Shop the fall collection ➔

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

Joshua 1:9 

            As much as I love the colors of fall, the smell of harvest in the air, and the crunch of the leaves beneath my feet, October is not one of my favorite months. I despise the 31 days of horror on television. I cringe when I see the flyers advertising haunted houses, posted on store windows. And I am sickened by the gory costumes that department stores sell, especially for children.

            I believe that there is already more than enough ‘scary’ in this world. You don’t have to watch the evening news for very long before you see evidence that this is true. Even places that I once considered to be secure, like churches, schools and homes, have somehow become the setting for sinister acts in certain areas of our country.

           This past month, I was asked to practice a lockdown drill in my elementary classroom. I have always believed in telling my students the truth, so I explained to them that if there were ever a bad person that was trying to get into our school building, our building would be ‘locked down’. I explained that it would be safest for us to take a position of hiding, to make the person think that our classroom was empty. We talked about my responsibilities as a teacher and their responsibilities as students. Mine would be to lock the door, shut the shades, and turn off the lights. Theirs would be to sit quietly in their assigned places. We talked about this at length, and the next day, when we heard the drill message announced, we practiced it. It went well; as well as a drill for a lockdown can go, I suppose. And then, when the lights were on again and the children were back in their seats, I asked my 6-year-old students if they had any questions.

            “Why weren’t you hiding?” one of them asked.

            I had been crouched by the door. I was low enough not to be seen through the window, but in position to meet the intruder first, if he or she got through the door. At that moment, I wondered if honesty was still going to be my best choice. I decided to give them the truth, but to put it as simply and as ‘matter of fact’ as I could.

            “I would be next to the door, so that I could be your protection. If the bad person somehow got inside of our room, I would stand between you and that person.”

            As a thousand horrible images went through my head, my students and I awkwardly made the transition from lockdown drill back to school and learning mode. As they worked on their afternoon assignments, I looked at each innocent face and prayed to God that if the unthinkable happened I would have the courage to stand between these children and evil.

            About a week after I had practiced the lockdown drill with my students, a frightening incident happened at my home. After supper, my husband noticed a car, with out of state plates, parked across from our house. There was a lady inside. An hour later, the car was still there. It was starting to get dark, so my husband decided to walk over to the car and see if the woman needed help. She explained that she and her boyfriend had had a fight, and he left her there in the car. She said that she was certain he would return and didn’t need anything from us. My husband came back to the house, and then, as a precaution, locked all of the doors and the garage, something we rarely do in our safe little community of 700 people. An hour later we shut off the lights and headed upstairs to bed.

            My daughter heard the knocking first. I heard it the second time. I sat up in bed and looked at the alarm clock. It was 2:30 in the morning. When I heard my daughter’s door open, I jumped out of bed. We met in the hallway. She was terrified. My husband, who hadn’t heard the knocking, had heard our voices. He went downstairs to see who was at the door, while I walked my daughter back into her bedroom. I told her to stay there and to shut her door when I left. I walked back into the hallway and my husband yelled up the stairs to call the police. The lady from the car outside was standing on our front porch trying to talk to my husband through the locked front door, but there was no sign of her boyfriend. Maybe he was hiding behind the shrubs, or maybe he was standing just out of sight, waiting for my husband to open the door. But the door stayed closed.

            The remainder of the night was not very restful. My husband dozed downstairs on the sofa as he waited for the police, and my daughter slept in my room. The car was gone the next morning, and with its absence came the slightest feeling of security.

            The Halloween season will soon be over, but unfortunately the ‘scary’ that has become such a part of this world seems to be here to stay. It breaks my heart to think that my 6-year-old students need to know the definition of a lockdown, and that my 16-year-old daughter probably won’t ever feel completely safe in her own home. It embarrasses me to think that the same teacher that boasted to her class that she would protect them from the bad person then refused to help the woman that came to her door.

            When I find myself facing situations like the ones I just described, there is something that brings a sense of solace to me. It’s not a trick or treat bag full of candy. It’s my belief in God. His Word states very clearly that there will be times of trouble and pain in my life, but He promises to never leave my side. There are countless verses in the Bible that remind me to let my faith in Him be stronger than my fears in this world. God will hold me, not only through October, but also through the whole year, and the next one, and the next one, and the next. He will never leave me. And in those times when I am not sure who is at the door, God will be there when I open it.

Kari Wells

Kari Wells is a small-town Nebraskan and wouldn’t have it any other way! She is a wife and the mother of two fabulous children. Kari has been a first grade teacher for 20 years and feels blessed to have had her summers free to take ‘One Tank Trips’ and little adventures, especially when her children were young. She is an avid baseball fan and roots for the Cubs, White Sox, Royals, Astros and Rangers. Besides her family and baseball, her loves include stargazing, traveling, cake decorating, and reading.

The Best Marriage Advice We Ever Got: Touch Feet Every Night

In: Faith, Marriage
Couple touching feet in bed

Twenty-six years ago this summer, I got a tiny piece of advice on my wedding day that has kept me from making a huge mistake time and time again. A wise woman told me, “When you climb in bed each night with your husband, make sure that your feet touch under the covers. It’s hard to be mad at someone and touch feet.”  I had no idea, all those years ago, how impactful this piece of advice would be and how many times in our marriage this would be the small act that kept us united. This simple act of...

