(Sex) Life More Abundantly (After Rape)

By Jerri KelleyJerri_3

It was a family member the first time. I was little, too little to be seen as sexually attractive by a man, but sometimes men see sick fantasy and not reality. At 16 I was assaulted by someone I knew and raped on a date when I was 17.

By the time I was 18, the nightmares and anxiety had taken their toll. I felt broken beyond repair and suicide seemed like a reasonable option. In fact, twice it seemed like the only option.

When I was 19, I sought counseling. I told my story, talked about this person I had become, and wondered aloud if I would ever be the person I wanted to be. The counselor’s words slammed into me like a freight train. “You’ll never like sex. You’ll have nightmares off and on your whole life. You’ll never enjoy a man touching you, but with years of therapy, you should be able to have a functional sex life that allows you to be married without resenting your husband.”

I stared at the woman who had just pronounced what felt to me like a death sentence, and I said flatly, “If that is the best you have to offer, I don’t need you. I’ve got that already.” I stood, turned to the door, and walked out.

Then I went home, crawled in bed, and didn’t move. Dead people don’t move, and that is how I felt—dead.

I’ve talked to a lot of women who know exactly what I mean. They understand the nightmares and the flashbacks and the showers that never wash away the feeling of being filthy. Maybe you know exactly what I mean as well. Maybe you feel dead, too. If so, please hear me. There is still life.

After I recovered from the shock of that meeting, I wandered in a daze for a while. I was in a relationship that looked like it was getting serious, and I was considering ending it because I couldn’t imagine a man wanting to be in a relationship with someone as broken as me.

When people talk about sexual crimes, they often talk about the innocence that is stolen. So much more is stolen than that. My hopes of a happy marriage had been stolen. My value had been stolen. This huge part of me had been stolen. It wasn’t just my innocence. It was part of me.

One morning I was reading in Isaiah, and the words jumped at me as though on a billboard.

“And He will be calledDollarphotoclub_47901674

Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,

Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6).”

I had been raised in church, and I had never heard of Jesus as a counselor, so I had no idea how He would make this work, but there it was in black and white. I needed a counselor, and I needed peace, so I did all I knew to do. I prayed a real prayer.

I knew from numerous Sunday School lessons that Jesus is a healer, and I threw everything into one prayer. I told Him I needed Him to be my counselor and help me work through everything. I needed Him to be my healer because He could heal things humans said were impossible, and I desperately needed peace.

Not long after that, I ran across John 10:10. Although I had read the Bible through several times, this time the verse grabbed me.

“The enemy comes to steal, kill, and destroy.

I have come that you might have life more abundantly.”

Suddenly, I was angry. The enemy had come to steal. He had stolen my innocence. He had stolen my self-confidence. He had stolen my sexuality. He had stolen a core part of me. He had tried to kill me personally with suicide, but he had also tried to kill my hopes of a happy marriage and a great sexual relationship with my husband. He tried to destroy the children God had planned for me by tearing down everything to get there. And I was angry.

In my mind, I marched right up to Jesus and held out my Bible and said, “Look! Look what he has done! But you came so I could have all of that, so I want it all back. I don’t know how you do that, but you can heal anything, you are stronger than anyone, you can restore anything, and I want everything back!”

I would love to tell you God waved some magic wand and everything was suddenly fine. It didn’t work that way, though. It took time. It took talking. It took facing some horrible fears and telling some nasty truth. Oddly, it took forgiving myself. How in the world victims of sexual crimes end up blaming ourselves is beyond me, but like everyone else I know, I did. I forgave myself for saying yes to the date, for not fighting back harder, for being too small to protect myself. I know. Sounds kind of crazy, doesn’t it? Yet, it is something a lot of us carry around—the shame that we couldn’t stop it. We don’t know how we could have, but somehow, we should have. There were triggers that had to be talked through, and sometimes I simply had to give myself permission to say, “I simply can’t do that.” At first, that bothered me because I had asked for the promised “life more abundantly,” but then one day I realized I don’t do rollercoasters either because I just hate the things, and that doesn’t lessen my abundant life. I don’t eat everything at a buffet, but I still go away satisfied and happy. Sex is the same way. I don’t have to do every possible thing to have a great experience…or to be a great lover.

