Am I a Doubting Thomas?

by Debbie Wilson

“Please don’t play rough in the living room. You’re going to break something.” A loud crash told me my words to my husband and son had fallen on deaf ears. I spun ’round to see my favorite planter laying in pieces on the floor.

Have you ever predicted an unpleasant consequence, sounded the alarm, and then suffered the consequences when your warning was ignored? Why can’t we stop what we can see coming? Why won’t others listen?

I imagine Jesus’s disciple Thomas felt that way when the Jews and Romans banded together to crucify Jesus. Thomas could see the trouble awaiting them in Jerusalem, but no one listened. When Jesus took off to help his friends, Mary, Martha, and Lazarus, Thomas resigned himself to go with Jesus.

“Let’s also go, so that we may die with Him!” (John 11:16 NASB).

Perhaps Thomas’s confusion and disappointment made it difficult for him to believe in Jesus’s resurrection. What he’d predicted happened. How could the damage be undone?

I bet you remember times when those who had the power to act wouldn’t listen to your concerns. They took the job, married the person, or made the investment anyway. And you had to stand by helplessly as your fears were realized. How can such trials be included in James’s admonition to “count it all joy” when they could have been easily avoided (James 1:2)?

Considering Thomas has helped me. He couldn’t believe anything good could come out of something that could have been avoided. Thomas looked at his circumstances from an earthly viewpoint. He would not believe unless he could see and touch the risen Lord’s scars (John 20:25).

Jesus had told His disciples about His pending death and resurrection many times, but they couldn’t grasp it. Like Martha, they believed in the resurrection of the dead at judgment day, but not on earth in their lifetime.

The resurrected Jesus understood Thomas’s doubts. He appeared to the group of disciples and singled Thomas out.

“Place your finger here, and see My hands; and take your hand and put it into My side; and do not continue in disbelief, but be a believer” (John 20:27 NASB).

In other words, “Open your eyes, Thomas. Don’t let disappointment cloud reality!” Thomas’s doubts make me reconsider my own doubts. Can God redeem foolish choices once consequences have been set in motion?

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28 NIV).

What promises have I doubted because I can’t see how they can happen? Do I believe His promise to work all things together for good applies only to situations that don’t involve foolish decisions or stubborn people? Do I dare believe God can turn a senseless tragedy into something wonderful for me and those I love?

“Thomas answered and said to Him, ‘My Lord and my God!’Jesus said to him, ‘Because you have seen Me, have you now believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed’” (John 20:28-29 NASB).

Will we be counted among those who believe, not just that He rose from the dead, but also that He is at work in our disappointments. He never said all things are good, but He promised to work all things together to benefit His dear children.

Disappointments test our faith. What must you release to receive the good God longs to give? Jesus understands the fear you will be disappointed again. Take His words to heart.

Stop doubting and believe. John 20:27 NIV

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

About the author: Debbie W. Wilson is an ordinary woman with an extraordinary God. Drawing from her personal walk with Christ, twenty-four years as a Christian counselor, and decades as a Bible teacher, Debbie writes and speaks to connect sojourners to the heart of Christ. She and her husband Larry founded Lighthouse Ministries, a nonprofit ministry offering life and relationship counseling and Bible studies. Despite time in Boston, the Midwest, and Southern California, she still says y’all. Her family, which includes two mischievous standard poodles, calls North Carolina home. Find free resources to refresh your faith and connect with Debbie at

Join the conversation: Do you fear disappointment when it comes to God? Why?


The Battle Against Bitterness

by Dr. Mel Tavares

In this godless world, you will continue to experience difficulties. John 16:33 TM

The month of May is Mental Health Awareness Month. As a long-timer working in the field of spiritual and mental health and well-being, I recognize one of the common reasons for emotional and mental pain: bitterness. Often masked, bitterness leaks through our body language and lips that should have remained closed because we’ve not healed from the pain suffered.

Bitterness is defined as anger and disappointment at being treated unfairly or carrying the perception of being treated unfairly.

