How to Experience the Power of Easter

by Debbie Wilson

Did you know that you can grow up in the church and miss the meaning of Easter? I know, because for many years, I did.

I started attending church nine months before I was born and could recite the historical facts of Good Friday and Easter. I even memorized John 3:16. But, somehow, I missed the personal ramifications of Easter.

That changed when a speaker at middle school camp spoke on the cross, and I realized God didn’t just love the world in general; He loved me. God so loved me that He gave His only Son, that if I would believe in Him, I would not perish but have everlasting life.

It crushed me to realize Jesus had to die for my sins. Yet, after processing what this meant, incredible joy welled up in me. I was clean. My sins were forgiven, and heaven was my destiny. I returned home higher than a helium balloon, singing the camp songs I’d learned. But my high didn’t last.

I was still the impatient person I’d always been. One thing did change. Before I gave my life to Christ, I thought I was a pretty good person. I lost my temper but reasoned I wouldn’t have if someone hadn’t provoked me. After I invited Christ into my life, my impatience bothered me.

Every night, I promised God, “Tomorrow, I’ll do better.” Yet, every day I failed. Knowing Jesus had paid the penalty for my sins comforted me. But I needed power for daily living.

In college, I joined a small group Bible study. The women in the group enjoyed the kind of relationship with God I lacked. They lived as if God was involved in their day-to-day lives. Even though I attended church and read my Bible, I didn’t view the Bible as relevant to my daily living.

My view of God grew as I got to know Jesus better, and the obstacles to trusting Him shrank. I realized my ability to trust the Bible was directly related to how I saw God.

A big God can

  • Communicate with His children.
  • Preserve the integrity of His Word.
  • Provide timeless truths.

I discovered why I hadn’t been able to control my temper. I’d been trying to live the Christian life in my own strength. I learned that only one person has ever successfully lived the Christian life, and He wanted to live through me. The power that raised Jesus from the dead on that first Easter is available to every child of God now.

“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know…his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms” (Ephes. 1:18-20 NIV).

Easter is more than a historical fact or holiday; it is the source of hope and power for daily living. God created us to live by faith in His Son. We celebrate Easter every day we live by faith in the Son of God.

“The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Gal. 2:20 NIV).

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 debbieWwilson.com.

Join the conversation: What is most meaningful to you this Easter?

Are You Trying to Straighten What God’s Made Crooked?

by Debbie Wilson

The book of Ecclesiastes contains some thought-provoking proverbs. What do you think the following from Ecclesiastes 7:13 (NLT) means?

“Accept the way God does things, for who can straighten what he has made crooked?”

As one who values efficiency, this verse challenges me. It also helps me trust God when life doesn’t flow in a straight line—which is most of the time. Old Testament Joseph’s life provides a good example of the futility of trying to straighten God’s path.

The Lord gave Joseph two dreams predicting the amazing plan God had marked out for Joseph. What expectations would these divinely inspired dreams of Joseph’s family bowing before him have raised in teenaged Joseph? Surely God’s plan was bigger than anything Joseph could have imagined. But God’s plan included torturous twists and setbacks.

God moved Joseph from the position of Jacob’s beloved son

  • toa slave in Egypt
  • toa prisoner in Pharaoh’s jail

before

  • He made him second in command in Pharaoh’s palace
  • He gave him the double blessing traditionally given to the firstborn son

God’s plan was greater than Joseph could have pictured, and it came at a higher cost than Joseph could have imagined.

“Wait,” you say. “I thought sinful people caused Joseph’s pain. Surely you can’t say this was God’s plan for Joseph.”

Psalm 105 says God orchestrated Joseph’s steps.

“He [God] called for a famine on the land of Canaan,
    cutting off its food supply.
Then he sent someone to Egypt ahead of them—
    Joseph, who was sold as a slave.
They bruised his feet with fetters
    and placed his neck in an iron collar.

Until the time came to fulfill his dreams,[a]
    the Lord tested Joseph’s character.
Then Pharaoh sent for him and set him free;
    the ruler of the nation opened his prison door.
Joseph was put in charge of all the king’s household;
    he became ruler over all the king’s possessions” (Psalm 105:16-21 NLT).

This was God’s path for Joseph. No human could have straightened it. Not Joseph, not his father Jacob.

Accept the way God does things. God’s ways are higher—better—than ours (Isaiah 55:9). Joseph’s years in prison and slavery weren’t a mistake. God used those experiences to take Joseph from a pampered son to a princely leader. Even Jesus learned obedience from what He suffered (Hebrews 5:8).