Healing included learning to trust. I had to talk about things I was afraid to talk about because I had to trust my husband to value me in ways those men didn’t. Logically, I should be able to expect that, but logically, who molests a little girl?

The road to healing wasn’t always easy. Sometimes it was really hard. At times, opening those wounds so Jesus could heal them was excruciating. Sometimes it was terrifying, and sometimes I wondered if it would ever be over, if I would ever really be healed, but I just kept praying for the Wonderful Counselor to walk me through, to show me what I needed to face, and I asked the Prince of Peace to give me the peace and courage to face it, and I kept praying for life more abundantly.

That counselor I saw when I was 19 was wrong. It didn’t take a lifetime. A few years, yes, but a lifetime, no.

I love being touched. I love the intimacy of a man’s caress. I enjoy sex, and my sexual appetite is quite intact. I don’t see sex as something dirty or bad. I see it as a beautiful gift from God. Unfortunately, Satan tries to take that gift and destroy it, but Jesus’ ability to heal, counsel, and restore is greater than Satan’s ability to steal.

Four and a half years ago, my husband died, and the Lord has not chosen to bring another man into my life, but I believe one day I’ll marry again. I must confess. Getting married in my mid-40s is different than getting married in my early 20s. My body is different. My hormones are different, and after 19 years of marriage, I don’t know if I know how to be with anyone else. Sometimes, it feels really scary, and sometimes, it feels like it would be easier to stay single, but then, I think that is just Satan trying to steal another marriage and another amazing relationship, and between you and me, I get mad all over again, walk right up to Almighty God, and say again, “I want it all. I want everything YOU promised.”

I know if God can heal the wounds of molestation and rape, He can handle this. When I choose to remember that, when I allow myself to remember His faithfulness and remember this whole sex thing is totally His idea, then I’m not afraid anymore. Then, excitement at the thought of making love to someone I love deeply fills those hope places. The memories of intimacy feed the hope of being one with someone else again. And this part of me that seems to get lost in the day to day life of being a single mom begins to breathe again, and instead of hiding, I openly pray for the man God has picked out with whom I get to share the rest of this life more abundantly.

#stopviolenceagainstwomen, #violenceagainstwomen, #eliminateviolenceagainstwomen, #eliminationofviolenceagainstwomen, #internationaleliminateviolencegainstwomen, #friendshiphope&friedfruitpies

About Jerri KelleyJerri_3

Jerri Kelley is a single mom raising two amazing teenagers. She is a teacher, speaker, pastor, writer, and listener. For the last five years, she has been on this adventure of life with God as her amazing Husband. He is always faithful, and in Him is always hope.

To read more about Jerri’s life, please visit http://www.jerrikelley.com


Hope for Healing

I pray for inspiration each week as I consider writing a story of hope. Today’s post is about hope for healing. Terry’s son, Keith, needs a kidney. He is in the prime of his life and has a daughter in college.

I was shopping at Walmart, lost in thought, considering what it might be like if someone I loved needed an organ transplant, because selfishly, I was considering adding this as a plot twist to my current manuscript in progress. I greeted the cashier and asked, “How are you today?” She blurted, “I’m blessed. I had a kidney transplant.”

I stood with my mouth open and wondered if I had been mumbling aloud.  The cashier went on to explain that it was her second kidney transplant.  Her first organ had been from a cadaver and had lasted eighteen years, when it normally only lasts eight or nine years.  She shared that her daughter had given her the second kidney and what a miracle it was that she was a match because there are six major criteria they look for.  I just nodded my head as she kept talking.

I don’t know if I can write the story involving the need for an organ transplant, because I know that it involves suffering. Consider the waiting, the worry, the stress, but also there’s also hope in abundance thanks to people who mark the little box on their driver’s license to be an organ donor. Maybe God put me in that cashier’s line to write this blog post to bring an awareness of the need for organ donors.

