Getting Up to Speed

January 2016

It’s already been quite a winter. Joy and sorrow in equal measure at the Higgs house. (Maybe at your house too?)

Finally, I’m ready to leap into the snowy fray and explore a dozen heartwarming verses with you this year.

You are not alone.

I spent New Year’s Eve alone in a hospital bed (cue the violins), feeling very sorry for myself. It was the last straw in a whole haystack of heartaches and health issues that began in early November. Asthmatic bronchitis, then a foot injury requiring many stitches, plus a scary kidney procedure—challenges that made giving thanks on Thanksgiving an effort.

Then in December I lost my older brother, John. So hard. My second kidney operation followed, more intense than the first. On Christmas Eve Eve (that’s a thing, right?), I had total knee replacement surgery, then developed a dangerous skin infection that landed me in the hospital just before the world sang “Auld Lang Syne.”

Enough with the long list of woes. Here’s the point. Months earlier I’d chosen a verse to end our Season of Joy study. Here was the sentence blinking at me from my laptop screen on the last day of December:

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. James 1:2-3

Count it all JOY

Isn’t that just like the Lord? He brings us the right Word when we need it most, sometimes with “joy” and “trials” in the same breath.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,… James 1:2

“Pure joy” means just that. 100%. “Nothing but joy” (AMP). In Greek, pas chara, or “every delight.”

Did I “count it all joy” (ASV) in that hospital room? Oh no. I was adding up all the bad stuff. The physical pain. The emotional trauma. The trials.

In doing so, I was missing the Big Picture.

Believers aren’t exempt from life’s “various tests” (CEB) and “troubles” (NCV) and “manifold temptations” (AMP). In fact, God says they’re good for us. They make us who we are: men and women of God, unwavering in our faith, a worthy witness to His power.

Clearly, I needed to ask God to guide my thoughts and actions in a more positive direction. To move from grumbling to rejoicing, from miserable to “very happy” (GW). To see myself as “fortunate” (GNT). To face my troubles and “welcome them as friends!” (PHILLIPS).

Our faithful God always shows us how. He also shows us why.

Perseverance

because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. James 1:3

It’s our faith being put to the test, with “spiritual maturity” (AMP) as the goal. We’re “proving” (ASV) we believe in God and His Word by showing the world our joy instead of our frustration, anger, disappointment, and the rest.

When our lives are going well, others may credit our happy state to good luck or to being in the right place at the right time. But when all is not well and we’re still joyful, praising God for His faithfulness? Friend, that gets people’s attention.

They may see our “patience” (DRA), our “endurance” (CEB), and the “steadfastness” (ESV) of our faith, and decide a relationship with God could be the real deal. Worth considering. Worth pursuing. Especially if we make it clear He is the One who gives us “inner peace” (AMP) and “the strength to continue” (NIrV).

Romans 5:3

Back in my hospital room, watching the ball drop in Times Square, I begged the Lord to forgive my weeks of self-pity and fully renew my spirit. To help me not only sense His joy, but also show His joy.

Suddenly, I began seeing the humorous side of my situation. When a noisy cart wheeled down the hall sounding like a duck, I quacked up. When the PT guy came by to work on my new knee, I used my temporary walker with enthusiasm, instead of hiding it in the corner. When I had to wash my hair in the sink because I couldn’t navigate a tub, I drew silly faces on the mirror with shampoo and LOLs.

I realize this is small stuff. Very small. But if God can make a world of difference in one woman’s life in a matter of seconds, think of what He can do in all our lives and in far bigger ways.

It isn’t the size of our situation that matters. It’s the size of our God, and HE IS HUGE.

Heavenly Father, this year and every year, help us count our blessings, not our burdens. Help us pass every test with flying colors because of Your strength, Your power, Your joy. Make perseverance our method, Lord, and maturity our goal. When we’re able to be joyful in difficult circumstances, may we give every ounce of glory to You. Amen.

Whatever Is Lovely

Now, this month’s lovely giveaway. If you’ve been keen to try an adult coloring book, this one from WaterBrook Multnomah is especially fine: Whatever Is Lovely: A Coloring Book for Reflection and Worship.  Kindly post a comment below, sharing something God has revealed to you in today’s short study. On Monday, February 1 at 10pm ET, I chose five names at random to win a copy of Whatever Is Lovely. Congrats to Cindy, Shirley, Misty, Crystal, and Mary Ann!

As to what I’m working on now? Lots of speaking in the months ahead, a revised edition of Really Bad Girls of the Bible with the Study Guide included (July), a new devotional I’m super excited about, 31 Verses to Write on Your Heart (October), and this time next year, The Women of Easter. Yay! Until next month, bless you for giving me the joy of encouraging you.

Your grateful sister, Liz
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Whatever Is Lovely...and cat

530 Responses to Getting Up to Speed

  1. Lori January 29, 2016 at 10:12 am #

    To keep on keeping on…it’s worth it in the end. Thanks, Liz – and may God continue to bless you for your obedience to less this year!

    • mary January 29, 2016 at 10:45 am #

      Hi Liz, thank you for being so upfront with all that your going through. I’m also going through some change that the Lord is doing in my life and your post this month was so encouraging. I’m glad to hear there are others who fall short but what’s important is we all get back on track. We make mistakes but God is so faithful to show us that He is with us all the way. Thank you Liz for all the encouragement that you give out and now its my turn to give back to you. I pray you recover completely and all goes well with you and all that your doing for God’s work.
      Mary

      • Yolanda Morris January 29, 2016 at 2:26 pm #

        As I sat with my morning cup of coffee and read such an encouraging message for this day, my mind instantly went to Philippians 4:8-9.
        Whatever is:
        True
        Noble
        Right
        Pure
        Lovely
        Admirable
        THINK ON THESE THINGS.
        IN THE FACE OF SO MANY CHALLENGES, I HAVE HELD ON BECAUSE I KNOW THESE TRIALS ARE PRODUCING SOMETHING GREAT IN ME ALL FOR HIS ULTIMATE GLORY.
        YES, MY FAITH HAS INCREASED. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR WEATHERING THE STORM AND PUSHING FORWARD.

        • christina January 30, 2016 at 9:19 am #

          I see Philippians 4:8 as the formula to always being joy-ful. These are the needed ingredients to pure JOY!

          • Monica January 30, 2016 at 2:55 pm #

            My fall and winter have been pretty terrible so far. Things have gone from bad, to worse, to a little better, to bad. Thanks for the reminder to stop whining to God and ask Him to redirect my thoughts. Starting today, I will ask Him to help me find joy in the trials and trust Him instead of focusing on seemingly impossible circumstances. He is bigger than all these trials!

      • Mary Monson February 1, 2016 at 1:17 pm #

        “Count it all joy” always reminds me of the story of a Pastor and family traveling, in the olden days, on a muddy dirt road. They got stuck so had to get out in the mud and push. Father said to them “Count it all joy. His daughter, Linea, didn’t think it was joyful at all, but loved to tell the story. Sometimes, we get stuck in the “mud” with all the stuff going on, but we can push through it to a better “road”. No more “mud” for you, please.

    • Tammy January 29, 2016 at 10:51 am #

      I missed all the other dozens of you blogs in my in box and accidentally landed on this one today. Perfect timing to reach my whining heart. So less was more!! Thank you for sharing your learning lesson of joy.

      • Elaine Harcourt January 29, 2016 at 12:43 pm #

        God told me that when I have a lemon, I should make lemonade & not be bitter! Thanks, Liz.

    • Heather Garey January 29, 2016 at 11:28 am #

      Thank you for these wonderful encouraging words. I read them while I was at home surrounded by Kleenex while listening to the sound of my own pulse throbbing in my clogged ears. Talk about an opportunity to feel sorry for yourself! Thank you for turning my thinking, and for that wonderful prayer. The hope we have in Jesus is so much greater than any of these temporary, light afflictions. Love in Christ,
      Heather

    • Barbara January 29, 2016 at 11:39 am #

      Liz, how glad I am to hear that you are “up to speed” (though I didn’t think you ever slowed down..lol). So sorry to hear all you experienced these past months BUT these valleys are the time we can look UP to our Father and He reaches down to speak to us. I’ve also found that less can be more effective for our Father’s Glory. I’m listening to Him.

    • Kay Alexander January 29, 2016 at 11:42 am #

      Your post was a confirmation that God is with me…regardless of how I feel at times. Joyful…thank you Liz!

    • Becky January 29, 2016 at 12:34 pm #

      I need to find humor in the things that bring me anxiety and turn it around to laughter thanks so much for sharing your mass of trials !

    • Mary Jane Biltz January 29, 2016 at 12:42 pm #

      Having gone to the doctor yesterday and learned that I will be facing more tests while dealing with a disability that keeps me walking with a walker and pain, this couldn’t have come at a better time!!! I will consider it joy knowing that my Lord is always with me and that together we will get through all this!!! May God richly bless you, Liz!!