We are not exempt from experiencing difficulties in the world. Not only does God tell us we will experience difficulties, but He also tells us the rain falls on both the just and the unjust (Matthew 5:45). On this side of heaven, there will be many instances when we are rained on unjustly. It’s normal to ask the why questions and express anger, even anger at God for allowing such injustice. The necessary battle is to fight against negative thoughts and choose to trust God in the midst of our circumstances. This will lead to stronger spiritual and mental health.

It is spring and seeds are beginning to take root and grow. Did you know it is possible for bitterness to take root in your heart and grow? The seed of bitterness is sown in the midst of day-to-day life, often dropping unnoticed, deep into our souls.

Is there a time you can recall feeling like the rain of injustice fell on you? Someone got a promotion, and you were passed by? Or perhaps someone wronged you somehow? Did you suffer a tremendous loss, and you still feel the emotional pain?

I have a friend who has every reason to be bitter but has chosen to trust God with his circumstances instead. He was a roofer, and one day two decades ago he had a horrible accident; the fall left him paraplegic and nearly ended his life. He’s fought the onslaught of medical issues, physical challenges, and changes to his lifestyle, marriage, and family. My friend continues to be a beacon of light to everyone around him. If anything, he views life as a precious gift and lives daily to the fullest, spreading kindness to those he encounters.

Trusting in God’s faithfulness in all circumstances produces positive mental health and well-being, whereas bitterness withers the soul. Is there someone you need to forgive? A loss you need to grieve? Your heavenly Father desires to bring healing to your heart, allowing you to genuinely show love and kindness to others.

The healing process is not one I can write a formula for and not something gained from reading a quick article—through reading this may be the catalyst that causes you to recognize a root of bitterness. (I do recommend reaching out to your pastor.)

Like uprooting weeds in the garden, it will take some work to uproot bitterness.  

Heavenly Father, I pray you provide the counsel needed for any roots of bitterness or feelings of injustice lingering deep within that prohibit our genuine kindness toward others. Lord, I am grateful that you love us with an everlasting love and extend grace to each of us. May I learn to be kind enough to extend the same grace to others.

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

About the author: Mel Tavares is an accomplished award winning author, speaker/teacher, and coach and counselor both in ministry and in her career. She has invested decades in equipping women from all walks of life to thrive in the midst of their circumstances.

Mel holds a Doctorate of Ministry, is a Board Certified Mental Health Coach, a Certified QPR Suicide Prevention Instructor, a member of the AACC (American Association of Christian Counselors), AWSA (Advanced Writers and Speakers Association).

In addition to writing for Arise Daily, she authoring books, is a contributing author to several books, writes for multiple ministries, including the Word of Life Global Youth Ministries. She teaches digitally and in person, conducts Facebook Live series, and is a frequent media guest. Mel is a wife, mom to seven, and grandma to ten. You can find her materials and learn more about her ministry at her website:

Join the conversation. What helps you to avoid bitterness?

Do Not Destroy What You Can Enjoy

by Darci Steiner

Today was the day I had my heart set on walking to the end of the block. Over the past year, I’ve walked around our cul-de-sac about a dozen times—a tremendous victory. Oh, how I miss my former 40-minute daily walks. I wonder now how I ever made it to the end of the block. I want to reclaim this ability that seems unreachable, that I haven’t achieved in almost four years because of a foot injury.

As Mark and I set out down the driveway, I remember, “Oh, gosh, we need to grab the wheelchair!” If I can’t make it, I need a backup plan. Mark lets go of my hand, and within a minute, he pushes the wheelchair with one hand and grabs mine with his other. We cut across the cul-de-sac. I cannot wait! My mind already dreams of the view at the end of the block—a magnificent panorama of the front range of the Rocky Mountains, which never ceases to take my breath away. It was my favorite moment of my everyday walks.

Each step I take, I find myself slowing. Walking on concrete is definitely more difficult than on carpet. Before we even begin up the block, I realize this walk is over. I reach for the wheelchair and sit down, defeated. The nerve pain from Complex Regional Pain Syndrome is profound. That’s why it’s called “The Suicide Disease.” This condition was initiated when a leaning chair slid down the wall and hit my foot at my daughter’s wedding.

Mark wheels me toward home, then turns the chair back around. Apparently, we are going on this walk anyway. I quietly sob as Mark pushes me up the block. He gives me space to grieve, saying nothing.