In August, 2015, there were 122,706 people in America waiting for an organ transplant. Of these 101,250 needed a kidney and 15,090 needed a liver, according to the Organ Procurement and Transplant Network (OPTN). http://optn.transplant.hrsa.gov/converge/data.

I’m grateful the cashier offered her story because it gives me hope for Keith. God in his wisdom gave us two kidneys when we only need one. Also, I believe the day and time of our death has already been determined. My body may be worn out and useless when I stop breathing, or it could happen tomorrow. If so, then perhaps my kidney, liver, pancreas, and intestines might be someone’s hope for a healthy normal life.

In August 2015, 20,705 patients received a kidney. Of those organs donated, 16,760 were from a deceased person and 3,945 were from a living donor according to the OPTN statistics. Notice that 3,945 were living donors. I hope that you will  decide to be an organ donor. The next time you renew your driver’s license, mark the little box indicating that you will be an organ donor and inform your family. If an accident happens, you can be someone’s hope for a return to a healthy life.

Please lift up prayers for Keith and for those who love him. My prayer for Keith and his family comes from Romans 15:13. “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace, as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Be joyful in Hope, Patient in affliction, Faithful in prayer. Romans 12:12

But as for me, I will always have hope. Psalm 71:14

#Banorgandonor, #donateLife, #giftoflife, #organdonation, #transplant, #kidney, #havethechat

Gathered Fragments

By Harriet Michael

And when they had eaten their fill, he told his disciples, “Gather up the leftover fragments, that nothing may be lost.” John 6:12 (ESV)

I first noticed this verse in an old handwritten book my father has on his shelf.Dollarphotoclub_45800691 It was handed down to him by his mother who got it from her mother. It appears to be an old journal of some type. On the pages of the book are poems gathered and carefully written by its first owner. Some are famous poems while others are original work by family members. My grandmother and even my father have some original poems hand written by them in this treasured book. The book is titled, “Gathered Fragments” and this verse is written in beautiful penmanship on the first page.

These words in scripture were actually an instruction by Jesus to
his disciples after the miraculous feeding of five thousand 
people. The crowd which gathered to hear Jesus was hungry. It was
lunchtime and the people were without food. Most of them had 
gathered spontaneously without planning ahead even enough to have
brought lunches. Rather than going home, the disciples found a 
little boy with a small lunch of five loaves of bread and two 
small fish. After blessing the food, Jesus broke it into 
pieces, and offered it to the hungry crowd who consumed it 
eagerly. Then, when the crowd had eaten all they wanted, the 
disciples were told to “Gather up the fragments, that nothing be lost.”

Loaves of bread and two fishes in a basket.

Isn’t that a beautiful instruction? How do you gather fragments? Do you have a collection of some kind? Perhaps you collect rocks, coins, or stamps. Maybe you like to make scrapbooks?Grunge background with old photos and label

Do you keep old photos and relics from years gone by; polished and put in a place of honor in your home or give them away as special gifts? My father has a plaque hanging in his home of an old letter he wrote to his mother from camp when he was a child. His sister found the letter and made a very special birthday gift for him one year. Maybe you have carefully held onto family heirlooms so you can pass them to the next generation. Or perhaps, you gather fragments in other ways. Maybe you can produce for winter eating or maybe you gather and dry herbs, fruits, or vegetables.

There are so many ways to gather fragments. Through the years, I have learned another way. I have had more than one occasion to help gather the fragments of a loved one’s shattered life.Dollarphotoclub_74644289 Sometimes these lives were shattered at the person’s own hands, often by sin. Even so, I find myself drawn to the gathering role. While others are shattering through accusations, anger or gossip, my heart aches and longs to help the broken friend or family member to gather his or her life back together. I remember how God has gathered my broken life and put it back together so many times.