    • Melinda Lewis January 29, 2016 at 12:48 pm #

      Thank you for being you. Since I first heard you speak at a “Women of Faith” conference telling us of your past I realized you were telling “my story”. I knew then that I could make it also. I know God has forgiven me but I’m still working on forgiving myself.
      My church family,Bible studies and your messages are a big part of my journey and I thank you and God daily for that help in getting to where I am in my journey.
      Praying for you and your recovery and your continued work. Bless you and yours, Melinda

    • JENI REED January 29, 2016 at 1:04 pm #

      These stood out to me:
      He brings us the right Word when we need it most, sometimes with, joy and, trials, in the same breath.

      And also this…It’s our faith being put to the test, with “spiritual maturity” as the goal. We’re “proving” we believe in God and His Word by showing the world our joy instead of our frustration, anger…Thank you Liz, for sharing. I enjoy reading your blog. I hope you’re feeling better soon. I’ll pray for you.

    • Barb January 29, 2016 at 1:25 pm #

      Liz I’m sorry to hear that you have been experiencing so many health issues. One thing about our God that always amazes me is how he places Christ followers in our path during trials.
      I’ve walked In your shoes with one health setback after another. In fact, I referred to the hospital as my Mission Field. What better place and time to witness to patients and caregivers – after all it’s a captive audience! LOL!
      Your message today brought back many memories. One of which was the time I was in PCU and went into A-fib. As my heart rate went through the roof and blood pressure skyrocketed, one of the nurses asked me if my husband had called a priest because one was outside my room. As things began to calm down, my husband and the priest (who just happened to stop and visit) came in. I shared how I was flipping TV channels to find Praise music. We talked, shared a word of prayer and he left. A few weeks later I saw the priest again and he said, “Barbara I have to tell you I’ve never seen anyone in A-fib so joyful.” My reply was, “What kind of a witness to my faith would I be if I was paniced terrified knowing at the possibility of going home, who would want to be part of that faith?” I knew I wasn’t alone I had looked up during my health episode and saw a picture on the hospital ceiling of one set of footprints walking to the shore and in that instant I remembered the Footprints” poem and heard Jesus say, “I’m carrying you.” And, He does. Through all this I remembered something another priest friend had said years ago, “You might be the only Bible someone ever reads.”
      Liz, there are many people reading the Bible that is you and I have been blessed to be one, through your novels and Bible Studies and seeing you in person at Calvary Chapel Melbourne. Thank you for your truthfulness and unashamed faith.

    • Name* January 29, 2016 at 2:21 pm #

      I too find times of feeling sorry for myself and want to always Show the Joy I have with Christ living in me!

    • Tobie Lariscey January 29, 2016 at 3:33 pm #

      It reminded me that no matter the situation that I am in, I am never alone. God is in control and knows what every outcome will be for our situation. This is a reminder to me that God is faithful. Looking forward to the monthly study.

    • Sue January 29, 2016 at 3:52 pm #

      It helps to find humor in whatever you can; thanks for the update; hope 2016 is good for you!

    • Helen Clarke January 29, 2016 at 6:00 pm #

      Many thanks for today I have just finished organizing my dear mums funeral she is now with The Lord and your words brought great encouragement to me today I so enjoy your thoughts I pray that very soon you will be fully recovered. Blessings Helen

    • crisanne Simeone January 29, 2016 at 8:58 pm #

      Liz..I am not like you…I find it hard to make jokes when it feels like my life is comming apart…..however I am learning to become less so He can be more and 🙂 I am learning to give more out of the abudance of the things He has given me…Good and difficult lessons as well as joyous ones.

    • Cheryl D January 29, 2016 at 9:36 pm #

      Thank you so much Liz! I really needed this! A good friend /coworker is going thru a lot right now!! She’s been given a horrible diagnosis relating to a cancer that her dad died from last year she’s a young grandmother of a beautiful little girl. Has a beautiful great nephew. Her husband has just been injured-she is strong in her faith be we can see the air slowly leaving! We pray for strength we pray for peace. I’d LOVE to give this color book to her!!!! Th asks for your words from GOD you are awesome we are blessed that HE put you on this earth to spread HIS word. Cheryl

    • Kristi Gouch January 29, 2016 at 10:32 pm #

      Liz, I am so sorry for the things you have been through, especially for the loss of your brother. Thank you for your encouraging devotional. I needed to be reminded to not just sense God’s joy, but also to show it! Thank you!

    • Tamika January 30, 2016 at 5:02 am #

      God is the only one that we need to please. God doesn’t take our struggles away but having him head of your life helps you get through them with his grace, mercy, and his favor.

    • Candie Perry January 30, 2016 at 7:46 am #

      Thanks Liz, for the positive reinforcement…looking for joy in ashes this week. Our beloved pastor has accepted a call and will be leaving us. I am excited for him…but so sad. Yet God is with me still….

    • Blessed!! Thank you for sharing so freely from your heart. I am reminded of Phillipians 4:8 to remember each day on those things that are noble, just, pure, lovely, good report and of virtue . With so much pain, saddness, sin and evil God reminds me daily to focus on Him. Thank you. I am looking forward to your new books.

    • Janet Laudett January 30, 2016 at 8:16 am #

      Thank you for the reminder Liz! I homeschool my son and some days the joy is sucked right out of me–some days I have none at all. Dear Lord please restore my joy in you even when the days are hard or just tedious. Blessings to you Liz!

    • Cindy Cook, RN, MSN January 30, 2016 at 9:57 am #

      Liz,

      Look what you did! Just with the hopes of receiving one of your coloring books, you have over 400 responses to your blog. Scaling back to improve the quality is what it is all about. As I think about the trend from work/life balance to work/life blend, I ponder the already missed opportunities with my family. I am Program Chair next weekend for a NC Baptist Nursing Fellowship annual meeting at Camp Mundo Vista in Sophie, NC. Our theme is “A Cheerful Heart Does Good Like a Medicine.” I try to reflect His light (Cynthia/Cindy means reflector of light). With persevering not in always a Godly way, I get bogged with anxiety from work conditions out of my control. That is not cheer, joy or a good reflection of His light. Many referred to Philippians 4 for mind thinking. I must scale back on media and not so subtle crime dramas that can pervade my thought life. I look forward to all of your publications. Thank you for obedience. May 2016 be one of health and wellness for you.

    • Robin January 30, 2016 at 10:10 am #

      Thank you for another great message! Rather than get upset or feel sorry for myself when things don’t go my way, I will look for joy in the situation. I pray that God will flood my heart and open my my eyes so that I will always find joy, even in the worst of times.

    • Shirley Webster January 30, 2016 at 10:56 am #

      Thank you Liz – as always your posting encourages me. Another meaning for JOY is Jesus and You with Nothing inbetween. Keep on encouraging me as I am truly blessed with your writings.
      Can’t wait for your ‘Women of Easter’.
      Blessings and Joy!
      Shirley

    • Sarah Ruth Bridges January 30, 2016 at 7:44 pm #

      I just love the book of James! So great of God to remind me that there may be a little “kink” in the road along the way. Sure is easy to be thankful and have that faith when all is well.

    • Karin January 30, 2016 at 8:01 pm #

      I like the fact that ‘less’ is still a ‘yes’ with restraint. 🙂

    • Phyllis Banks January 30, 2016 at 9:21 pm #

      A good pity party is needed every now and then but the Lord always prevails. He sends us reminders of how blessed we really are and encourages us to bless others. Rising above our circumstances isn’t always easy, but it is always worth it. Sending prayers to you Liz for continued healing and comfort to you for the loss of your brother John.

    • Ola Kabazzi January 30, 2016 at 9:56 pm #

      Hi Liz!
      Thank you so much for coming to Sandy Cove in November 2015 to bless us with “It’s good to be bold” I was so blessed. Thank you for sharing about being real – it was so easy to relate to everything you were saying. You were so concerned that we Jesus and not you. Thanks for being so transparent for Him. God bless you Liz!

    • Shannon January 31, 2016 at 8:49 am #

      Hi Liz,
      Thank you for your openness. Sometimes we think we are the only ones who are hurting. Your post was right on target for me this morning. Realizing that the trials in my life are for my good and His glory.