We reach the top; the view of the front range is breathtaking, which triggers me to weep more. Mark stops and picks a small flower for me on the side of the trail. As we continue, my tearful eyes transfix on the snowcapped fourteeners. I continue to grieve the loss of my ability to walk, but I also remember a quote I recently wrote: “Do not destroy what you can enjoy by wishing things could be better.”

There is still good to enjoy in each day, even if it looks different than it used to. We haven’t taken this walk in the wheelchair because I’ve been waiting to do it on my two feet. I don’t know if I’ll ever have that ability again, but it doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy this walk in a different way.

Mark leans over and picks me another tiny flower from the side of the trail to add to my bouquet. My weeping lessens, and I begin to appreciate my surroundings. We reach the incline, and Mark continues pushing me. I bask in the sight of the glorious rugged mountains, observe the paint-stroke rainclouds in the distance, and listen to the ensemble of birds singing in surround sound. I’ve missed experiencing nature like this, as most of my time is spent indoors.

I can’t physically walk; however, I can go on this walk with Mark. I realize now I even get a little bouquet when I go with him! I haven’t wanted to take this walk in the wheelchair because I wanted to remember it how it was before, walking it, feeling my feet take each step. But before is no more.

I must “walk” humbly, accepting this new plan is not to harm me but is for his higher purpose. My God has something better planned for me in this dissonance. For his ways are not my ways, and his thoughts are not my thoughts.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,  neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth,  so are my ways higher than your ways   and my thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:8 NIV)

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

About the author: Darci J. Steiner has served in full-time ministry and assisted with church plants in Denver and Los Angeles. In 2001, she nearly lost her life after a debilitating fall down the stairs in her home. During her recovery, she earned her Master of Science degree in Holistic Nutrition and implemented natural remedies into her diet that helped save her life. When Darci became disabled a second time after a foot injury in 2018, she wrote her award-winning debut book, Beauty Beyond the Thorns: Discovering Gifts in Suffering. Darci and her husband enjoy two adult daughters, one son-in law, and a baby granddaughter. They live in the Denver area. Please keep in touch at

Join the conversation: When has God’s plan turned out to be far superior to your own?

Managing Expectations

by Julie Zine Coleman

Come, thou long expected Jesus, born to set thy people free;
From our fears and sins release us, let us find our rest in Thee.
(Charles Wesley, Come Thou Long Expected Jesus)

The year my daughter left for college, she came home for Christmas break brimming with excitement. The house was decorated for the season and goodies were baked in anticipation of the big day. Expectation filled the air.

The family gathered downstairs on Christmas morning to open gifts and celebrate together. After the gift exchange was finished, I noticed my daughter quietly sitting on the couch, looking kind of glum. When I asked if something was wrong, she shrugged her shoulders. “I guess I was expecting too much. I feel so let down this Christmas.”

That’s the problem with holding unrealistic expectations. It dooms us to disappointment.

Expectation was a key component regarding the first Christmas morning, when Jesus was born in Bethlehem. For many centuries, God, through his prophets, reinforced what God promised to Adam and Eve just after the first sin. He would send a Savior to set humankind free from the bondage of sin (Genesis 3:15).

The promise was reiterated many, many times, sometimes giving further information about his coming.

  • Abraham was told it would be his descendant who would bless all nations (Genesis 12:2-4).
  • Moses knew he would be a prophet greater than him (Deuteronomy 18:15).
  • God told David that he would sit on David’s throne and have an eternal reign (2 Samuel 7:12-16).
  • Daniel prophesied when he would come (Daniel 9:25).
  • His birthplace would be the small town of Bethlehem (Micah 5:2).

In fact, over three hundred prophecies in the Old Testament foretold many details about his coming and ministry on earth. So was he expected? You bet he was! When he came, the people had all they needed to know to enable recognition when they saw Him.

So then why did so many people miss it?

Because the prophecies were all mixed together, people didn’t understand that there would be two comings. The first would be to rescue people from the bondage of their sin and clear the path to a relationship with God. He would accomplish this by suffering on a cross, dying, then rising again. The second coming is still to come, when Jesus will finally rule the earth and every knee will bow to him. But for those waiting for the Messiah, it was hard to comprehend that the suffering servant and the victorious king could be the same person.