If Joseph spent time and energy ruminating over what he could have done differently, it would have been time wasted. Joseph couldn’t have straightened his path to reach God’s goal sooner. The path to glory includes pain and suffering (Romans 8:17).

I need this reminder. Life isn’t a straight line. Twists and setbacks are part of God’s perfect plan.

Has a challenge caused you to question your calling or God’s love? Have you tried to rescue your child from disappointment or shortcut your path to a goal? Take heart from Joseph and Jesus. The path to glory includes painful twists and setbacks.

But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering. Romans 8:17 NLT

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 debbieWwilson.com.

Join the conversation: Have you experienced twists or setbacks to what you thought to be God’s plan?

What Do You Want from Jesus?

by Debbie Wilson

Imagine being with Jesus and Him asking you, “What do you want?” How would you answer Him? Andrew’s story in John 1:26-42 made me wonder how I’d respond.

Andrew Tells His Story

I looked where John pointed. He’d told us many times about the One who would come after him. He’d pointed him out to us yesterday, and now he pointed to him again.

Sometimes John spoke in riddles. But today when he said, “This is the one I meant when I said, ‘A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me,’” my heart burned. The Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world; the long-awaited Messiah; the Eternal One, was passing by.

What should I do? I didn’t want to leave John, but I felt compelled to follow Jesus.

John seemed to read my thoughts. His eyes looked into mine. He jerked his beard toward Jesus, and I knew he was bidding me to go. I elbowed my buddy, and we took off.

Jesus heard us approaching and turned toward us. “What do you want?”

What did we want? To know Him? To see what He was like? But we didn’t voice that. Instead we said, “Teacher, where are you staying?”

Really? We’re meeting the Messiah and all we can come up with was, “Where are you staying?”

Jesus overlooked our bumbling and graciously replied, “Come, and see.”

We did. Jesus spent the whole day with us. Afterward, I couldn’t wait to bring my brother Simon to meet Jesus.

What Do You Want?

I wonder if Andrew and the other disciple were tongue-tied when Jesus turned to them. Or maybe they were showing polite interest like when we meet someone and ask where they’re from. Or were they feeling Jesus out, in hopes they could spend time with Him?

How I would have answered Jesus? Would I have said, “I want to spend time with You and know You better”? Verses that say God answers my prayers prompt me to make a Christmas- like list, naming what I want from Jesus. But Andrew and his companion didn’t ask Jesus for anything. They just wanted to know Him.

Jesus said, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied” (Matthew 5:6 NASB). He also said, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty” (John 6:35 NIV). Those who hunger for Jesus, who is our righteousness, find real contentment.

“If you live in me and what I say lives in you, then ask for anything you want, and it will be yours” (John 15:7 GW).

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

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is debbie-wilson.jpg

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 debbieWwilson.com.

Join the conversation: Have you considered how you would answer Jesus’ question? What do you want from Him?

What Frodo Teaches Us about Forgiveness

by Debbie Wilson

Some people have no conscience. The woman who stole your husband parades around the family reunion showing off your grandchild! The man who stabbed you in the back preaches unity and love to your team. They wronged you. Now they pour acid in your wound and dare you to flinch.

How do we handle such injuries? Biblical wisdom and J. R. R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings show the importance of forgiveness.

Biblical Guidance

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse…

Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary: 

“If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:14, 17-21, NIV)

When I’m reeling from being wronged, I’m not thinking about how to bless my enemy. I’m thinking more about how to blast them. So why does the Bible admonish us to do good to them? So that we won’tbe overcome by evil.Enter Lord of the Rings.

Frodo and the Ringwraiths 

In The Lord of the Rings, Frodo the hobbit accepts the daunting task of taking the ring of power to the realm of the Dark Lord to destroy it and its power. The Dark Lord hears of this and sends a group of Ringwraiths to seize the ring and destroy Frodo. Ringwraiths are “the Enemy’s most terrible servants; darkness went with them, and they cried with the voices of death.”[1]

After a Ringwraith pierces Frodo’s shoulder with a poisonous sword, there’s a race to remove the poison. If poison remains in Frodo, he will become a diabolical Ringwraith himself.

The Poison of Bitterness

“Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many” (Hebrews 12:15 NLT).

Bitterness, like the poison in a Ringwraith’s sword, not only destroys the wounded, but it also defiles those they touch. If bitterness isn’t dealt with, the tormented becomes the tormentor.

