Our Keepsake Journal is Here! 🎉

Last time I wrote about days that come along and blind like a sandstorm. Sometimes they blow out almost as soon as they come. Other times, the sandstorm rages hard and throws you flat on your face in the desert, feeling very much alone. This week I have had conversations with women who are experiencing a great bleakness in their spirit. Their stories bring tears to my eyes.

One confided in me she has been very angry with God for years but was beginning to feel his hand at work in her life and she just wanted to talk about it. I first assured her that God can take it and that I know he is really happy to see the door begin to open a crack because just like we relish time with our children, God longs to spend time with us.

So often we feel so completely alone, at least at first when the words hit our heart like a sledge hammer, the tears come hot and we are wracked with sobs. “I’m sorry; we did all we could to save her but…”, “your son has been in an accident”, “I want a divorce.”

This despair of soul is so universal, so frequently felt, that after seeing it so common we might not feel as if our own situation is uniquely difficult. The difference of course is that this time the situation is our own personal heart break. We hurt to the marrow of our bones with the feeling of being singled out and stricken.

When I am at a loss for words, I am so grateful for a wise voice that comes along to fill the gap in my own wisdom. Did I say gap? I think I meant chasm. I am so thankful for the words of those who have suffered and triumphed and grateful that the messages seem to miraculously appear when I am struck dumb for comforting words of my own.

This very week, in my email feed it arrived. “One Secret Weapon Everyone Needs for Every Battle.” It was written by Margaret Feinberg, a guest blogger on Ann Voskamp’s site. Her most recent book is entitled Fight Back with Joy.  In describing her harrowing year-long battle with cancer she refers to the way Jesus went directly from being dipped in the refreshing water of his baptism to spending 40 days in the desert where Satan was tempting him and he was with the wild beasts and “the angels were ministering to him”,  Mark 1:11. She writes, “There, amidst the harsh dehydration, God’s presence remains.”

Margaret suggests that whether we are currently in lush land or lonely desert, God awaits, ready to minister to us in surprising ways. Often, it is through these harrowing stretches of our life we find true joy in the suffering but none of us ever willingly signs up for the lesson. Ever. 

It is easy to feel joy in life when things are going well. When we trust that God is at work and sending his angels to watch over us through the hardest of days, we find a deeper joy, a joy that always triumphs over our suffering. In John 16:33 we find his promise. “Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”

 

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available now!

Order Now

Check out our new Keepsake Companion Journal that pairs with our So God Made a Mother book!

Order Now
So God Made a Mother's Story Keepsake Journal

Betty Streff

Betty Streff began her career as a customer service representative for a large corporation in Omaha. Four years later she found herself to be a farm wife in a small rural community with limited opportunities for women. After a humbling self assessment, she listed her assets as talents for sketching, sewing, and the natural ability to strike up conversations with complete strangers. Using these and her optimistic nature, she began stitching up some bibs and pillows for a craft show, who wouldn't? Over the next 25 years she became a serial entrepreneur obsessed with studying faith, spirituality, leadership, motivation, and management as she developed her businesses. Betty has spent the last few years working in corporate America in the hospitality and manufacturing world and she continues to immerse herself in the study of what makes people tick. The explosive growth in the relatively recent science of positive psychology fascinates her. Betty devours everything she can find on the subject and is especially intrigued with people who thrive no matter the circumstances and in discovering ways that happiness and optimism can be learned. She is currently exploring ways of sharing and cultivating the exciting possibilities with both individuals and businesses. She and her husband Steve have been married 45 years and are blessed with 2 incredible daughters, 2 fantastic sons-in-law and 6 amazing grandchildren.

Can I Still Trust Jesus after Losing My Child?

In: Faith, Grief, Loss
Sad woman with hands on face

Everyone knows there is a time to be born and a time to die. We expect both of those unavoidable events in our lives, but we don’t expect them to come just 1342 days apart. For my baby daughter, cancer decided that the number of her days would be so many fewer than the hopeful expectation my heart held as her mama. I had dreams that began the moment the two pink lines faintly appeared on the early morning pregnancy test. I had hopes that grew with every sneak peek provided during my many routine ultrasounds. I had formed a...

Keep Reading

5 Kids in the Bible Who Will Inspire Yours

In: Faith, Kids
Little girl reading from Bible

Gathering my kids for morning Bible study has become our family’s cornerstone, a time not just for spiritual growth but for real, hearty conversations about life, courage, and making a difference. It’s not perfect, but it’s ours. My oldest, who’s 11, is at that age where he’s just beginning to understand the weight of his actions and decisions. He’s eager, yet unsure, about his ability to influence his world. It’s a big deal for him, and frankly, for me too. I want him to know, deeply know, that his choices matter, that he can be a force for good, just...