The people assumed the suffering servant in prophecy was Israel. They were looking for a messiah to lead them out of political oppression and restore their nation to peace and prosperity. A baby born in a stable to innocuous parents from Nazareth did not fit their expectations. So they missed him the first time around.

The same kind of blindness exists today when it comes to expectations. Some of our ideas about God are straight out of our imaginations. And when He doesn’t measure up to those ideas, we are disappointed. We are stunned when a loved one is diagnosed with cancer or whose life is cut short unexpectedly. But God never promised we would be protected from difficulties. His Word assures us that suffering will be part of his plan for us. We shake our fist at heaven when he does not give us what we ask. But we must ask in accordance to his will.

To avoid having our expectations crushed, we must inform what we think about God with what He tells us in His Word. When we base our expectations on His promises, His character, and His history as revealed in Scripture, we will never be disappointed.

One day, He will return. And no one will miss it this time around. “Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory” (Luke 21:27 NASB). Come, thou long expected Jesus. We await you in glorious expectation. And you will not disappoint.

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


About the authorJulie Zine 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 crafting. More on Julie can be found at and Facebook.

Does the Bible depict women as second-class citizens in God’s Kingdom? Jesus didn’t think so. Unexpected Love takes a revealing 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: Has God disappointed you? What were you expecting?

His Terms, Not Ours

by Julie Zine Coleman

“It is a fundamental principle in the life and walk of faith that we must always be prepared for the unexpected when we are dealing with God.”      D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

The stream of pilgrims entering the city had been steady for several days. It was time for Passover, and every male living within fifteen miles of the city was required to come to celebrate in Jerusalem. One particular group of travelers stood apart from the rest.

As they ascended into town from the Mount of Olives, some of the men began to spread their coats or freshly cut palm branches on the road before them. The object of their tribute came into view, astride a donkey. As He neared the city gate, the surrounding crowd began to shout, “Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!” This was obviously no ordinary pilgrim.

The scene was reminiscent of another historical triumphal entry. Antiochus, King of Syria, had desecrated the Temple by offering swine flesh to Zeus at the altar of God. After the battle in which Antiochus was soundly defeated, the victorious Simon Maccabaeus was welcomed into Jerusalem with shouts of joy and branches of palm trees. Now, 150 years later, history seemed to replay itself as Jesus rode into the city. Waving palm branches and shouts of acclamation announced the arrival of another conquering hero.

The crowd believed that Jesus had come to oust their enemies and lead them to political independence. Their expectations were reflected in the very words they shouted. “Hosanna” literally means “save now!” It was a conqueror’s welcome they gave Jesus, but they did not comprehend the kind of conqueror He came to be.  He would score victory over an oppressor, but the oppressor was not Rome. It was the death-grip of sin. He came on His terms, not theirs.

Days later, the crowd was shouting at Jesus again. But this time the words were vastly different: “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!” He had failed to meet their expectations. And so they rejected Him as their Messiah.

Has God ever failed to meet your expectations? In the two years my mother was dying, I had expectations of God. I would not suffer grief like most people. I had the Lord in my life. I assumed He would be there for me and hold me close and shield me through the process. So I cried out to Him in anticipation, waiting for Him to reveal Himself to me and fill me with peace.

It was like shouting into the wind. I got nothing.

His silence shook my faith to its very foundation. Where was God? This was the hardest trial I had ever encountered. Why was He silent when I so desperately needed Him?

I was hurting so badly I could hardly see straight. I wanted out from the pain. But God had plans for my pain. He would use it to mold me more closely into the image of Christ. I would learn to identify with Him by going through the process of grief and suffering. Most importantly, I would experience a deeper intimacy with Him as I learned to lean on and trust Him on a whole new level. He proved Himself faithful through the crisis. But He came to me on His terms, not mine.

When God seems to let you down, it’s time to look at why you are disappointed. Maybe it’s time to adjust your expectations.

The crowd on Palm Sunday those many centuries ago was looking for a temporary fix. They wanted peace and an easier life. God had something bigger and far better in mind for them. What He would accomplish over the next few days had eternal implications. They would be given a chance of peace with Him, a cure for their sin, and a hope for an eternity in heaven. His goals were far superior to any the crowd could have imagined.