What or who needs gathering in your life? What or who is in danger of being lost? Perhaps the shattered, broken life or lives are not people you know. Maybe you learn from the news of others, even groups of people whose lives have been shattered and your heart longs to help in whatever way you can, even if it’s through donations–you are still helping to gather up the fragments, that nothing be lost.

Even when we do simple, seemingly fun things like keeping scrapbooks, or framing old family pictures, we are keeping the heritage of those who came before from being lost– we are gathering fragments. May we be aware of the things around us that need to be gathered. May we always remember Jesus’ instructions to “Gather up the fragments that nothing be lost.”

mosaic from church of the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes - Israel

When the disciples gathered the fragments in the Bible story, they had twelve baskets left over. Though this was a miraculous occurrence, the underlying principle is still valid. If you or I form fragment gathering habits, we will find abundance in our lives too. And so will others whom we bless with our fragments–carefully gathered and lovingly given.

#devotionals , #womendevotionals, #fiveloavesandtwofishes #gatheringfragments

About Harriet E. Michael
Christian Author and SpeakerHM photo shoot 2

Born in Nigeria, West Africa, as the daughter of missionaries, Harriet Michael is a writer, gardener, wife of over 35 years, mother of four, and grandmother of one.

She holds a BS in nursing from West Virginia University but has discovered her passion for writing. Since her first published article in 2010, she now has over a hundred and fifty published articles and devotions.

Harriet is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Louisville Christian Writers. Her book, “Prayer: It’s Not About You”, a finalist in the 2011 Women of Faith book contest, is set for release by Pix-N-Pens Publishing Company.

To buy the daily devotional she co-wrote with a childhood friend, click on the link below.51OYYRqPZVL._SX311_BO1,204,203,200_


Follow her on:
Website: www.harrietemichael.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/harrietmichaelauthor
Blog: www.whatHehasdoneformysoul.blogspot.com
e-mail: harrietemichael@gmail.com

Thriving After a Storm

My church split last year. We endured a storm on the same scale as hurricane Katrina and I wondered if our church could survive, much less thrive.Dollarphotoclub_87117466

On our last mission trip, our missionary leader explained there are people who make things happens, people who watch things happen, and people who wonder what happened.  I’ll confess, I watched in disbelief and still wonder what happened?

On the first Sunday after the split, I was unsure if anyone would be in the building. As with most congregations, we are creatures of habit and generally sit in the same area. I surveyed the storm damage, counted the empty seats, and mourned my missing Brothers and Sister in Christ. I still feel the heartache and miss worshiping and serving with them.Dollarphotoclub_68588557

I live in a small community, and I often run into my church family that left. We hug each other, catch up, but we are careful to avoid the mention of either congregation, and I am left with a lingering sadness. I question if my bruised heart is similar to what children suffer when their parents split.

Dollarphotoclub_90773430But God has taken our mess and turned it to His good because both congregations are growing. We are knocking on doors and reaching out to the 14,000 or more people in our community who are not attending church, and both groups are experiencing growth.

Last Friday night, our church hosted a fall festival. During the previous week, we distributed flyers throughout the community. Many church members are learning what a blessing it is to serve in new ways. People of all ages, race, and income levels are coming together to worship and enjoy fellowship.


Our children’s program on Wednesday night is growing in numbers. I assist a teacher who works with 4th and 5th graders. We started with eight in August and have grown to twenty-eight. Our most urgent need is an additional van to pick up children on Wednesday night. In the meantime, church members are stepping forward and using their personal vehicles to transport the children.fall_festival.

Both congregations are growing and I worry the enemy will attack again. Please keep both Churches in your prayers. Pray that we will love each other, as Jesus loves us. Pray that the pruning we endured, will sprout new growth and God will be glorified. Pray that both churches will thrive after the storm.