    • Jeana Miller January 31, 2016 at 4:27 pm #

      Good afternoon, Liz the Lovely! I appreciate your transparency with regard to your trials in recent months and the rhema with regard to “counting it all joy.” What helps me when I’m feeling down, is to acknowledge the abiding joy of the LORD, which is our strength. Counting it all joy, if I understand correctly, is an accounting term. It means to assign it to the “joy column,” regardless of how we feel about it. That’s reassuring to me, because God is in charge of my balance sheet!
      BTW, I got all my daughters adult coloring books at Christmas. We really like them. I would really like to win one of these to send to a young lady that I just reconnected with this past week after 25+ years!
      <

    • Gracia January 31, 2016 at 10:10 pm #

      Thank you for your post. I have gone through a life changing illness in the last three months…while not life threatening it has shaken me to my core. I truly needed the encouragement and honesty you displayed in your post. Life can throw punches we don’t see coming. I needed the encouragement and reminder that God’s word is true and He loves me and will not fail me. I am His child.

    • Stacy February 1, 2016 at 11:23 am #

      I’m sorry you had such a rough end to 2015 Liz. But, I appreciate this post so much and it’s just what I needed. Going through my own trial right now and want to trust God and display His joy so much. Love your books. God has blessed you with a special gift.

    • Elaine February 1, 2016 at 3:18 pm #

      I needed this Liz. I was convicted that in my so called ‘endurance’, I’m more like a toddler holding her breath and scrunching her eyes closed waiting for ” it” to be over. No joy in that!

    • Leah February 1, 2016 at 4:22 pm #

      Thank you for reminding me how much humor and thankfulness can be part of praise.

    • Carol February 1, 2016 at 10:06 pm #

      When I acknowledge that He is enough, He is my joy and I am complete in Him. There is power and healing in His name. Praise God!

  2. Anita Smith January 29, 2016 at 10:14 am #

    Thanks for your wonderful words… I’m not having the physical maladies as you are (prayers for healing)…but, am in a mind-funk with a similar slant. Forgetting how each day is a bountiful blessing, I have focused on what my list says I “have” to do. This is a refreshing “kick-in-the-pants” for me… thank you again…and may God speed your recovery.

  3. Paulette January 29, 2016 at 10:15 am #

    Honk!!! Quack!!!! Totally enjoyed this post Liz, also like the once a month, thank you. Praying for a speedy recovery and for His grace to abound joyfully in and through you, in Jesus name. Amen! Hugs!

  4. Michele Bracey January 29, 2016 at 10:16 am #

    Thanks for reminding us that we need to not complain and be joyful. Sometimes we forget and need a reminder!!

  5. Pat January 29, 2016 at 10:16 am #

    Many blessings to you for the gentle reminder that God is faithful in all situations!

  6. Tina January 29, 2016 at 10:16 am #

    God has shown me that we never really know what is going on in the lives of others — we need to extend more grace and encouragement.

  7. Sandy January 29, 2016 at 10:17 am #

    Liz,
    This touched my heart and encouraged me. My husband lost his job 3 weeks ago and it has been a time to stretch our faith and not lose sight of the fact that we know this didn’t surprise God and he is in control and will continue to be in control. I pray that our testimony through this will be positive and uplifting to others and that they see Christ in us. Looking forward to the monthly study!

  8. Jo Lynn Davis January 29, 2016 at 10:18 am #

    Thanks, Liz, for your willingness to be so open about yourself. You are truly an inspiration to me!
    We don’t have to wait for our circumstances to improve to improve our outlook and attitude.
    Thanks for that reminder!

  9. Barbara B January 29, 2016 at 10:18 am #

    Thank you for your words of encouragement. This is the 2nd time today that I have read about turning everything over to God, I get so busy with myself I forget its all about HIM!
    Thank you for the words!

  10. Diane Stiles January 29, 2016 at 10:19 am #

    Oh, my! So sorry to hear of your losses and trials.

    Recently our small group began studying Frances Chan’s Crazy Love…and he reminded me of the verse Philippians 3:10. He says he wants to know Christ and the power of his resurrection….and often wanted to stop there. We so often forget the “fellowship of sharing in his suffering”. That intrigued me, so I’ve been reading the entire book and really taking it into account. It’s such a joyful book–even understanding suffering is a part of the Christian life. And now your study…no coincidence here!

    As always, thank you Liz.

  11. MaryAnn January 29, 2016 at 10:19 am #

    I continually need to be reminded that trials make me grow. Like most everyone I would like things to be always easy, but that isn’t what is best for me.

  12. Betsy January 29, 2016 at 10:20 am #

    Sweet, Liz! I have missed the weekly studies but will appreciate the monthly updates. This lesson is dear to my heart as well. Trials are only part of our process to be more like Christ. Keep pressing on is a great lesson.

  13. susan January 29, 2016 at 10:21 am #

    We’re PROVING the power of HIS love (not our strength, our desire, etc,) We are there because He Really Does LOVE US!!

  14. Jonna Marsh January 29, 2016 at 10:21 am #

    God reminded me that I’ve not been taking my physical limitations with joy. Thanks, Liz!

  15. Karon January 29, 2016 at 10:21 am #

    Thank you for this I really need to be reminded. God is so good. Praise His name that you are getting better.

  16. Pat January 29, 2016 at 10:22 am #

    Liz – knowing you have been through so much, I can just sense that you were still that joyful lady we all know. Even when we don’t respond to every post or email you can always know that you are in my prayers. It is a given.
    Whatever messages we can receive from you we are (Or I) am the blessed one.
    You will find that the coloring books add not only a time to relax, but, to meditate.
    Take care my friend and stay strong! Loving you in Christ.

    • Katy January 30, 2016 at 5:56 pm #

      This has been a tough and crazy week. You are the second person who has talked of trials and tribulations. I am grateful for my love of Christ. He has helped me through so much. Together we are working on my trust issues. I trust Him and his will. Leaning on the promise that He means no harm for me but good. Keeping my eyes on the light so I don’t focus on the dark.

  17. Rachel January 29, 2016 at 10:22 am #

    “Less” is what I’m hearing – and doing – right now too. Suddenly moving to another state. Completely God’s doing. Trying to downsize and pack and decide what’s truly important. New adventure – but I know that He is with me (and my family) wherever we go.

    • Jodi January 29, 2016 at 12:05 pm #

      Dear Liz, Thanks for your transparency in this post! I loved it! God showed me through this that we can be witnesses during a trial by having joy while going through it! Brilliant! :). Our God is such an Awesome God and Loving Father! <3. Thank you again for this encouraging post! With His Love, Jodi

  18. Toni January 29, 2016 at 10:22 am #

    I lost my sweet yellow lab to cancer in October and have taken it as hard as losing a loved one. I have not counted it all joy. Although blessed in many ways this has brought me great grief and I need to some how turn this around.

    • Kelly January 29, 2016 at 10:32 am #

      Dear Toni, I am so sorry for your loss. I lost my precious little friend in 2010 and it is so painful. I understand completely. I can only encourage you to open your heart again to another. Don’t lock that love inside when there are so many precious doggies out there who need a loving home.

  19. I am in a season of reflection…God is definitely saying to me, do less, but do what I purpose for you. I’m praying what that looks like as I am too crazy busy. I love the worshipful coloring book. My mother is 89, and I am convinced that her mind is so strong because she does jigsaw puzzles, word puzzles and she loves coloring books. I would love to gift this to her.

    Thank you for the opportunity. And thank you for the reminder to put His plans first.

  20. Joanie January 29, 2016 at 10:23 am #

    Hi Lizzie, prayers for your return to good health. Through your message, God reminds me how my choice of responses to difficult times can point to Him and open a door to conversation with other people about my faith and His provision. Blessings on your day.

  21. Bethany January 29, 2016 at 10:25 am #

    HONK!!
    Liz your words & wisdom have often been a timely boost for my weary heart. A season of change has brought me straight to my knees in an effort to find worth & value in an uncomfortable turning. Bless you my friend, praying for you, healing & wholeness !

    • Peggy January 29, 2016 at 11:52 pm #

      Thanks for the reminder as we are still digging out from the record breaking snowstorm last week. Lord, use me to show your joy to others whatever my circumstances may be!

  22. Pam Friedler January 29, 2016 at 10:25 am #

    Oh sweet sister in Christ, I am so sad to hear about all the hardship that has hit your life. Yet, how very refreshing it is to hear of your love and dependency for Christ that does not waver in adversity. I meet with 4 other friends every week for a study and we are now work on Bad Girls of the Bible. We have finishes, It’s good to Be Queen and The Women of Christmas and are sooooo blessed. The sentence you wrote in today’s blog “I realize this is small stuff. Very small. But if God can make a world of difference in one woman’s life in a matter of seconds, think of what He can do in all our lives and in far bigger ways.” touched my heart, that our small gathering is yet mighty for the kingdom. Your gift from God of writing, blesses each one of us. <3

  23. Lois Bringhurst January 29, 2016 at 10:25 am #

    something God has revealed to you – That we need to make sure we see God in all our situations. Not an easy task, but worth the effort. Thanks for Sharing, and letting us know we are not alone when we are having our very own “pity party”.

  24. Ali January 29, 2016 at 10:25 am #

    I so enjoyed! I need to start practicing finding joy in the curves.