We are limited in our understanding of God’s plan for us. We go for the temporary fix quite often, begging for relief from our temporary discomfort or pain. But He has higher goals for us than that. He will use the pain to accomplish what will afford eternal benefit. His terms are superior to ours. And we can trust Him to deliver far greater things than we can even know to ask.

“For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”       2 Corinthians 4:17-18 NASB  

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


About the author: Julie Zine 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 crafting. More on Julie can be found at and Facebook.

Did you know Arise Daily has a book that just released? Arise to Peace is a compilation of devotionals from 72 well-loved authors in the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association. Julie Coleman served as General Editor for the project. Order your copy today!

Join the conversation: How has God surprised you with better than you could have imagined?

Detours—No Camping Allowed

by Terri Gillespie

Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but longing fulfilled is a tree of life. Proverbs 13:12 TLV

Are there scriptural passages that are painful to read for you? I have a few. The above is one of them. Why? I have several “deferred hopes” — people and situations I’ve prayed about for many years. Answers that haven’t come to fruition. These are not wants or desires—like a Christmas list—but heart hopes of an eternal nature. Salvations. Deliverances. Restoration. Family.

Sometimes, it feels like deep holes in my heart, that for whatever reason, our loving Heavenly Father has left unfulfilled. Sometimes, I feel isolated with my discouragement — out there in the dark of doubt. Do you know what I mean?

So, knowing the longings are there and not knowing when, or if, they will be fulfilled can get a bit disheartening. And there are times when I am heartsick. But I can’t “camp” there.

A painful detour . . .

When my heart takes a detour, it’s generally caused by some area in my life that is weak. Those things that remind me that my heart hope is still longing. I must be especially vigilant to not get lost but find my way back to the path of faith.

One of the ways I do this is to focus on GOD’s truths. Verses that re-direct me into His loving arms — reminders of His sovereignty and love. Reminders of His love for those I love. As I come across them, I add them to my journal.

Here are a few passages meaningful to me [emphasis mine]:

  • Looking at them, Yeshua [Hebrew for Jesus] said, “With men it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God!” Mark 10:27, TLV
  • Fulfill Your word to Your servant, which leads to reverence for You. Psalm 119:38 TLV
  • I am sure of this very thing—that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the Day of Messiah Yeshua. Philippians 1:6 TLV
  • And the shalom [peace] of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Messiah Yeshua. Philippians 4:7 TLV
  • Chazak [Be strong]! Let your heart take courage, all you who wait for ADONAI [the LORD]. Psalm 31:25(24) TLV
  • Never snatch out of my mouth a word of truth, for I hope in your judgments. Psalm 119:42 TLV
  • When my troubling thoughts multiply within me, Your consolations comfort my soul. Psalm 94:19 TLV

I’m sure you have your own passages of hope — verses that shift the focus from waiting for an outcome to trusting in the Father, come what may.

While I would love to see my heart hope fulfilled in my lifetime (Psalm 27:13), but like Abraham and the fathers and mothers of Scriptures, not all lived to see their promises fulfilled (Hebrews 11:13). And, I must be okay with that.

Once I return to that understanding, I’ve exited the detour and am back on the right path.

Have all your heart hopes been fulfilled? Or are some still deferred? Just know we don’t have to take the detour of discouragement, and camp alone in the darkness—at least not for very long. Because He gives us plenty of reminders of that love, we just need to pay attention.

May we trust and remember the goodness of our Father, my friends—and may our detours be avoided or brief.

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

About the author: Award-winning author and speaker Terri Gillespie writes stories of faith to nurture souls. Her novels, devotionals, and blogs have drawn readers to hunger for a deeper relationship with their Heavenly Father, and His Son Jesus. She tries to avoid spiritual detours.

Terri’s weekly devotional, Making Eye Contact with God, for women only, enables you to really see God in a new and fresh way. Using real life anecdotes, combined with scripture, author Terri Gillespie reveals God’s heart for women everywhere, as she softly speaks of the ways in which women see God.

Join the conversation: What passages are your go-to when you are discouraged?

