, to my amazement, I felt the weight of my baby son placed against by breast and I could almost smell his precious baby sweetness and feel his soft hair brush against my cheek. I couldn’t open my eyes as tears streamed across my temples, soaking my hair. I lay absolutely still, allowing God to comfort me in a way I had never known as I continued listening to His gentle whisper: “Travis is okay. He’s with me.”

How long I lay in the mighty presence of my loving God, I don’t know. I only know that when I awoke the next morning, the bitterness and anger were gone. I still missed my son, Travis, terribly. I still had no explanation as to “Why?” But I knew I had just had the most intimate encounter with God’s healing love and presence than I had ever experienced in my entire life.

Are you in a place of pain? Even when we can’t understand the why or feel His presence, God promises to never leave us. As David wrote: “He restores my soul…Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for you are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me” (Psalm 23:3-4 NASB). We will never struggle with pain alone.

Mourning Peace – insight on finding God from Louise Tucker Jones on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet) 

Louise Tucker JonesLouise Tucker Jones is speaker, columnist and award-winning author. Her poignant life stories will touch your heart or tickle your funny bone. Having a son with Down syndrome, Louise writes extensively concerning people with special needs, co-authoring the book, Special Needs—Special Ministry. Married to Carl for 45 years before he relocated to heaven, Louise is a mother, grandmother, professed chocoholic, and founder of the support group, Wives With Heavenly Husbands.

Louise’s book, Extraordinary Kids, is a Gold Medallion award winner. It provides parents with vital information to help celebrate, nurture, and prayerfully champion their special-needs children.

Join the conversation: Have you experienced God’s discernible presence? Please share your story!

You Are Never Truly Alone

by Cindi McMenamin

I leaned my head against the window as the plane began to ascend.

How long will I fly alone?  I thought to myself, as I pushed my head harder against the window and felt that familiar tinge of loneliness. Another long flight by myself. Another lonely night in a hotel room. Another weekend alone.

As the plane ascended higher and a layer of clouds covered my view of the high-rise buildings on the ground, I remembered the One who said He’d never let me out of His sight.

David the Psalmist, who must have felt alone at times, comforted himself with a song he wrote about God’s “staying power” and His amazing ability to track us everywhere we go:

If I go up to heaven (if I’m on top of the world and in a place where I think I don’t need You) You are there;
If I make my bed in Sheol (if I sink to a place where I am helpless), You are there.
 If I live at the eastern horizon (if I move to a place where no one knows me), or settle at                            the western limits (or crawl into a cave where no one can bother me again),
even there Your hand will lead me;
Your right hand will hold on to me.
 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me, (if I say “I’m in too deep or too dark of a place                        for You to follow”)
Even the darkness is not dark to You.
The night shines like the day; darkness and light are alike to You.”                                                                                                                        Psalm 139:8-12 CSB, emphasized words added

I’m comforted knowing that there’s no place I can go where my God will not follow. No place I can seek out where His presence is not already there. Nowhere to run. Nowhere to hide (as if I’d want to).  He follows me like a shadow. Not only will He never leave, He’ll never let me out of His sight.

What are you facing today that you think you’re going into alone? What are you dealing with that no one else knows about or understands?

The Bible tells us “there is a friend who stays closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24 CSB).  And He stands ready to go into that situation not just with you, but before you…leading the way.

Lord, the next time I begin to feel alone, calm my heart with the reminder that there’s nowhere I can go where Your love will not follow, and no place I can venture where You have not already been.

“…for He Himself has said, I will never leave you or abandon you.” Hebrews 13:5 CSB

View More: the author: Cindi McMenamin is an award-winning writer and national speaker who helps women strengthen their relationship with God and others. She is the author of 16 books including When Women Walk Alone (more than 120,000 copies sold), God’s Whispers to a Woman’s Heart, and When God Sees Your Tears. For more on her books and ministry, and free resources to strengthen your soul, marwhen God sees your tearsriage, and parenting, see her website:


Join the Conversation: Where do you feel alone?

Photo by Alex Holyoake on Unsplash.