  25. Kathy January 29, 2016 at 10:25 am #

    I was just thinking yesterday that I had been missing your messages and devotions. Then today like the sunshine appearing after the clouds, your email appears. There are times I don’t have time to read your devotions but am always glad and encouraged when I do. Love, love, love your insight and joy!!

  26. barb January 29, 2016 at 10:26 am #

    God is with us every day – in the good times and the rough times

  27. Beth January 29, 2016 at 10:26 am #

    Oh, Liz, what beautiful, timely words and thank you, Lord, for laying those words on her heart.

    Like some commenters, I have not been having physical ailments (nothing more than an annoying cold), but my mental world has made things bleaker than they aught to be. I’m working on trusting that God has me where He wants me for now, but that better things are coming than I can have imagined.

    Prayers for you, Liz! Now off to find out where I can sign up for the monthly emails for the Bible study!

  28. Sandi January 29, 2016 at 10:26 am #

    This is a timely devotion for me, as I look towards the first anniversary of my parents’ death on Feb 2nd. They died tragically in a car accident, and it changed my world. They were elderly (88) but that didn’t matter – they were vibrant and full of life. I have seen tons of blessings this past year if the Christian legacy they left behind for family and friends, but I still miss them. I pick up the phone to call and tell about changes going on in my life…and yes, God has been and is faithful. I have slowly seen the joy even in this. I used to think by choosing joy, you had to experience it all at once, but I’ve been learning it sometimes comes in trickles. God bless you, Liz and I am so sorry for the loss of your brother. May you recall many fun memories of him in the days ahead.

  29. Heather Allen January 29, 2016 at 10:26 am #

    It is sometimes in our trials that we hear God more. I remember 6 years ago this week when my youngest was born. I was alone, his father had gotten mixed up in drugs and other women, which ended up landing him in jail. After an emergancy c-section my wonderful son was born 5 weeks pre-mature and had to be rushed to the nearest NICU…over 30 minutes away.
    I was crushed. I was alone in the hospital away from my baby, away from my family (who were on the other side of the country in a snow storm) and feeling very scared. I couldn’t go to the NICU until I was released from the hospital…it was a VERY LONG 3 days. Then over the course of the next 2 weeks I would spend periods of time where I was unable to at the NICU because I had an older son to take care of two…and I was very much alone.
    It was then that I realized GOD is ALWAYS with me. I felt him hold me and tell me He had great plans for both my boys. He told me not to be afraid. From my darkest moment I found the greatest, brightest light. Sometimes the spotlight of blessings can make it easy to overlook the light of the one bringing the blessings.

  30. Lawan Rivera January 29, 2016 at 10:27 am #

    I’m so sorry to hear about your tough health struggles. However I am glad to hear you are doing better.

    You encourage me to continue trusting in our great God no matter what.

    Thank you for your honesty. I love you.

    Lawan

  31. Brenda January 29, 2016 at 10:27 am #

    Oh Liz! What a blessing this post was and a great reminder to count it all joy!
    So glad you are counting it all joy. Praying for you and your upcoming ministry opportunities. I look forward to the Women of EAster. One of my favorite books is the “Women of Christmas”

  32. Kelly January 29, 2016 at 10:27 am #

    Thank you, Liz. This comes in a very sad week of my son and wife calling it quits. My heart is broken for my granddaughter. I need the reminder to keep praise on my lips.

  33. Pamela January 29, 2016 at 10:28 am #

    I love reading your emails! They’re so candid and the photos … I just love it. I can’t tell you how many times I wanted to post something negative on social media this week. A rant, a complaint, something so everyone would know what I was going through or how I was feeling. But something kept keeping me from clicking “post.” It’s exhausting to read over and over all of the complaints, rants, and stories of disgust and I was about to add to it! Believe me, I typed many thoughts, many times, but am so thankful I never hit “post.” I’m not sure what any of that had to do with your email, but I just had to share! I do hope you’re feeling much better soon!

  34. Nicole P January 29, 2016 at 10:29 am #

    Liz this spoke so deeply to me and it made me realize that I have been too consumed by stress and anxiety with many changes in my work life that I have over looked the many joys in my life. Instead of praying for change in the situation I see I should be praying for perseverance through the situation. And that God will continually show me joy in every situation so I may be His light to others.

  35. Carrie January 29, 2016 at 10:29 am #

    Liz,
    Thanks for giving me truth that I needed to hear. In difficult times, I often do not show joy, but instead show my frustration or anger. With God’s help, I will choose to show joy.

  36. Nancy January 29, 2016 at 10:29 am #

    I could really connect with your blog today. A close friend’s father passed away and has been calling many times a day in the last few days. Somehow, through her despair my words seem to be giving her that aha moment just when she needs it. I have no idea where the words come from, they just spew out. God does show us how to persevere and I am thankful I can help my friend see the brighter side of this loss.

  37. Liz Stephens January 29, 2016 at 10:29 am #

    Self pity transformed into a renewed spirit. Only our King can do that for His Princess.
    Thanks for sharing your rough times as well as your happy times.

  38. Julie Sunne January 29, 2016 at 10:29 am #

    Dear Lizzie,
    I’m so sorry for all your struggles the past several months. Praying you have complete healing. But I’m so grateful for your joy-filled word today!

    When my spirit is deflated, God often brings me to these verses to pray through: “God, create a clean heart for me and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not banish me from Your presence or take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore the joy of Your salvation to me, and give me a willing spirit. Then I will teach the rebellious Your ways, and sinners will return to You” (Psalm 52:10-13). In fact I have a short note I jotted beside this passage in my Bible from Dec. 3, 2010: “I desperately need this. How to claim it?” Humbling ourselves, turning to Him, and asking for it is how we claim it.

    Wow, God is so good!

  39. Denise Wiles January 29, 2016 at 10:29 am #

    When you are in a hospital bed many things come to light. It’s good to share because it touches a chord in the hearts of others. My experience was similar. After my experience each new day was a gift from God. Relationships were more important. Knowing Him harder was paramount. Chaff blown away. I never want to take my days on this earth for granted anymore. May He grant us all an understanding of the depth of His love for each of us.

  40. Rebecca McLafferty January 29, 2016 at 10:30 am #

    This was a great lesson, Liz. A thought that has come to me lately, during the midst of different crises is, “I wonder how I’ll look back on this.” My hindsight is 20/20 and I am often amazed at how God was orchestrating things to eventually work out, instead of timing them as I expected. Thank you for your reflections and I appreciate your change of pace. Blessings to you.

  41. Valerie Wheatley January 29, 2016 at 10:31 am #

    Liz, I think what I’ve taken away from this is that God is ever-present in every circumstance. Nothing takes Him by surprise – not even our reactions to difficult situations. The key is to remember (and rely on) the One who gives that overwhelming peace that passes all understanding.

    Thanks for sharing the reminder of His faithfulness. Oh, and I wish you every sympathy and prayers for a continually speedy recovery!

  42. Rachel Colvin January 29, 2016 at 10:31 am #

    I was reassured of something I’ve been realizing lately, that anxiety disorders don’t always mean a lack of faith, sometimes that is what keeps things from getting out of control by knowing Someone is in control.

  43. Becky January 29, 2016 at 10:32 am #

    Just what I needed to hear. Love you much, Liz!

  44. Tam January 29, 2016 at 10:32 am #

    I realize that “I’ve got this”. No matter what happens in my family we can get through it………..because God is always on our side.

  45. Linda Fern January 29, 2016 at 10:34 am #

    Four years ago, seems like yesterday, I had a breakdown. I was done! My doctor put me on 6 weeks of medical leave from work. That was the beginning of rebuilding my relationship with God. He was with me ever step of the way, always had been, I just didn’t look for Him. Now, I start everyday in His presence before I do anything else. An hour in His Word daily has been a life changer for me and I can’t imagine my life without Him, and living any other way. I’m happy and healthy now, because God has his hand of blessings on my head, He goes before me and is watching my back. Love Him!

  46. Bettye January 29, 2016 at 10:35 am #

    Such inspiration! And a message that I desperately needed to see. Thanking God for using you to get His message across!

  47. Ruth January 29, 2016 at 10:35 am #

    I have loved your writing for many years, both the fiction and the studies. It’s very encouraging to an unpublished writer when the “famous ones” share about obedience to the Lord by devoting more time to personal spiritual growth than to the demands of social media.
    I look forward to the studies you’ve lined out for this year.
    Blessings on your writing and your health.

  48. Joyce January 29, 2016 at 10:36 am #

    Liz, you are one of my favorite writers, and I have missed you! So glad to see you are back, rebuilt so to speak and hopefully better than ever. Love your sense of humor, (not too many writers have that ability) and your willingness to share the good and bad in your life’s journey. Gods love shines through each word as you spread His Word of hope & joy. See you next month!