A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. John 13:34

And He answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” Luke 10:27

Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. John 15:2

And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep, 25 And they went and woke him saying, “Save us, Lord; we are perishing.” 26 And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. Matthew: 24-26

#Afterastorm #lettherebenodivision #loveyourneighbor #loveandforgive

News from Thorakland District, Kenya

The church without walls that meets near the ancient Baobab tree is thriving.baobab

Our friends and missionaries in Kenya have received an update from Pastor John in Tharaka!  The area is so remote, it is difficult to communicate. Sometimes they send notes by way of someone who is travelling that way and they simply don’t arrive.

All the medical patients we treated are doing well – they are improving and moving forward.  He also reported that they’ve had 11 adults and 12 children to join the new church since the team and the Associational Leadership is still working on follow up. Wanda_txt


Please continue to pray for them as the Association works to organize themselves to meet the needs of those in the area.  This is a new concept for them!  Pray for them to realize that they have the ability to do many things without a lot of outside help as this is what will continue to grow the work in the area long after we are gone.



The rainy season is approaching and the Tharaka Association has seen it necessary to put up a shelter under the tree in Gankamba so the church can continue to meet despite the rain (that they hope will come).  They are doing a fund-raiser for the whole Association on Nov. 1. Please pray for the church in Gankamba. Pray that God shows favor on each believer. Pray they will continue to be a bold witness and God will soften the heart of each person who hears the gospel and they will believe. Pray that this group of 45 will reach the 450,000 in the Thorakland District.

Thank you for your continued prayer support.

#friendshiphope&friedfruitpies #africanmissions #kenyamissions



Mrs. Ovaleta Gibbs’ Famous Fried Apple Pies

Mrs. Ovaleta Gibbs made fried apple pies for years to share with friends and to donate to various church and homemaker fundraisers in Allen County, Kentucky.  OvaletaIt thrilled me to learn that Janet Johnson, FCS Agent, Allen County  with the U.K.  Cooperative Extension Service recently taught a class on how to prepare Mrs. Ovaleta Gibbs’ famous fried apple pies.  Ms. Ovaleta did something that demonstrates her generous spirit. She shared the recipe of her renowned fried pies. Many homemakers still prepare this heirloom treat at festivals.






Thanks to her generosity, the famous pies can still be enjoyed today.

Mrs. Ovaleta  also taught school in the Allen County School System for 27 years, and substituted for 17 years.  Most of that time was spent working with first graders. It would be interesting to know how many lives she’s touched, and the number of  fried apple pies she served during her long life.  God knows the number of hairs on my head, so we can rest assured He knows the answer. Someday, when I get to heaven, I hope to have the opportunity to thank Mrs. Ovaleta for sharing her recipe. If you take the time to try this delicious recipe, you’re in store for a tasty delight.

Dried Apple Pie Filling (by Ovaleta Gibbs, 2003)


  •  2 c. dried apples (Golden Delicious)
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1.c. sugar
  • ½ tsp. nutmeg
  • ½ tsp. allspice
  • ½ tsp. cloves
  • 1 T. cider vinegar


Mix 2 cups dried apples with 4 cups water in saucepan. Cook apples for 35 minutes until all water is absorbed. Let cool. Mix all ingredients together and set aside.

Pastry Crust (by Ovaleta Gibbs, 2003)


  • 2 cups *White Lilly Self-Rising Flour (do not substitute flour)
  • ¼ cup CRISCO vegetable shortening
  • 2/3 – 3/4 cup milk (any fat content)


Measure flour in bowl.  Cut shortening in flour until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  With a fork, blend in just enough milk until dough leaves sides of bowl.  (Two much milk makes dough sticky, while too much flour makes dry dough.)  With floured hands, take dough out of bowl and pat into ball.  Put dough back in the bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Pastry Crust (by Ovaleta Gibbs, 2003)

Cooking Directions:

Turn dough out.  On a floured surface flatten dough with hands or rolling pin to circle approximately ½ inch thick.  Using biscuit cutter, cut “biscuits” for pie crusts.  Roll each “biscuit” into thin circle.  On half of the pastry crust circles, place a heaping tablespoon or more of pie filling.  Fold the other half over, moistening edges and seal by pressing the edge with a fork.

