"She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future. When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness. She carefully watches everything in her household and suffers nothing from laziness. Her children stand and bless her. Her husband praises her: 'There are many virtuous and capable women in the world, but you surpass them all!'" - Proverbs 31:25-31
In the midst of the seemingly non-stop news cycle of data and concern over COVID-19, I want to step back and reflect on the qualities of a godly woman, particularly a mother very dear to my heart.
When I was growing up, my mother often shared the wisdom that was passed down to her from her own mother, and her grandmothers before her...to me, and to my sister, Barbara. These devout women are an integral part of my spiritual heritage, just as each of us who are mothers and grandmothers strive to be for our own families. They were Christ-followers, indeed. Not perfect by any means, but their focus was the Lord Jesus, and their purpose in life was leading the lost to the "saving grace."
My mother happily shared many things with my sister and me: Her family recipes (I still have the original wooden recipe box her mother gave her—a treasure, indeed!), her love of the old hymns of the church (I have one of her family's hymnals on my grand piano), and her love of nature, particularly flowers, which she and Daddy grew in their large flower gardens. My mother also introduced me to the joy of reading, opening up a whole new world of information and stories that stirred up my own creativity at a young age.
But the greatest things my mother shared were spiritual ones. Intangible, yet mighty, like the gift of discernment and the incredible power of prayer. And the wisdom of hard work and putting others first before oneself. ("Jesus, others, and you...what a wonderful way to spell joy," as the old lyrics go). And the characteristics of respect, responsibility, and trustworthiness, too.
So, today and always, I am thankful for a mother who loved God and her family, above all else—my dear and gracious mother, Jane, gone to be with the Lord fourteen years ago this summer. I miss her, yes, but her legacy lingers on, influencing her daughters, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and everyone who knew her.
Happy Mother's Day to all of you who are mothers—biological and adoptive. And to those whose hearts ache every, single day to cradle your child in your arms, I was once in that very place, yearning, waiting, and praying earnestly, until my grieving heart was at long last blessed by the amazing gift of adoption. At this moment, I'm asking our Lord Jesus to surround you with His tender love and comfort, and grant you the miracle you so desire, in His way and time.
With blessings and love,
At this writing, I have completed the final review of my September 2020 novel, The Stone Wall, already deep into the writing of my Fall 2021 novel, The Beginning, a stand-alone set in beloved Hickory Hollow, PA.
Also, my Amish Cheer cards are bringing, yes, cheer, and encouragement to many, and we've shipped to 20 states, so far. These Amish-related cards are winging their way to moms and grandmothers for Mother's Day, May 10—a wunnerbaar-gut gift idea! See more about them at amishcheer.com.
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God." - 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
I'm thinking of you today, dear friend, wondering if you might need a big dose of comfort.
Is this quarantine making you nervous, stir-crazy, or just plain fearful? Have you received startling news of a layoff or, worse, the end of your longtime career? Do you wonder if this will ever stop?
If you find yourself taking deep breaths after watching the news or hearing the latest update on COVID-19, then, like me, you're ready to pull the plug and occupy your mind with something else. Something uplifting; something that brings you much needed peace.
We know without a doubt that our heavenly Father Himself is our main source of joy, and the salvation and grace He offers are, as well. That's a given. Hundreds of God's promises are another source of comfort and hope in these crazy, troubled times.
Yes, we acknowledge these things in our heads, don't we? But do we turn to Him with our hearts in our desperation, or do we try to figure things out on our own?
During this season of dire hardship for so many, let's not forget Whose arms are open wide to us. He is absolutely our adoring, caring and comforting heavenly Father. And never will He turn His back on us, even in the darkest hours when news of dreaded illness, terminations of employment, or loss of family members and friends shatter our emotions. Our life in Christ brings true joy, despite great sadness and sudden disappointment. He alone is our comfort today and every day...for always.
Repeat His name softly when you're most frightened in the wee hours of night, ask Him to surround you with divine peace each and every morning. He is there with you, walking this painful path, carrying us in some cases.
Remember that the Lord who exploded out of the tomb—Victor over death, hell and the grave—is also the tender Shepherd of our souls. As never before, let's embrace the joy of His resurrection together, and in it find comfort.
He is risen, indeed!
I've completed the pre-galleys for The Stone Wall, coming September 8, while also writing the first draft of my Fall 2021 novel.
My Amish Cheer cards are still shipping, and now is a good time to stock up on these very special cards I've created with my artist-sister, Barbara. So many people in your life, and circle of friends, are hurting, so a unique card like this will surely bring cheer and delight. See more here: amishcheer.com.
Remember: blessing others brings joy to our own hearts!
"I will be your God throughout your lifetime—until your hair is white with age. I made you, and I will care for you. I will carry you along and save you." - Isaiah 64:4
It’s far too easy to fall into the worry trap, isn’t it? We get so caught up in family concerns, health issues, political frustration, and more. But we know in our hearts, and from past experience, that it is our sovereign Lord who can always be counted on to carry us through the difficult, even challenging, times of our lives. Our trust and dependence upon Him is essential. And through it all, we learn to understand the plights and sufferings of others, as well, becoming a willing channel for blessing, which is why we’re here…to make a difference!
Wishing you an inspiring month ahead,
I’m awaiting the arrival of pre-galleys for my September novel, The Stone Wall, while writing the first draft of my Fall 2021 book…and while launching my “Amish Cheer” line of creative, 3-D cards with my artist sister, Barbara. These cards are connected to my Amish novels and research, and were created specifically to be a blessing to the giver and to the recipient! You can take a look at all of the cards at amishcheer.com!
"The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: 'I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.'" – Jeremiah 31:3
Ah, to be chosen and loved unconditionally—to be forever loved!
Our heavenly Father woos us, the Great Lover. He alone offers the kind of love we yearn for...the love we were created to receive and embrace.
This month, the so-called month of love, let us remember and open our hearts to this most amazing love-gift, each day as we rise, never forgetting that He is with us, our very breath. Then, in return, let’s give our hearts unreservedly to God in constant adoration and amazement. And gratitude.
Writing Update: I have completed my revisions for The Stone Wall, releasing September 8, 2020 and am currently creating the synopsis for my novel set in Hickory Hollow for Fall 2021.