  49. Rachelle January 29, 2016 at 10:37 am #

    Perseverance seems to be my theme the past 2 years as I continue to seek His face and ask Him to give me joy to get thru it! I love reading your posts and look forward to the monthly study! Prayers for you as you continue to heal and persevere too!

  50. Cherrie Medendorp January 29, 2016 at 10:37 am #

    Good morning Liz:)
    Thank you for continuing your encouraging thoughts.
    Considering it joy to go thru trails was hard for me.
    But I do think about joy and I am able to get thru my difficult days.
    I am in my 50s, my husband has decided to go back to school to become a pastor. I do not deal with change very well. A dream we had 30 years ago.
    A friend has given me a coloring book and it does help. I like to share it with a little girl with whom I am mentoring.

  51. Patty Jewett January 29, 2016 at 10:37 am #

    Dear Liz, I appreciate you sharing your physical issues, it helps to relate. I have had both knees and a hip replaced and it is not easy , but it makes going thru security at the airport just a bit more fun! I also lost my favorite sister in July and the hole in my heart leaks continually, some days more than others. She I’d with Jesus and reaping the blessing of continued joy!

    I am looking forward to your new books, I have been reading your works for years and always enjoy. Your ability to take fiction and relate it into a spiritual journey for me is always a blessing.

    One more item, I think you are my doppelgänger. When my friend looked first at your picture, told me immediately I had to look you up. Yeah, it’s a bit freaky. However, don’t stop writing, remember ice is a friend to your knee, that alone with Tylenol or whatever. It gets better and your almost bionic!

    Faithful in praying for you,
    Patty Jewett
    Halstead, Ks

  52. Nancy Miller January 29, 2016 at 10:38 am #

    Other people are constantly watching us to see if we really do trust the Lord when we go through trials. We can show God’s faithfulness by how we respond.

  53. Chandi January 29, 2016 at 10:38 am #

    Thank you! Sometimes I feel like I ought to just buck up and realize that , hey I don’t have it so bad! But, just maybe when I’m stuck in the drudgery of keeping up with a laundry for a family of six, I just need a nudge to remember that perhaps this is my “trial” for the day and to count it as JOY!!

  54. Charlotte White January 29, 2016 at 10:38 am #

    This too shall pass dear friend! I was also in turmoil during the holiday season this year – nothing like you, but I found it hard to enjoy the joy of my savior’s birth this year. I finally took some time to reflect on the “reasons for the seasons” in the middle of January! I actually listened to some Christmas music and felt God’s presence over me. It finally felt like the right time for my spirit to rejoice and give thanks and to recognize that it doesn’t matter what time of the year you celebrate – just do it!

  55. Raya Newell January 29, 2016 at 10:38 am #

    Oh Liz, how I empathise with you. In the past year (still adjusting to the death of my husband at 57 years 2.5 years ago) I have had a hip replacement, two knee replacements, a fractured pelvis and ongoing arthritic problems. Hardship unbidden; yet, joy unharnessed. God has taken me, through these things into a deeper more intimate understanding of Himself as well as used them to uncover parts of my hidden self that require infusion with His joy. May you, too, know Him more deeply as a result of your grief. With love.

  56. Jaime Halbrook January 29, 2016 at 10:39 am #

    When I read this I was in awe because our Ladies at our church just started a new bible study on JAMES! So when you quoted the verse I laughed and smiled and I’m like this is so awesome. I love your honesty and your realness. Count it all Joy….I know I don’t always do this in trials and in the good time. I believe God is working on this with me. In the midst of working in the world I need to remember this and not every little thing is a big thing. I’d like to add to what James said about being quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. I think if we really look at this and grasp it our life would be alot different. We wouldn’t let our mouth get away from us. Thanks Liz. We all love you.

  57. Gina January 29, 2016 at 10:41 am #

    When I think about the Lord, and all he’s done for me, I’m filled with joy. When I think about unanswered prayer, the trial that I’m in that never seems to end, I’m defeated. I believe that joy is a choice, and happiness is a perspective. I’ve never been in a hospital overnight due to sickness. I’ve never had a trial that the Lord hasn’t seen me through. Your words: “count your blessings, not your problems,” is a confirmation of what’s so often in my pastor’s sermons. He says that without thankfulness, we can’t have peace or joy. This information is coming from Princess Gina, who cries with every paper cut. Yet, I’m asking the Lord to help me look up. Feel well! G

  58. Susan Westman January 29, 2016 at 10:41 am #

    While reading today’s verse and your discussion of joy, I realize that I have joy in my heart, the kind of joy that only comes from God, but there are times that it does not show in my actions and my demeanor. I pray that I can exude God’s joy in everything I do.

  59. Jean January 29, 2016 at 10:42 am #

    Blessed by your honesty and humor, Liz. To God be the glory!

  60. Carole January 29, 2016 at 10:43 am #

    I’ve been going through trials for a number of years now, but God just becomes a sweeter companion thru each one. Lean on Him, He is always there!! Love you Liz!

  61. Sue Dietsche January 29, 2016 at 10:43 am #

    Oh Liz, thank you for once again turning our eyes to Jesus. I’m so sorry that you’ve had so many hardships and heartaches. Yet you are still rejoicing and encouraging us to, too. Thank you! What ever we are each facing, we are comforted that our Lord will never change and never leave us. Now there’s reason to be joyful!

  62. Alyson January 29, 2016 at 10:43 am #

    God reminded me that even though Satan is a lion, prowling around looking for someone to devour, that ultimately it is God, who is in control and He has Satan on a leash! I love that. Things can seem so dire at times, but God is ALWAYS in control.

    Thank you for your posts. Praying for full recovery and a better 2016 for you!

  63. Lisa T. Bergren January 29, 2016 at 10:43 am #

    Oh my goodness, Lizzie! I’m so, so sorry for your season of hardship and pain. Honestly, as I read your post–given that I’m experiencing a season of peace and joy after many filled with strife and struggle–I confess that my first reaction was fear! “No, Lord! Don’t take me back to a season of counting pain as joy!” But of course, that’s the flesh. And my fear reminds me to trust him in all things, in all times. Thank you for that reminder. Though this might be a fallow season for me, I know good things come from the plowing too. Love you!

  64. Shirley January 29, 2016 at 10:44 am #

    Thank you for sharing this post! It reminds me of my recent Bible study on Brokenness>broken people are more conscious of their own spiritual needs and are compassionate–they have the kind of love that overlooks the multitudes of sin. I, too have a tendency to gravitate toward self-pity, especially since the loss of my daughter, mother of -4. Your honesty and humor puts me to shame. James 1:2 has proven over and over that GOD is good and there is Joy in knowing HIM.
    May God continue to bless you all the days of your life. Your TA-Da has been on my lips and puts a smile on my face during some very bad times.
    Sorry for the loss of your brother and may your appointment with the Great Physician continue to heal your body physically and spiritually.

  65. Karen January 29, 2016 at 10:44 am #

    Thank you for reminding me that even in the bad times, I’m not alone, God is with me. He is not sending troubles my way to punish me, but to have my faith in Him grow.

  66. Jan Peach January 29, 2016 at 10:44 am #

    Good Morning Liz,
    You always have a way of making me laugh and cry at the same time. Even through our difficulties I am reminded to keep my mind on Christ. As Isaiah 26:3 so plainly says, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.” Oh…to be in perfect peace…Blissful thought and possible through Christ who strengthens me. God Bless you Liz and get well soon!!!

  67. Alicia January 29, 2016 at 10:45 am #

    I can’t help but contemplate how my feelings are so much more determined by my inward attitude and perspective vs the outward circumstances that I try to blame!

  68. Judy January 29, 2016 at 10:45 am #

    Liz,
    Thanks for writing about stuff that we can all relate to, especially as we are entering our “golden” years! I, too, struggle with finding joy in everything. No problem with the big stuff, it’s always the day to day “beetles” as my hubby calls them. With encouragement such as yours and other good sisters’, sharing your own struggles and pointing me to scriptures, I’m growing every day. Thank you!
    Prayers for continued healing, sister.

  69. Renee L. January 29, 2016 at 10:46 am #

    Wow, Liz! That’s a lot to deal with, especially in one month! Thank you so much for listening to the Lord and writing this piece in spite of all you’ve been through. First, I learned we need to pray for those people we are blessed by in these blogs; that their lives are not easy. I also learned that having joy in trials is not just for our benefit, but for those in the world to see how we can deal with trials with the Lord, and not be bitter, but have joy and love. Praying you heal soon!