Place ½ to ¾ cup cooking oil (corn oil has good flavor) into an electric skillet.  Heat at 350 degrees.  Place pies in hot oil, then lower to 325 degrees.  Brown one side, then turn and brown the other side.  Place pies on paper towels to cool.

#friedfruitpies #friendshiphope&friedfruitpies #theresafruitforeveryseason




Beach Blessing by Jackie Layton

Shelia, thank you for asking me to share about hope with you today.

God has always been a part of my life. He’s carried me through the valleys and rejoiced with me at the peaks.

The ocean is one place where I feel especially close to God. jackie's sunset2

For years my family visited Holden Beach, North Carolina. My husband dreamed of owning beachfront property, and one year we found a little two-bedroom condo up for sale.

Jackie's_beach_HomeWhen we bought it, we named it Beach Blessing. For years it was a blessing to us. Then we decided we’d outgrown our little three-bedroom house in Wilmore. Our Realtor introduced us to a builder, and we signed papers to build a new house. Weeks before we were to move in, the builder disappeared with our money. It’s a long story, but we didn’t own the land, so we lost a lot of money. And we’d sold our little house. So we had to move. After much prayer, we decided the time had come to sell our Beach Blessing. This was also the time the economy tanked around 2006.

Jackie_rockerWhile waiting for it to sell, we continued to rent the condo out, and God provided us with good rental years. Yes, years. We dropped the price and updated our unit. After six long years, we decided to paint the paneling, put in tile floors, remove wallpaper from the bathrooms, and make some serious changes. We fell in love with the condo again, and we began to wonder if we could manage to keep it.

Tim and I spent a week working on the place, walking the beach, and praying. We wavered. Renew our contract with the real estate agent, or take it off the market and keep renting it out to vacationers.

On the next to last day of our time at the beach, I asked God for a sign that we were to continue trying to sell. I asked for a conch shell. I’ve never found a conch shell on Holden Beach, but others have. The day was beautiful as I walked by myself. Tim stayed behind working on a project.work_at_Jackie's As I walked a wave crashed, and a conch shell appeared.

My heart stopped. God had specifically answered my question. Thanks be to God.

But now I had to tell Tim.

I turned around filled with joy and dread. Once inside I told Tim the story and showed him the shell. The disappointment on his face broke my heart. Then his face brightened, and he announced the shell was a whelk, not a conch.

In the end we decided to accept the shell as a sign from God, and we put the condo back on the market. After years of hoping and praying, Beach Blessing sold in less than a month from the day I found the shell.Jackie's_shell

God’s timing is not our timing. Keep believing and hoping, and trust God!

Hebrews 10:23 (NIV)23  Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.

About Jackie: 

Jackie is not published yet, but she has written more than one story. Some writing awards she has received are Finalist in 2015 Genesis Romantic Suspense, Second Place Romance in the 2013 Writers of the Storm Category 5 Contest, 2014 Genesis Semifinalist Romantic Suspense, top 200 of the Family Fiction Short Story Contest in 2014, and Daphne du Maurier Second Place Inspirational in 2014. Jackie is a member of ACFW, ACFW Kentucky, and Bluegrass Christian Writers.

Jackie heard about a woman who bought a house with all of the belongings intact. The owner had disappeared, and his house was auctioned off. When the woman got inside, his closet was full of clothes. He’d even purchased new shirts and ties that had never been opened. Why had he never been found? Jackie began to wonder what horrible event would cause a man to disappear.

Jackie wanted to show that we need God, and each other, to live in this world, and nothing is better than God bringing a special person into our lives to love and form a cord of three strands.

On a personal note, Jackie feels blessed to be married to the man of her dreams, Tim Layton. She is the mother of two wonderful sons, Bill and Scott. If you’ve ever heard the phrase daughter-in-love, you know that’s how Jackie thinks of Bill’s wife, Amanda. Their daughters, Brooke and Allie, light up any room they enter.