Who hasn’t wrestled with this? We reason it’s only fair that the one who caused our pain should hurt as much we hurt. But we can’t handle the role of avenger. Only God can wield vengeance and not be destroyed by it.

God’s mandate to forgive is practical. When we overcome evil with good, we:

  • Receive a great reward and show the world we belong to God (Luke 6:35)
  • Become blessings instead of Ringwraiths who defile others (Hebrews 12:15)
  • Become like Christ (Luke 23:34)

The Ringwraiths in Lord of the Rings stayed evil. However, others under the Dark Lord’s spell were set free. But Frodo’s heart was healed. Some who injure us will be freed from their darkness. Some won’t. Only God knows who is entrapped by evil and who is evil. Another reason why He’s the only one who can correctly avenge wrongs. We can trust Him to repay fairly.

The next time someone pokes your wound, remember:

  • Whose child you are
  • Frodo and the Ringwraiths
  • Christ on the cross forgiving you

Bitterness disfigures its victims into servants of the Dark Lord. Forgiveness transforms us into the image of Christ.

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. –Romans 12:21 NIV

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 debbieWwilson.com.

Join the conversation: Have you allowed bitterness to grow from refusing to forgive?


[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nazg%C3%BBl

A Habit Worth Protecting

by Debbie Wilson

Someone posted a meme that said, “Good habits are as easy to make and keep as bad ones.” Wrong! At least not for me. Good habits require effort.

Bad habits slip in without trying. It takes no effort to let getting on email drain the time I set aside for writing or study. I find it all too easy to sacrifice the important for the urgent or choose the temporary over the eternal.

Jesus’ Example

Jesus’ words to His Father on the night of His betrayal challenge me: “I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do” (John 17:4 NIV).

How could He say this? Think of all the people who had not yet heard His message. What about the sick who hadn’t been healed?

Notice, He did not say all the work was complete. He said He had finished the work His Father had given Him to do. At times Jesus left the crowds that had gathered to hear Him. He skipped lunch to have a conversation with one Samaritan woman. That one woman brought her whole town to Jesus! 

How did Jesus know His Father’s will? How did He know when to walk away from an opportunity and when to seize it? He kept His eyes on His Father. He told his disciples, “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does” (John 5:19 NIV).

 “‘My food,’ said Jesus, ‘is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work’” (John 4:34 NIV).

What work has God given you?

God has given us different talents and spiritual gifts. He has called some to be intercessors and others to be encouragers. But all believers share a common work—the work of faith.

When some people asked Jesus, “What must we do to do the works God requires?” Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent” (John 6:28-29 NIV).

The work of every believer is to walk by faith—in every area of life, not just in the spiritual arenas. “The righteous will live by faith” (Romans 1:17 NIV). Paul went so far as to say that “everything that does not come from faith is sin” (Romans 14:23 NIV), and the context of this statement was eating. 

Our work—and at times I’ve found it to be hard work—is to live by faith. To trust our Good Shepherd to lead us on the right path no matter how dark the valley. Our work is to focus on Him and learn to listen for His voice above the din of a noisy world.

Let me encourage you to put on your calendar regular times to be still before God. Have a Bible study plan. And guard your appointment with the Lord with the same tenacity in which you protect your most valuable treasure.

At the end of my life, I want to be able to echo Jesus’ words and know that I brought glory to my Father by completing the assignments He has given me.

Calm down, and learn that I am God! All nations on earth will honor me.  Psalm 46:10 CEV

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 debbieWwilson.com.

Join the conversation: What new habits are you working on this year?

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 debbieWwilson.com.

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

If God Is for Us

by Debbie Wilson

If God is for us, who can be against us? Romans 8:31-32 NIV

When our son was very young, a painful rejection crushed him. And like most moms, when my child hurts, I hurt. I took the matter to God, and He brought these words to mind: God is for Brant.

God didn’t tell me why He allowed my son to suffer this blow. But He assured me He was for Brant.

When my son asked me why this happened, I honestly told him I didn’t know. But I did know God was for him and had allowed this for his good. Every time my heart ached for my son, I reminded myself: God is for Brant.

Decades have passed, and I still don’t know why Brant suffered that injustice. I can’t say I’ve seen the benefit. But I believe God wouldn’t have allowed it if it weren’t important for my son’s growth.

In Numbers 22, the king of the Moabites commissioned a prophet named Balaam to curse Israel. But every time Balaam opened his mouth to spew curses—blessings flowed on God’s people instead.

“If God is for us, who can be against us?”