Keep Reading

Mad Martha, Mary, Mom, and Me

In: Faith, Living
Woman wrapped in a blanket standing by water

As a brand-new, born-again, un-churched Christian fresh in my new faith with zero knowledge of the Bible, I am steaming, hissing mad when I first read these words from Luke 10:38-42: “Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, ‘Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell...

Keep Reading

I Can’t Pray away My Anxiety But I Can Trust God to Hold Me through It

In: Faith, Living
Woman with flowers in field

I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t afraid. I was scared of people, of speaking, and even of being looked at. As I got older, I worried about everything. I was aware of the physical impact that stress and worry have on our bodies and our mental health, but I couldn’t break the cycle. I declined invitations and stuck with what I knew. Then we had a child who knew no fear. The person I needed to protect and nurture was vulnerable. There was danger in everything. It got worse. He grew older and more independent. He became a...

Keep Reading

Your Kids Don’t Need More Things, They Need More You

In: Faith, Kids, Motherhood
Mother and young girl smiling together at home

He reached for my hand and then looked up. His sweet smile and lingering gaze flooded my weary heart with much-needed peace. “Thank you for taking me to the library, Mommy! It’s like we’re on a date! I like it when it’s just the two of us.” We entered the library, hand in hand, and headed toward the LEGO table. As I began gathering books nearby, I was surprised to feel my son’s arms around me. He gave me a quick squeeze and a kiss with an “I love you, Mommy” before returning to his LEGO—three separate times. My typically...

Keep Reading

Mom, Will You Pray With Me?

In: Faith, Motherhood
Little girl praying, profile shot

“Will you pray with me?” This is a question I hear daily from my 9-year-old. Her worried heart at times grips her, making it difficult for her to fall asleep or nervous to try something new. Her first instinct is to pray with Mom. Perhaps this is because of how many times her Dad and I have told her that God is with her, that she is never alone, and that she can always come to Him in prayer and He will answer. Perhaps it is because she has seen her Dad and I lean on the Lord in times...

Keep Reading

My Aunt Is the Woman I Want to Become

In: Faith, Living
Woman with older woman smiling

It’s something she may not hear enough, but my aunt is truly amazing. Anyone who knows her recognizes her as one-of-a-kind in the best way possible. It’s not just her playful jokes that bring a smile to my face, her soul is genuinely the sweetest I know. I hope she knows that I see her, appreciate her, and acknowledge all the effort she puts in every day, wholeheartedly giving of herself to everyone around her. When I look back on my childhood, I see my aunt as a really important part of it. We have shared so much time together,...

Keep Reading

A Big Family Can Mean Big Feelings

In: Faith, Kids, Motherhood
Family with many kids holding hands on beach

I’m a mother of six. Some are biological, and some are adopted. I homeschool most of them. I’m a “trauma momma” with my own mental health struggles. My husband and I together are raising children who have their own mental illnesses and special needs. Not all of them, but many of them. I battle thoughts of anxiety and OCD daily. I exercise, eat decently, take meds and supplements, yet I still have to go to battle. The new year has started slow and steady. Our younger kids who are going to public school are doing great in their classes and...

Keep Reading

Motherhood Never Stops, and Neither Does My God

In: Faith, Motherhood
Daughter kisses mother on cheek

I’m standing in the shower rinsing the conditioner out of my hair with a toddler babbling at my feet, running through this week’s dinner menu in my head. “Hmm, this meal would be better suited for this day, so what should we do instead?” or “Maybe we should save that for next week since it’s easy and we will be busy with baseball starting back up. I can work something in that may take more effort in its place.” Being a wife and mother, running a household, it’s about the small moments like this. There’s something about it that is...

Keep Reading

So God Made a Sunday School Teacher

In: Faith, Living
Woman sitting at table surrounded by kids in Sunday school class, color photo

God looked around at all He had created, and He knew He would need someone to teach His children. So God made a Sunday school teacher. God knew He needed someone with a heart and desire to teach children God’s word. God knew the children would act up and made Sunday school teachers with patience and grace to guide them when they step out of line in class. He also made Sunday school teachers with a touch of discretion to know when the stories of a child may be real or imagined. God knew this person would need to be...

Keep Reading