Let Go

by Terri Gillespie @TerriGMavens

For the earth will be filled with knowing the glory of ADONAI [the LORD], as the waters cover the sea. Habakkuk 2:14, TLV

We thought it was safe. The Missouri River had a long sandbar that was invisible from the shore. A group of people ran over it making them appear to be walking on water. Of course, we wanted to do it, too. So, my daughter, three of my nieces, and my sister-in-law and I skipped and laughed all the way to the end—which dropped off suddenly, in the middle of the rushing river current!

I was the last person to hit the undertow. I tried to swim back to the shallows but went nowhere. All I could do was keep myself from being dragged under the water. Within seconds I was exhausted from fighting to stay afloat. Part of me wanted to just give up—until I watched in horror as my daughter and nieces frantically tried to keep from going under.

Finally, I screamed for my brother on the shore. He ran in and stopped at the edge of the sandbar. Since I was the closest, he grabbed for me.

Have you ever heard the stories of rescuers being drowned by the victims they tried to save? I had. Still, I panicked and nearly pulled my brother in. He rebuked me—yelled at me to stop or I would drown us both.

In seconds I did the most counterintuitive thing I could do given my fear—I let go. I chose to trust that my brother would help me.

Once I did this, he was able to easily pull me to safety. Then, we both rescued the rest of our family. Had I not let go, the outcome could have been tragic.

One of the greatest lessons I learned from that experience had nothing to do with water safety. I learned what it felt like to want to give up, and how that is different from letting go.

Today’s passage is a prophecy. The prophet Habakkuk had witnessed another round of disappointing behaviors by Israel. Discouraged, he questioned why God had allowed all this. Amid this whirlpool of despair, Habakkuk proclaims that one day the earth would be filled with knowing the glory of the LORD.

The prophet continues with one of the most beautiful psalms of letting go—letting go because he trusted in the Most High God:

Though the fig tree does not blossom,
and there is no yield on the vines,
Though the olive crop fail,
and the fields produce no food,
the flock is cut off from the fold,
and there is no cattle in the stalls.
Yet will I triumph in Adonai,
I will rejoice in the God of my salvation!
Adonai my Lord, is my strength.
He has made my feet like a deer’s,
and will make me walk on my high places. Habakkuk 3:17-19, TLV

Giving up is wrapped in despair. Letting go is supported by faith and trust.

It can be discouraging to see the disappointing behavior all around us—sometimes within our own families. We may want to give up—to not be engaged in our calling. We wonder how we can let go of our fear, anger, disappointment, and choose to rejoice and speak words of faith: that one day all the earth will recognize the glory of our Heavenly Father, and acknowledge the hard-won salvation by His Son, Jesus.

We may wonder, but it is possible. All we need to do is let go.

Let Go – insight on #FollowingGod from Terri Gillespie, @TerriGMavens on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

About the author: Award-winning author and beloved speaker, Terri Gillespie writes stories of faith and redemption to nurture souls. Her novels, devotionals, and blogs have drawn readers to hunger for a deeper relationship with their Heavenly Father, and His Son Jesus.

Making Eye Contact with God is a women’s devotional that will enable you to really see God in a new and fresh way. Using real life anecdotes, combined with Scripture, author Terri Gillespie reveals God’s heart for women everywhere, as she softly speaks of the ways in which women see Him.

Join the conversation: Do you need to let go?


by Tammy Whitehurst @TammyWhitehurst

 The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.                                                                           Psalm 34:18 NIV 

Everything was going fine, then it suddenly feels as if we’ve stepped in front of an oncoming train or just walked face forward into a brick wall. We never saw it coming. It stopped us cold in our tracks.

LIFE: a hit of some kind to the home and heart. Most of us have felt deserted either emotionally or spiritually at some point. The pain can either derail us or propel us into the arms of Jesus.

A few years ago, I found myself in a dance with depression. Without Scripture guiding me out of the dark and back into the light, I would still be in the pit. Even as I clawed myself up and out, I knew Jesus had me in the palm of His hand.

During those dark days, I always believed the dark cloud would one day give way to sunshine. It is true when God tells us weeping may last for the night, but joy comes in the morning (Psalm 30:1-5).