In Genesis, Old Testament Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery. He suffered years of slavery and imprisonment before God exalted him. When Joseph finally meets his brothers many years later, look at his assessment of his suffering: “Even though you meant harm to me, God meant it for good, to achieve this present end, the survival of many people” (Gen. 50:20, NASB). Joseph knew God was for him—even in prison and slavery.

In what area of your life are you feeling overwhelmed, defeated, betrayed, or alone? Where do you need an infusion of hope? Is it in your…

  • health
  • marriage
  • career
  • finances
  • parenting
  • relationships
  • habits
  • abilities
  • understanding
  • energy

God understands. That’s why He sent Jesus. Christmas shouts, “God is for you. He is with you. He supplies all you need—no matter what!”

Romans 8:31 doesn’t mean people and problems won’t assault us. It means that since God is for us nothing can squash His good will for us. Faith in this promise buffers us against life’s inevitable challenges.

Still have doubts? Let’s look at the next verse. “He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all—how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:32 NIV).

God gave you His most precious gift when He sent Jesus. In Him we have everything we need (Psalm 23:1; 2 Peter 1:3).

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

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is debbie-wilson.jpg

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 debbieWwilson.com.

Join the conversation: How would your life be transformed if you believed and received the precious gift God’s already sent? Remember, despite everything you face—God is for you.

What You Need to Know about Grief Cycles

by Debbie Wilson

I wish someone had warned me about grief. Maybe no one knew, or perhaps I wouldn’t have heard. In case you ever need to know, here are two words to remember after you’ve lost a loved one: three months.

The three-month anniversary of a loss feels like grief has started over. We buried my mother on Mother’s Day weekend weeks before my high school graduation. Three months later, grief blindsided me on my first weekend of college.

Years later, Daddy passed away in August. That Thanksgiving I found myself summoning all I had to hold it together. What was happening?

In a grief class by Norm Wright, I later learned grief cycles in three-month intervals during the first year after a loss. Those tidal waves of sorrow are normal, and their intensity usually passes after several days. I’ve seen the cycle play out many times in others’ lives as well my own.

Unexpected waves of grief surprised me like an unexpected ocean wave. Those who’ve spent time at the beach know the difference between the cold slap of a small wave, the fall from a medium wave, and the merciless dunking of a big surge that flips you and holds your head under the water while you pray your breath will last until it releases you. For me, grief’s three-month mark was like that last wave.

When this happens, the griever questions whether the grief will ever subside. Be assured, you haven’t digressed. This is the normal cycle of mourning.

Grief can look as different as the fingers that touch it. Whether the one suffering processes their grief through busyness or through quietness, grief is never a straight line. It dips and dives. It twists and turns. Even years later, an event such as a news event or a song playing in the grocery store can open an old wound.

If you or someone you know is grieving, grant grace. Don’t tell them or yourself to snap out of it. Share good memories and tears. Feel the anger, then let it go. Grief reminds us that we aren’t home yet.

One day Jesus will wipe away every tear.

“Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away” (Rev. 21:3-4 NIV).

Give yourself grace to mourn. And don’t be dismayed when grief resurfaces.

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 debbieWwilson.com.

Join the conversation: Have you ever been overwhelmed by grief?

Sometimes We Discover God Amid Disappointment

by Debbie Wilson

My teenaged heart awoke to God while lying on my back on a dock staring at stars only visible to someone away from city lights. The smell of the marsh, the rhythmic lap of the river, and the chirping night symphony cast a spell that made me feel small, yet part of something magnificent. David surely felt this magic when he wrote, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands” (Ps. 19:1).

Abraham also felt it. “For the Scriptures tell us, ‘Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith’” (Rom. 4:3 NLT). Genesis says this happened while he gazed at the stars.

Abraham had just defeated four wicked kings to rescue Lot, and he’d given up his rightful monetary reward. Perhaps he worried these kings would seek retribution. Or, in hindsight, had he been foolish not to take his fair share of the booty? Maybe he was just worn out from battle. Whatever his state, God understood and said, “Don’t fear, Abraham. I am your great reward.”

Now, if God told you He was your great reward, how would you respond? Would you bow speechless and amazed? Would you leap for joy?

Abraham said, “Sovereign Lord, what can you give me since I remain childless?” (Gen. 15:2).

“What can you give me?” Whoa, Abraham. Do you know whom you’re talking to?

His reply reminds me of the little girl who prayed, “Thank you for the baby brother—but I prayed for a puppy.”