Jackie is a pharmacist by day and author by night. She writes love stories that honor God and give hope to the reader. To follow Jackie, drop by her porch at: http://jackiesbackporch.blogspot.com




A Ten Year Celebration

By Paula Mowery

On Wednesday, September 30th, my husband reminded me of a ten year anniversary. No, it wasn’t our wedding anniversary. That’s twenty-six years this year.

Ten years ago on that Wednesday my husband had heart valve replacement surgery. His faulty valve was replaced by a diamond titanium version that clicks each time his heart beats.

I will never forget the surgeon speaking to us after the surgery in the waiting room. He shook his head and said, “I don’t know how he was still going. His heart had worked so hard it was the size of a football. But he did fine and you can see him pretty soon.”

Later we were told that if he had experienced any kind of episode, help probably wouldn’t have arrived in time to save him. That’s comforting for a wife who watched her husband get in the pulpit every week and give it his all.

This experience has proven to me that God doesn’t waste any experience. My husband has a different perspective now as he visits those in the hospital. He has been able to specifically encourage other men who have undergone his same surgery.

Though the constant clicking is something he has had to learn to live with, I am glad that when it becomes really quiet, I can hear it. Because it clicks, I still have my husband here with me.

I feared losing him when I discovered everything that would happen during the surgery. What scared me most was the fact that they would stop his heart and then have to start it beating again after replacing the valve. Someone was in charge of keeping his body alive while his heart was still. We later found out that the man who did this asked for prayer for my husband that night at his church, not knowing we had friends there. Is that God, or what?

God let me know during this that my hubby would live. This surgery was necessary to free my husband to minister. It was as if God said that this heart condition had him reigned back and now he would be released.


God held true to the promise. My husband is a senior pastor and he ministers at about ninety-five miles per hour.

Sometimes we don’t know why something happens, but we must always be open to what God will reveal to us. He really does know what is best for us, and He is capable of working good from any situation.


Paula Mowery is an award winning, published author, acquisitions editor, and speaker. Her new release, For Our Good, can be purchased by clicking on the link below.


Her first two published works were The Blessing Seer and Be The Blessing from Pelican Book Group. Both are women’s fiction, and their themes have been the topics of speaking engagements. Be The Blessing won the Selah Award in 2014 in the novella category. In November of 2013, her first romance released in the anthology, Brave New Century, from Prism Book Group. This book went to number five on Amazon’s bestseller category, historical Christian romance. Legacy and Love was her first solo romance and was a finalist in the Carolyn Readers Choice Awards in 2015.

Reviewers of her writing characterize it as “thundering with emotion.” Her articles have appeared in Woman’s World, The Christian Online Magazine, and the multi-author devotional blog, Full Flavored Living. She wrote a section for Join the Insanity by Rhonda Rhea. She has devotionals included in several collaborative books.

As an acquisitions editor for Prism Book Group, Paula particularly looks for romance stories with Christian values at its core. She’s especially attracted to those manuscripts that leave the reader mulling over the story long after turning the last page.

 Having been an avid reader of Christian fiction, she now puts that love to use by writing book reviews. She is a member of ACFW and is on the author interview team. She was a member of the 2014 and 2015 Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference faculty.

Paula is a pastor’s wife and mom to a college student. She homeschooled her daughter through all twelve years, and they both lived to tell about it. Before educating her daughter at home, she was an English teacher in public school.

You can follow Paula at www.facebook.com/pages/Paula-Mowery/175869562589187. Learn more about Paula at her blog at www.paulamowery.blogspot.com or enjoy her monthly columns on www.christianonlinemagazine.com.

Facing My Own Meanness

By Peggy Trotter

I own the world’s meanest cat. Seriously. When I try to pet her, she bites me. Every time. When I hold her, she has a biting, scratching fit. Evil Minion And I have to admit, a few weeks ago I was ready to send her to the river with my shotgun-wielding husband with instructions to come back alone. The man, not the cat.