The key is to keep digging through the darkness until it bleeds light. It will….. because God says it will.

As Christians, we keep moving forward even if we have to drag ourselves. Even if we must claw our way into the next day….. and the next. God sees, hears, and cares. Because of that we have hope. God is good even when life is bad.

I can’t answer why we must walk through a crisis or how long we have to stay.

I can’t tell you when it all will change.


I CAN tell you where our help comes from. His name is Jesus and He won’t bend nor will he break. Even when our future is uncertain, he walks ahead of us to show the way.

When fear is overwhelming and questions have no answers, rely on the peace that surpasses all understanding. He is strong enough to rescue, to save….expect the unexpected when it comes to unleashing and bombarding Heaven with our prayers.

When it comes to life, the older we get the more we realize that “sometimes” is a real word that requires real faith.

Sometimes we get answers quickly.
Sometimes we don’t.
Sometimes people are healed.
Sometimes they aren’t.
Sometimes marriages last 50 plus years.
Sometimes not.
Sometimes relationships are mended and forgiveness comes full circle.
Sometimes it doesn’t.
Sometimes people realize true peace is found when we cross the line in the sand and step out on faith.
Sometimes the line is never crossed.

But even in uncertainty, as believers we can stand with our heads held high. When we keep our eyes on Jesus, we can march forward, not backward, eventually regaining the hope we might have lost.

Rough waters make smooth stones. Smooth stones bring down giants. Armor up. It’s time to report for duty!

LIFE – insight and encouragement from @TammyWhitehurst on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

tammy whitehurstAbout the author: Tammy was a middle school teacher before graduating from New Orleans Theological Seminary in 2010. Now speaking full-time, she has been interviewed on radio stations including Moody Christian Broadcasting and has authored three devotionals. She is also the co-director of Christian Communicators Conference, training speakers across the country. She has been described as a hoot with a capital “H” and she struggles like the rest of us with dust, dishes, cellulite, junk drawers, and wrinkles. Find out more about her at

Join the conversation: When is the last time life knocked you off the tracks? What gave you hope?

To the Mother of the Would-Be Graduate

by Patti Richter

Out for a morning walk last week, I stopped to greet a neighbor from a safe, COVID-19-inspired distance. When I inquired about her well-being during these trying days, she burst into tears. Her daughter, she explained, is a high-school senior—was a high-school senior. Everything is upended in their world. And a graduation celebration is nowhere to be seen in the blurry picture.

Though it’s been ten years since my youngest child’s graduation, I totally understood. These commencement ceremonies mark a new beginning for our children, and they may further serve as an invisible book-end to Volume I of motherhood. The parenting journey that began with a stack of diapers and swaddling blankets reaches a pinnacle at the toss of a tassel.

When my son donned a satin robe and mortarboard to receive his college diploma, he thought it was no big deal, just a necessary bit of pageantry. I, however, considered it monumental, a milestone for both of us. I wanted to see his tassel swing with each of his long-legged strides across the stage. And I’d begun celebrating weeks ahead of the event while I addressed linen envelopes. Before sliding the announcements inside them, I rubbed my index finger across the gold-embellished emblem atop each one.

Motherhood usually begins with celebration, as it should. Friends and family come together to shower the mother-to-be with things she will need—about a dozen pages of store registry items these days. But when the baby arrives, the new mother may soon realize the astounding array of items filling the nursery has given her a false sense of confidence. The room is equipped, but is she?

Children have the power to turn their parents into desperate creatures. At first, we’re sleep-deprived. Then we move from that phase to a long succession of others, as if jumping from one stone to the next across an incredibly wide creek. But desperation drives prayer, which means that raising children may compel us to pray more earnestly and more often.

Mothers are well-acquainted with fear and trembling brought on by children and their circumstances, whether real or imagined. Seeking God in prayer will keep our hearts from fainting over any offspring-induced distress. And reading His Word relieves our fears and anxieties as we ingest His wisdom and promises.

The last chapter of Proverbs includes a long passage praising the qualities of a godly woman. It further suggests the attire she needs to run well in this long-distance marathon of motherhood: “strength and dignity,” which help her to “laugh at the days to come” (Proverbs 31:25 NIV).