  70. Glenda Bolyn January 29, 2016 at 10:46 am #

    I especially enjoyed this message today and will be sharing it with a sister who has gone through so many trials the last few years; and she has been a trooper, always trusting God.
    I’m also watching a daughter and her family go through trying times financially which has been very stressful on them. I can only do much to help them but I’ve been constantly in prayer for their situation. As a parent, it hurts to see your children suffering. Imagine how God must feel when he looks down of us as we suffer! My trust is always in Him who provides all our needs.

  71. Bonnie Kuester January 29, 2016 at 10:47 am #

    Lizzie,
    It was wonderful to hear from you. I think I lost you for a while. I am so grateful for the message. It came at just the right time. I am so sorry for all your suffering but so glad God is blessing you with his love notes. I have diabetes and it is getting the best of me. I have been having a pity party and that has to stop. Thank you for your encouragement, dear one.
    We serve such a good, good Father.

  72. Cheri January 29, 2016 at 10:47 am #

    As I sit in my bed with bronchitis and a broken body I needed to hear your words today. Like you I’d hoped to start the year with a bang instead it hit me with a bang. I will be chewing on these verses for wee bit. I’m so grateful for you and the gift that God has given you. Thank you!

  73. Pam Erselius January 29, 2016 at 10:48 am #

    God has revealed to me to look to Him for strength rather than not doing anything because I can’t do it.
    If that makes sense. I’m still struggling with and learning this.
    My prayers go with you for speedy healing of your body and heart. God bless you.

  74. Jan Morton January 29, 2016 at 10:50 am #

    Good Morning Sweet Liz – I am so sorry for all your health woes the past couple of months, and for your brother’s passing too – amidst it all. Wow – you have been through it dear lady. Thank you for always finding the JOY – you make me laugh and you make me think. My word for 2016 is also LESS. What a confirmation.

    Today I prayed with a coworker who is struggling and we reminded each other that “we are not alone.” Thank you for reminding me that we indeed are not alone.

    Love the 12 verses plan – that will help me be more consistent too! CANNOT WAIT FOR WOMEN OF EASTER!!! WOO-HOO!

    Love & Prayers,
    Jan Morton

  75. Janice Reist January 29, 2016 at 10:51 am #

    Liz, I am praying for you. So sorry for ALL you have been through. I appreciate you sharing it with your friends. I love and look forward to everything I receive from you in my inbox!! You are an absolute favorite of mine. Thank you for unpacking this particular verse……count it all joy. I have learned that it’s not the trials we are experiencing that we are joyful about but the end result that those trials can bring. There lies our joy! God bless you Liz as you say yes to less.

  76. Julie January 29, 2016 at 10:52 am #

    Aw, Liz, thank YOU for sharing your heart! You’ve had quite the journey these past few months. God reminded me to “be still and know that HE is God” at various times – one being a severe foot injury over 7 years ago. I resonate so much with the feelings you shared…it’s comforting to know that I am not alone in being human sometimes. But, I kind of took it as a “Do you hear ME now?” time. Sometimes He stops us in our tracks, and when we get over the pity parties as you shared, we see Him in new ways! This post blessed me – a wonderful reminder that God is bigger than our circumstances! Praying for continued healing, rest and joy!

  77. Sandra G. January 29, 2016 at 10:52 am #

    The word perserverance comes to mind over the past few years as we navigated our son and daughter attending college. With our daughter I often said “if the Lord wants you to complete your degree, He will make a way”. And you know what? He did. He constantly provided for us in various ways from a job change for me to us working hard to help our daughter meet scholarship deadlines. Now our son is in college. And again we are all working hard to help him be successful. The Lord is teaching us as parents perserverance again and meeting the various needs our son has from a job to learning the value of the dollar. I definately feel joyous when I consider how the Lord has provided for us.

  78. PamC January 29, 2016 at 10:52 am #

    It’s so hard at times to even look for joy. Thank you for sharing your triumph & perserverence. It’s an example to cling onto.

  79. Nichole Ridner January 29, 2016 at 10:52 am #

    What an encourager you are to me when you are utterly honest. Thank you!

    ” When our lives are going well, others may credit our happy state to good luck or to being in the right place at the right time. But when all is not well and we’re still joyful, praising God for His faithfulness? Friend, that gets people’s attention.”

    This is the golden nugget of wisdom for me. Now, I need to turn it into my daily prayer.

  80. Cheryl January 29, 2016 at 10:52 am #

    Thank you, Liz, for sharing. My take-away thought builds on another lesson God has been teaching me. I am working on re-thinking the way I look at things. Instead of “I have to . . . clean the house, go to work, or (in your case, have the surgeries),” I now think of it as “I GET to”. I “get” to clean my house because God has provided one for me. I “get” to go to work; there are many others who would like to be doing that. I “get” to have the surgeries; for so many in our world, those are not possible. The list goes on and on. By looking at things from the perspective of “I get to” rather than “I have to” has increased my gratitude level tremendously!

  81. Connie Johnson January 29, 2016 at 10:54 am #

    Your post today was a good reminder for me to give credit where credit is due…to Him! I don’t often think about people thinking that my peace during trials is due to good luck or just being in the right place at the right time. This is especially important right now as I’m reminded there is at least one watching my life. Thank you for reminding me to open my mouth. All praise to Him!

  82. Debra Orr January 29, 2016 at 10:55 am #

    Dear Liz,

    I love love love your posts. They are spot on all the time. Our pastor’s sermon last Sunday was about this same subject. What confirmation!
    God bless you and family for a healthy and joyful 2016.
    My prayer is whatever trials, I will be found faithful and joyful!

  83. Susan C January 29, 2016 at 10:55 am #

    Thank you, Liz! Your words are another affirmation of the path I’m embarking on for 2016 – looking for the blessings in every day. “Choose joy” was the theme of my dear friend’s daughter as she spoke at the memorial for her 22 year old brother. I purpose to do this both to honor my God and in memory of this fine young man whom I loved like he was my own son.

  84. Dana Qualls January 29, 2016 at 10:55 am #

    What I learned from this post? Oh my. This was very timely. Over my desk is the verse I have lived by since December 4 when my husband passed out and put a hole in my dining room wall with his head. “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer,” Rom. 12:12. Your verse goes hand in hand with mine. I too felt sorry for myself right up until I got this verse dropped in my lap from my computer. Fear and anxiety had wrapped their hairy little tentacles tight around my heart.

    It isn’t the size of our situation that matters. It’s the size of our God, and HE IS HUGE.

    Perfect! Thank you so much Liz. And I am looking forward to spending once a month getting caught up with you. You are a blessing!

  85. Karen January 29, 2016 at 10:56 am #

    Thank you, Liz, for always being so transparent to your readers. It always helps me to realize we all have our own share of struggles and that if we open our hearts to the Lord for guidance we will make it through each of them.

  86. Sondra McCarty January 29, 2016 at 10:57 am #

    Thanks for the reminder my friend that JOY is a choice. I too have many physical difficulties and find it easy to be depressed and frustrated rather than look for the joy in each situation. Look for the good and what God would have me glean when I am down and out. It started with being in a body cast the first 9 years of my life and has continued with many surgeries, body part replacements, 5 way bypass surgery and on and on. The Joy of the Lord is my strength. So grateful for the reminder and encouragement you offer. Prayers anound for you sweet sister. Blessings

  87. KariB January 29, 2016 at 10:57 am #

    This truly a confirmation of what the Lord has been speaking to me for this year. The joy of the Lord is our strength sisters, let’s be filled with lots of it! God bless Liz, keeping you in my prayers lady??????

  88. Susan January 29, 2016 at 10:59 am #

    Exactly what I needed to be reminded of as I finish chemo and gear up for radiation.

  89. Lee Sonnier January 29, 2016 at 10:59 am #

    God Bless you Mrs. Liz! Thank you for always speaking to my heart just what our faithful Heavenly Father would want me to know….that He so deeply loves me no matter how I mess up or how I look or feel!! God is so very good All the time…And All the time Our God is soooo very Good!!!! I pray for healing and strength in your body and today and always my precious sister of Christ.

  90. Tammi January 29, 2016 at 10:59 am #

    Thank you so much for this lovely reminder to stay focused on God’s goal of growing our Faith through times of trial. My family too had a trying season from Thanksgiving through the new year and as I look back over those months I can now see how he provided and molded me to be even more compassionate and FAITH FILLED! Many Blessings to you this new year Liz!

    Your Sister in Christ,
    Tammi

  91. Sandy January 29, 2016 at 10:59 am #

    Just how important it is to remember to keep joy despite circumstances. Very timely as I sit at the hospital with my son in surgery!

  92. Pam January 29, 2016 at 11:00 am #

    Thank you for your encouragement, Liz. This is a timely subject. We are ‘going live’ with a new computer system on Monday. We (our department) has been stressed with the learning of so many new — and different — ways to do our work. Our patience has run slim. Tensions have run rampant. What a good reminder that we all will go through trials and that we need to ‘count it all joy’. I shared this with a co-worker, as my ‘positive’, and he responded in kind. (We have been told, over the last many months to keep positive, as who wants to hear a lot of complaining? No one.) Thank you for the timely ‘positive’ — just when we need it here at work! Thank you again!