Did Abraham’s Frankness Offend God?

No. Abraham and God were close. Abraham didn’t need to fake a pious response. God understood his disappointment and longing for a son. He promised Abraham a son and said, “Now look toward the heavens, and count the stars, if you are able to count them.”

Count the stars? Impossible! But Abraham gazed into the heavens anyway. The cold lump of disappointment melted as he watched new stars emerge. Belief warmed his core and spilled out in laughter and tears. Yes, he would become the father of many. The Creator, the One who spoke worlds into being, would do this.

“And He said to him, ‘So shall your descendants be.’ Then he believed in the Lord; and He reckoned it to him as righteousness” (Gen. 15:5–6 NASB).    

Why would counting billions of stars help Abraham believe he would father a son? God gave Isaiah similar instructions. “Look up into the heavens. Who created all the stars? He brings them out like an army, one after another, calling each by its name. Because of his great power and incomparable strength, not a single one is missing” (Isa. 30:26 NLT).

Abraham began to count the stars and was overcome. Nothing was impossible for the Creator of all of this. Scripture says he believed in God, and God counted his faith as righteousness.

The promise of a son was no longer remote when Abraham saw the size of God. The promise of great nations coming from an infertile couple was nothing to the Creator of the Milky Way.

In the end, God took Abraham’s weakness and turned it into a staggering promise. Not one heir, Abraham—billions.

What has discouraged you or left you feeling powerless? Have you brought your disappointment to God? Maybe it’s time for a little stargazing. Impossible problems are no problem for a big God.

O Lord, our Lord, How majestic is Your name in all the earth,
Who have displayed Your splendor above the heavens! Ps. 8:1 NASB

*Adapted from Little Faith, Big God, Leafwood Publishers

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 debbieWwilson.com.

Join the conversation: Is there something in nature that speaks to you of God’s greatness?

The Comfort of Knowing the Creator

by Debbie Wilson

I stepped onto my front porch and spotted a huge spider web. I grabbed my broom and stomped back ready to remove the offensive visitor when my son stopped me. “Mom, what are you doing? Stop. Sit and watch the spider with me.”

Was he kidding? I could tell he wasn’t. I put down my broom and sat to watch the spider with him.

My son was right. The spider’s patience and skill at weaving a complicated design was marvelous to watch. Who taught a spider to measure and create such intricate lace?

In the book Tortured for Christ, Romanian pastor Richard Wurmbrand describes a Russian couple he met. Living under communism, they learned there was no God. But the wonder of creation began to make them question the possibility of a creator.

Both were sculptors who worked on a statue of Stalin. One day, the wife began to ponder the importance of her thumb. She concluded that if God had not created heaven and earth, as Marxism taught, but had created only the thumb, He was worthy of praise. Since the communist said nobody was in heaven, she decided to worship the “Nobody” who’d created the thumb.

Upon hearing her story, Wurmbrand introduced them to the One who’d made not only the thumb but also heaven and earth. Learning Christ’s name thrilled them. Learning the Creator of the Milky Way loved them so much He had died for them, so they could one day join Him in heaven gave them unspeakable joy.

Worshipping the Creator

Believing God created the world is essential to strong biblical faith. It also puts us in the company of those commended for their faith and impacts the quality of our everyday relationship with God.

“By faith we understand that the entire universe was formed at God’s command, that what we now see did not come from anything that can be seen” (Hebrews 11:3 NLT).

Although it takes faith to understand that God formed the universe by simply speaking, the visible world points to a creator. No one stumbles upon a cabin in the woods, smells bacon wafting from an open window, and doubts human involvement. The miracle of birth, of daffodils bursting forth after the dead of winter, of an eagle teaching her young to fly all reveal intelligent design.

“What may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse” (Rom. 1:19–20 NIV).

If we doubt God created the world, then what hope do we have that he can handle our trials? How can we trust his promises if the Bible got this wrong? But, if he made the universe by speaking, then nothing is too difficult for him.

The prophet Jeremiah wrote, “Ah Lord God! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and by Your outstretched arm! Nothing is too difficult for You” (Jeremiah 32:17 nasb).

No matter what we face, the creation that surrounds us reminds us God is near and powerful. When we can’t fathom how our prayers will be answered, creation whispers, “Remember your Creator.”

“The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together” (Colossians 1:15-17 NIV).

Adapted from Little Faith, Big God, (Leafwood Publishers)

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 debbieWwilson.com.

Join the conversation: What specific things in creation reflect the Creator to you?