In the future, if not now, “Her children arise and call her blessed” (Prverbs 31:28 NIV). However, it’s the next verse that likely holds the key to her success: “A woman who fears the Lord is to be praised” (Proverbs 31:30 NIV).

For the mother with a heavy heart over postponed or canceled plans that would have celebrated your child’s milestone (graduations, weddings, etc.), may you experience God’s comfort in your loss. Psalm 94:19 NIV says, “When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul.”

Meanwhile, please remember the closing verse of Proverbs, which may indeed include another kind of graduation ceremony:

Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.                                                                                                                                     Proverbs 31:31 NIV  

To the Mother of the Would-Be Graduate – Patti Richter on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Patti Richter headshot 2017-1nAbout the author: Patti Richter lives in north Georgia with her husband, Jim. She writes and edits global mission stories for The Gospel Coalition and her faith essays appears at

Patti is the co-author of Signs of His Presence—Experiencing God’s Comfort in Times of SufferingIt is the story of Luann Mire, whose godly husband was blindsided by an indictment due to a former employer’s tax fraud. The resulting prison sentence and restitution took the once joyful couple into a long season of suffering as they fought judicial tyranny. Helpless to change her situation, Luann endured a painful examination of her life and found God faithful to His promises.

Join the conversation: Have important milestone events been canceled in your family this spring? How are you managing the loss?

Are You Overlooking Your Best Gifts?

by Debbie Wilson @DebbieWWilson

One summer, our four-year-old son drove a friend’s battery-powered three-wheeler. Watching Brant’s joy planted an idea. This would make the perfect Christmas gift.

My husband and I located a red one that December on sale. We stretched our seminary student budget and bought it. I smiled every time I imagined Brant’s surprise on Christmas morning.

Christmas Eve we set the gleaming three-wheeler beside the tree. I went to bed anticipating the excitement of the next morning.

But Brant didn’t like his gift. It wasn’t blue—like the one he’d ridden that summer. “But red’s your favorite color,” I reminded him. Didn’t matter, Brant wanted blue.

That year, his friends and sister scooted around on the three-wheeler. But Brant. Wouldn’t. Even. Touch. It.

The next summer we visited my friends again and Brant anticipated riding the blue three-wheeler. He was surprised at how much smaller and more worn it was than his three-wheeler. His attitude toward his vehicle changed. But by this time, because of Brant’s lack of interest and our coming move, Larry had already promised it to a man for his grandchildren.

Our good gift to our son never benefited him, because he rejected it.

I wonder how many times I’ve repeated my son’s story. I missed the joy of a good gift because it didn’t look like what I imagined or wasn’t the color of a friend’s. Worse, how many times have I’ve questioned my Father’s wisdom and love?

When God’s gifts don’t look like we imagined, we feel disappointed or rejected. We can’t imagine that His gift is better than what we asked for.

One year, I had a roommate who didn’t get anything I said. I felt frustrated trying to connect with her. One night in my journal I came across a prayer I’d written earlier to become a better communicator. I laughed to myself. God was answering my prayer, just not in the way I’d imagined. While I’d pictured an easy exchange of ideas, He was teaching me how to listen and express myself in ways that didn’t come naturally.

Do you have prayers that seem to be unanswered? Could you have overlooked the answer because it came wrapped in a blue bow when you expected pink?

It’s not too late to change our attitudes and enjoy God’s good gifts.

  • List the “gifts” you wish were different. Include experiences, personality traits, and people in your life. God already knows your thoughts, so be honest.
  • Ask Him to open your eyes to see them from His perspective.
  • Go down your list and, by faith, thank Him for His promise to work even the bad things together for your good and for the good of all who love Him (Rom. 8:28).

When our four-year old dismissed his Christmas gift, he wasn’t the only one who missed out. Our family missed the joy of him enjoying his gift. Remembering God gives good gifts helps us look for the good. The treasure may be hidden, but we know it is there.

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights.  James 1:17 NIV

Are You Overlooking Your Best Gifts? – insight from @DebbieWWilson on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

debbie wilsonAbout 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, is to be released February 2020. She 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: Has there been a time when you failed to recognize what God gave you as a desirable gift?