  93. Jill January 29, 2016 at 11:01 am #

    Thanks for this post this morning, I thought I was having a bad morning but you put it all in perspective for me. the day will get better from here. God bless you and heal you in 2016 my friend.

  94. Cyndee P January 29, 2016 at 11:01 am #

    I was sitting here feeling sorry for myself. Then I decided to check my emails and yours was on the top of the list. I wish you GOD’s speed in recovering! I am always amazed that GOD’s hand is guiding you to give his message to me! Thanks for allowing me a peek into your life.

  95. Sheryl January 29, 2016 at 11:01 am #

    God is bigger than anything we may be dealing with. Thanks for the reminder.

  96. Beverly January 29, 2016 at 11:03 am #

    Earlier this morning I was praying and questioning God about the pain I am in and the struggles I face. Liz, you sharing of your own struggles, and how you manage to find joy in them is such an encouragement. I too will persevere and find joy. Thank you for your encouragement. Prayers for complete healing and better helath for you in 2016!

  97. martha January 29, 2016 at 11:04 am #

    I was so grateful to read your letter, I needed your encouragement because I’ve just been diagnosed with multi maloma, sadly there’s no cure and life expectancy isn’t very long but I’m keeping my head high because I truly know who”s in control of the situation. He’s my rock , I’d be lost without Him, literally. He’s given me peace about the situation. Thank you for your words of encouragement, praying God’s blessings to you and your family.

  98. Caroline January 29, 2016 at 11:04 am #

    Liz, I am so thankful for the wisdom our Lord has gifted to you. This post was just what I needed in this season when the joy of our lives can become overshadowed by, well… Our lives! Grateful that you are on the mend and back “on the road” sharing your encouragement with other women and I will keep you in prayer as you journey into the new year! Thanks be to God for the blessing you are to so many women! God bless, Liz!???

  99. Susan January 29, 2016 at 11:04 am #

    When others ask from where my peace comes, I need to let them know that it comes from God and nothing I have done!

  100. Connie R. January 29, 2016 at 11:05 am #

    I’m not going through anything in particular, and nothing like the health trials you are having. But your words resonate because isn’t it the small things in life that add up and make us have pity parties? Other people, yourself included, are having hospital stays, work woes or lack of work altogether, deaths of loved ones….etc. And while God is active in bigger situations, it’s such a comfort to realize that God is in every single little thing that involves us. In the dailies, in the big stuff, in it all, He is constant, faithful and vigilant. We just have to look up and out to see Him. Thanks for the reminder.

  101. Laura January 29, 2016 at 11:08 am #

    Liz, I’m sorry to her about your health issues and will be praying for a quick recovery for you.
    Just 4 days ago, I found myself with severe chest pains and went to the ER thinking I was having a heart attack. The docs had just told me I had to be admitted so my husband went to the store to get me a toothbrush! A woman was placed in the bed next to mine and although I couldn’t see her, boy could I hear her! She was obviously in severe pain. I began to pray for her relief from the pain. Over the course of the next hour, I heard her entire life story 3 times. On the third time, she was talking to the nurse who had told us which church she attends. This wonderful nurse began telling her how much God loves her and has a plan for her life. Then she began to pray for her. That nurse led that young woman to the Lord. Right there in the ER. While I had been feeling sorry for myself and was upset that I wouldn’t be able to go home to my nice, soft bed and quiet bedroom, God was working. He showed me that He is there and that joy does come from trials. So thank you for the follow-up reminder from the Lord that even though we endure trials, they happen for a reason and that reason is so that we can give God all the glory. God bless you!

  102. Sandra January 29, 2016 at 11:08 am #

    My heart goes out to you on the loss of your brother and dealing with your medical issues, Liz.

    The verses you shared really put my situation in a new perspective. Just before Thanksgiving I quit a job that was killing my soul even though I didn’t have another lined up. It was a definite leap of faith. Two months later, I still haven’t found a new job and it is severely testing an already strained marriage.

    Even though I have been praying daily for God to lead me to the job where I can use the gifts and talents he has blessed me with, my intensive job search has yielded nothing. I had begun to despair and wonder when, or if, he would deliver me.

    Thank you for reminding me that this is his way of helping me to grow and preparing me for the work ahead. God bless you for the timely message.

  103. Eileen F January 29, 2016 at 11:09 am #

    The timeliness of your subject is breathtaking to me though truly answering the call to receive my burdens joyfully is more than I can do with 100% honesty. I’ve striven to be ‘not negative’ and have met that measure. Perhaps that’s a starting place. What has been revealed to me is that I WILL be coming through this fallow season and face abundance again. I would love the adult coloring book; little hope I’d win it. Can it be purchased? If so, where and how?

  104. Lisa January 29, 2016 at 11:09 am #

    Thank you for reminding me to get ‘out of myself’, to see Christ and His love all around me.

  105. Amy January 29, 2016 at 11:11 am #

    Thanks for reminding me that when all is not well I should still be joyful, & praise God for His faithfulness so other will see HIM in me!

  106. Lisa January 29, 2016 at 11:11 am #

    Liz, you may not believe this……this morning we found out my husband lost his job. This was after my teenage son exploded in anger at the breakfast table and a couple of weeks following a physical assault on my daughter, who is suffering from an eating disorder. My husband’s job loss feels like the final straw. BUT, I was encouraged to take heart after reading your blog. Thank you for the scriptural reminder that God is in control and I need to cling to Him and hang on to joy.

  107. Tammy January 29, 2016 at 11:12 am #

    Make perseverance our method and maturity our goal…wow! Now that’s a prayer! Thanks for sowing such wisdom into my life. Praying for you!

  108. Debbie January 29, 2016 at 11:13 am #

    These verses from James were some of the verses that helped me through the illness and passing of my husband in 2014. Through my trials, I have been able to reach out to others who have lost their spouse. God is faithful and good.

  109. Crystal January 29, 2016 at 11:13 am #

    Thank you so much for sharing your struggles with us, Liz. I know I will be praying for your continued recovery. Thanks for all that you do for all of us in His name.

  110. Sharon January 29, 2016 at 11:14 am #

    Thanks Liz for going through your trials with a smile! In my reading today, I Peter 1:9 hit me as others going through trials too. What a revelation? Seeing the JOYS is so uplifting. Thanks for writing and being real. Love and hugs!

    • Sharon January 29, 2016 at 11:15 am #

      Oops that was I Peter 5:9 reference. . . JOY can’t even get that correctly. . . senior moment!

  111. Anita Lindeman January 29, 2016 at 11:16 am #

    I have heard you speak on several occasions at different retreats and I love your honesty and openness! It relates to so many of us and I appreciate that so much. God is good and worthy to be praised! Right now, life is good and I feel blessed, but winter blahs set in in just a matter of hours and can take me into the pits. It is good to read your words of encouragement and remember that God is testing us and reminding us that his testing does produce perseverance! My daughter’s house was flooded 2 times in April and she never got discouraged, but new God was in control and would take care of them. He always comes through and blesses us bigger and better, just like Job! My daughter and her family now have a beautiful new house overlooking her pond! I call it my peaceful place! A great place to read, fish or relax. You should come and check it out! God bless. Anita

  112. Teri Sullivan January 29, 2016 at 11:17 am #

    Thank you for sharing your struggles and words of encouragement. Your words ministered to my heart – my word for the year is joy and it started off with some hard things that I’m finding it hard to find joy in – a great reminder to persevere . I want to not only feel joy but show it so others may see Him through me. Blessings to you!

  113. Kristine January 29, 2016 at 11:17 am #

    I’ve had a number of encouragements lately to “persevere and count it all joy”, and after a relatively quiet 2015, I was struck by the realization that it’s highly likely that God is preparing me in advance for more testing and trials. We don’t often have long stretches to rest, so THANK-YOU for the timely word of encouragement as we head into 2016!

  114. Sally Dasto January 29, 2016 at 11:19 am #

    As I lie here in my bed recovering from major surgery this devotion was just what I needed. Perseverance & finding joy are the keys! Thank you for sharing your struggles.

  115. brooke January 29, 2016 at 11:20 am #

    May God continue to give you His words to speak into the lives of women around the world! Thank you for being faithful to His call in your life, whatever that looks like. Thank you for being “real” to all of us that too struggle with our heart attitudes. Thank you for pointing us back to the Word in all you do! 🙂 He is faithful in ALL circumstances…Thank you Lord!