Keep Reading

Faith is a Verb, So We Go to Church

In: Faith, Motherhood
Woman and teen daughter in church pew

Every Sunday morning we rush out the door bribing, coaxing, and threatening our kids to just “Get into the van!” Luckily, we live remotely rural so we don’t have neighbors to witness our often un-Christlike eye rolls and harsh sighs as we buckle each other up. We’ve always lived within a five-minute drive to a chapel, and yet we are usually there not two minutes before the service starts. Once sitting in our seats, we’re on high alert for noise control and sibling altercations for the next hour of what is supposed to be a peaceful, sacred, spirit-filled service. Which...

Keep Reading

3 Simple Ways to Be a More Confident Mother

In: Faith, Motherhood
Mother and young child smiling outside

Do you ever ask yourself why you can’t be more like that mom or why can’t your kids be like those kids? The comparison trap is an easy one to fall into if we aren’t careful. At the click of our fingers, we see Pinterest-worthy motherhood in every category. From the mom with the black-belt kids to the mom with Marie Kondo organizing skills—it’s easy to look at their lives and feel like we’ve fallen short. Even worse, is when we start to strive to become something we aren’t or prod our kids to become something they aren’t.  Comparison makes...

Keep Reading

Grief Is Persistent But God Is Faithful

In: Faith, Grief, Loss
Woman praying by ocean

The loss of a parent doesn’t just sting, it leaves you with an irreplaceable hole in your heart. It’s been two years since my loving daddy went home to be with Jesus, and the loss I feel is still unimaginable.  I know in my heart he’s in a better place that is absent of pain and distress. However, his physical presence and wisdom are so dearly missed here on this earth.  He left behind an army of a family who adored him and looked to him for solid guidance. No matter how hard I try to look to the bright...

Keep Reading

I Gave up on God but He Never Gave up on Me

In: Faith, Motherhood
Mother hugging son, color photo

I grew up in a religious house. We went to church every Sunday. My mom taught Sunday school, and we participated as a family in most church events. We believed in the power of prayer, hope, faith, love, and forgiveness. As a little girl, I watched my dad kneel at the side of the bed every night and say his prayers. In the last six years, my faith has not been what it should have been. It has plummeted into the depths of nothingness, buried deep below the darkness. I have felt angry and abandoned by God. In response, I...

Keep Reading

I Count My Blessings Every Day

In: Faith
Mom and child by beach

I remember being jealous of my classmates often. I would look at the girls at my school who seemed to be living such a carefree life. They would do well in school effortlessly and go home to their moms, dads, and siblings, to a house they’d grown up in. I wanted that so much for myself! I wanted my mom and dad to be together, and if it wasn’t too much to ask, a sibling or two. I wanted us to live in a house where I could have my own room, but I wouldn’t mind sharing if I had...

Keep Reading

Dear Lord, Make Me a Grace Hunter

In: Faith
Woman with crutches looking out window, black-and-white photo

I want to be known as a grace hunter. Every day, I pray I would be given eyes to see the world in which we live through a lens of grace—a lens that causes me to marvel at the ways of my God and be constantly filled with wonder. I am thankful I have no choice but to live life at a slower pace. I pray for the ability to see the beauty and God’s grace in the seemingly small and insignificant things. RELATED: In the Midst of Grief, There is Grace I pray for eyes to see His grace even...

Keep Reading

Dear Daughter, Follow Your Beautiful Heart

In: Faith, Kids
Mother and daughter smiling

When I held you in my arms for the first time, it was like time stopped. As you looked up at me with innocence and new life, I was struck by the reality that my main role in your life would be to guide and direct you on the right path. I hoped I would do the best job possible. As I watched you grow, I basked in your joy of putting on your pretty dresses, adorned with layers of costume jewelry, parading around the house for your father and me to see. I dreamed often of what path you...

Keep Reading

So God Made Midnight

In: Faith, Motherhood
Mother and newborn

When God created a mother, He created her to love and serve in every moment. He knew the constant need would sometimes overwhelm her and she would have no choice but to rely on His strength and grace. He knew she would feel like there weren’t enough hours in the day . . . so God made midnight. He knew a mama’s days with a newborn would be busy and sometimes chaotic. He knew she would be distracted by meeting needs and attempting to find balance—that sneaking in a hot shower would become almost a luxury . . . so...

Keep Reading

Lord, I Don’t Want To Face This Storm

In: Faith
Rain cloud over a lake, color photo

“I feel like I’m right in the middle of that rain shaft, suspended over the ocean,” I told my husband as we waited out a Florida afternoon rain on our hotel balcony. “There’s light and beauty all around me, but I feel like I’m just lost in that storm.”  Just two nights before, we awoke to the cries of our 11-year-old son, the pain in his right lower abdomen so great that he woke up from a deep sleep. Our vacation took a solemn turn as my husband loaded him up in our rental car and drove to a children’s...

Keep Reading