Oh, sure. You feel bad for the animal, but then she hasn’t repeatedly hung from your bare leg with her claws. Or climbed you as you were walked by. My skin is littered with her claw marks. I’m considering adding pin cushion pants and oven mitts as my normal attire. What’s her name, you ask? Let’s just say we now call her, “Minion.”

It wasn’t always like this. I got her when she was just four weeks old this past July. She was so tiny and so cute. She didn’t know how to feed herself yet, so I painstakingly fed her kitten-replacement milk through a syringe. I awoke in the middle of the night to care for her, cheered over her use of the potty box, let her sleep in the curve of my neck. I, in short, adored her.

She, however, had other ideas. Each day she became more and more independent and rough until she was quite unhandleable. And I cried. Literally. She wasn’t the pet I wanted her to be. And for some reason, this led my thoughts to something a little more serious. Is that how God views me? Not the human He wanted me to be?

Did I start out at first so small and so cute, and then grow more and more independent and tough until I was unhandleable? Unusable?  Did God adore me, hand feed me, and then weep at my self-indulgence? Would he have preferred a quick end of me to rid Himself of such a mean, ungrateful individual? Hmmm. I must say it gave me pause.

With much relief I can say, “no.”

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, —Christ died for us. Romans 5:8 NIV

Praise God. He loves me despite my unlovable ways.

Well, I still have my cat. We’re, “retraining,” so to speak. Not an easy task. But then, God is constantly, “retraining,” me to love, forgive, trust, obey—just imagine an unending list. Yet with Jesus as a filter, I, a dirty sinner, look sinless to God. And you can too. Retrain, my friend. Every day. Sheath your claws and be adored by the Creator who gave you life.Sweet Minion

Look, Minion looks almost, well, tame.





Peggy Trotter is an award winning Christian author.12092149_1025257307524423_822597350_n

She has been writing something for over 30 years. The empty-nest syndrome set her to groping for a new direction, and wow, did God answer! Year of Jubilee, a Christian Historical Romance set in southern Indiana, debuted in April of 2015 through Prism Book Group. A second, a Contemporary Romance entitled, Reviving Jules, just released on Oct. 9th, 2015 as well. She loves to reveal God’s miracles through the world’s underdogs and mix in a little love, a dash of romantic heat, and of course, a happy ending.

She took third place in the Indiana Golden Opportunity Contest in 2013 in the Inspirational Category, and won the coveted Genesis Award in 2014 from the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) in the Novella Category with her entry, Spun, a Historical Romance.

God blessed her with a wonderful husband who cooks and helps clean while supporting her crazy dreams. She has two incredible grown kids plus two fabulous in-law kids, and two rays of sunshine, commonly called grandchildren. Seldom does she stand still, but when she does, it’s to praise her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, Creator of all gifts and Bestower of all blessings!

Her new book, Reviving Jules Reviving_Julescan be purchased by clicking on the link to her website below.

To order her book and to learn more about Peggy, visit her website at: http://www.peggytrotter.com/

I can’t wait to read Reviving JulesPeggy writes “Christian Romance with a Dash of Heat.”  Thank you Peggy for visiting my garden. Where seeds are sown, the fruit of His spirit blooms.





#friendshiphope&friedfruitpies, #catstories, #catlovers,  #godlovesusunconditionally, #facingmyownmeanness, #peggytrotter, #christianromancewithadashofheat



A Mother’s Prayer

I have prayed for the future wife of my son since he was an infant. Today my son will marry the woman of his dreams, and I am thankful. I sat with the bride’s mother last night at the rehearsal dinner and learned that she too prayed for her daughter’s future husband. God has been faithful to answer our prayers.


My new prayer is that their marriage will be grounded in faith in Jesus Christ and His teaching. I pray that they will cherish and attempt to outdo the other in giving, forgiving, and loving.

I hope my daughter-in-law will come to love me as a second mother and I pray for God’s wisdom as to how I can be a good mother-in-law.

As I see their joyous smiles, I pray their new life together will be filled with faith, love, laughter, and hope.

Thank you, Father, for answered prayers.