  116. Betty January 29, 2016 at 11:20 am #

    I am so glad that I hooked up with your website yesterday. Liz, you are one of my favorite writers. God always blesses others in the truths that you share. You are so down to earth and so humorous. It makes it easier to relate to the truth, when you know others experience the same trials as yourself. What an encouragement you are to me and to so many others. God has also impressed upon my heart to get back to a “simple” life, a life with less clutter, less stuff, etc., and spend more time with Him. thank you for sharing your life, your thoughts with your readers.

  117. Nancy R January 29, 2016 at 11:20 am #

    I’m sitting in the hospital waiting for my ECT treatment for my severe depression, thankful for my improvement, thankful for God’s daily presence in my life, thankful for His love.

  118. Debbie Herndon January 29, 2016 at 11:21 am #

    Prayers for continued healing for you and thank you for sharing with us that everyone gets the pity party going but you can snap out of it with God’s help if you listen to him. All things are possible with him. Sometimes it takes a lot of trials and tribulations to realize that but when we do it’s that aha moment you never forget, you misplace it sometimes but you find it more quickly than ever before. Thank you for being YOU and sharing with us!

  119. Angie January 29, 2016 at 11:23 am #

    Thanks for being open, honest and transparent. Sometimes you feel like you are the only one with a target on your back. Right after the first of the year, I adopted a prayer from one of the Proverbs 31 ladies. It’s about God shaking me up, rattling my doubts, taking my eyes off of my own capabilities. Man, as soon as I started praying it everyday, the bulls eye on my back must have glowed neon. Reading your post, books and studies really lifts me up and gives me encouragement. I will be praying for you as well Miss Lizzy.

  120. Susan January 29, 2016 at 11:23 am #

    Thank you for posting your recent “pity party”. I, too, have been playing that pity role. I appreciate your reminding me that God is much bigger than my problems. Here’s to a new God-filled year!

  121. Sue Thomas January 29, 2016 at 11:24 am #

    Thanks for the reminders Liz – I sure needed them – prayers for your speedy recovery and God’s peace in the loss of your brother –

  122. Lori Noe January 29, 2016 at 11:25 am #

    Thank you so much for your words of encouragement. Hope your new year finds you healthy and sassy as always.

    God Bless,

    Lori

  123. Rhonda January 29, 2016 at 11:26 am #

    Thank you for being real. I need to resolve to not give in to self pity but practice self control instead, and choose joy! So thankful that God’s mercys are new every morning.

  124. Linda January 29, 2016 at 11:26 am #

    Your message reminds me of my niece. She deals with lupus and all the attendant problems with grace and total trust. Even on the really hard days her trust is in God. Thank you for sharing.

  125. Janet C. January 29, 2016 at 11:27 am #

    Hello Liz,

    Thank you for sharing your story and providing such encouraging words. James 1:3 says it all “for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness”. This has given me hope to wake up, go to work, take care of my family the best I can and remember to thank God every day for “everything” in life. Never give up, because God is always there with you!
    Blessings always to you Liz and your family!
    Blessings always to Everyone!

    Janet C.

  126. Cathy January 29, 2016 at 11:27 am #

    Liz, your candor in admitting when you’ve “fallen short” of realizing your blessings (and don’t we all???) is always a wonderful reminder to seek joy in all our circumstances. Thank you again for another opportunity to tell you so, and to remind myself to see the joy in all God provides. Blessings, Cathy

  127. LindaCC January 29, 2016 at 11:27 am #

    So sorry to hear about all your health issues…been praying for you, now I know why! What got my attention in your post today was to count my blessings, not my burdens. Oh how easy to see the things we don’t like. Thanks for the reminder and get well very soon! Wishing you a much healthier new year!

  128. Senda January 29, 2016 at 11:27 am #

    Thanks Liz for your words. I have always liked what the Book of James has to say. Your words are a gentle reminder that I need to add James to my daily devotional.
    Have a great day!

  129. Jaime January 29, 2016 at 11:28 am #

    So glad you’re back in my inbox. I needed this today. I’ll keep you in prayer.

  130. Beverly January 29, 2016 at 11:29 am #

    I’m so sorry for all your trials. Thank you for your encouraging words. God gives us the strength during those times though we may not realize it when we are feeling so sorry for ourselves as we all do at times.

  131. karen woodhull January 29, 2016 at 11:29 am #

    Thank you for such encouraging words! The Lord is showing me that He really loves me, and I am free to love others because of His great love for me. This gives me a new heart for the unsaved and to see them as lost souls that God loves very much.

  132. Bonnie January 29, 2016 at 11:32 am #

    I’m sorry to hear about all health problems and the loss in your family. I’m encouraged by the way you handled the difficulties. May 2016 be a new beginning ! God bless you and your ministry.

  133. Peggy January 29, 2016 at 11:33 am #

    Dear, sweet Liz! I’m so sorry to hear all that you were going through. Sometimes the trials pile up and it seems we will never see the crest to slide back down to normalcy. I am praying now asking God, who is not limited by time as we are, to reach back and encourage you more. May your recovery go well and His joy be your strength renewed tenfold.

  134. Dawn Webb January 29, 2016 at 11:34 am #

    Thank you Liz for that inspirational message. I myself am going through so tough times right now but it has brought me closer to God and I think I am going to make it through. May God bless you with good health and kind words.

  135. Maria Hymes January 29, 2016 at 11:35 am #

    God has a sense of humor. I always said I NEVER wanted to be a nurse. I hated hospitals, needles, etc. When my husband went into kidney failure in 2012, I became a home nurse to him. He had to do dialysis at home and had to receive shots, and I was the one to set up the dialysis and give him shots and take care of his medication. Praise the LORD this past August 2015 he received a new kidney and is no longer on dialysis. Now I just take care of his Meds and him as well. I never thought I could do those things, yet by the grace of God He enabled me, because through Him is the ONLY way I can get through anything!

  136. bonnie January 29, 2016 at 11:37 am #

    Lizzie, Thank you so much for your latest blog…we all need to count it all joy, don’t we, when the going gets hard…taking every thought captive and keeping our eyes on Him…
    You reminded me that my circumstances are temporary, and He is growing me into more of His image through my storms…Bless you, dear sister! I would love to color with you sometime!

  137. Sheri (from Modesto, Ca.) January 29, 2016 at 11:38 am #

    Hi, Liz. Thanks for reminding me again to count the trials and temptations as opportunities for God to grow me the way He wants me to be. I hope you get completely well soon to be further used by our great God.

  138. Alison January 29, 2016 at 11:40 am #

    Hey Liz, thank you so much for this email. It is EXACTLY what I needed to hear! It has been a Hell of a new year.
    I am going through such a hard time right now. I spoke up about some issues I saw at work and within two weeks of that was framed and fired over false accusations. I’m currently in the appeal process so would apprecuate all the prayers that I can get. This message is such an encouragement and rejuvenates my soul! You are truly a GOD SEND!

  139. Bethany Baldwin January 29, 2016 at 11:41 am #

    It’s hard for me to say exactly the answer… God sometimes reveals things and I don’t even realize it. He’s shown me that what others think for my life isn’t important, it’s His plans that matter.

  140. Edie January 29, 2016 at 11:42 am #

    Sometimes God puts us on our backs so we look up to Him.
    We never like those moments of pain and loss and trials but we just hold onto to Him and know He knows best for us. And sometimes it affects us but is meant for others to see and grow in trust and faith.

  141. Susan January 29, 2016 at 11:42 am #

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Just reading the title, “You are not alone”, was an encouragement to me let alone reading the rest. I met with a counselor for the first time yesterday as I have felt Very alone for a long time now. Thank you for sharing truth at a time when I very much needed it.

  142. Barbara Sefranek January 29, 2016 at 11:43 am #

    You’ve been in my thoughts lately because I sensed you were not doing well. I so appreciate your update and your testimony of perseverance through the tough times and the pain of illnesses. Finding, keeping and centering on joy during it all is a lesson we all need to learn over and over. May His healing power restore your body to continue your journey. And “less” can be more!

  143. Tammy Stephens January 29, 2016 at 11:46 am #

    Thank you for the reminder that it’s easy to get down and discouraged in the midst of all of life’s trials but those trials only last for a while and God is always there with us to sustain us through those times and that is reason enough to have a joyful heart!

  144. Rachelle January 29, 2016 at 11:46 am #

    Thanks for the study and your sharing your heart with us and even your call to “less.” I was encouraged by your words about joy and loved the image of you drawing happy faces on the mirror. The giveaway sounds fun for whoever wins. 🙂

  145. Katie January 29, 2016 at 11:46 am #

    Liz, thanks for sharing. I can relate to your experience. God is good in all circumstances that are bad 🙂 in this world we will face many trials,but Jesus has overcome the world so we have too. I love your writing!!! You have such a great sense of humor!

  146. Renee January 29, 2016 at 11:48 am #

    Thank you for your transparent thoughts. My husband was very sick about a year ago ( better now) – in and out of the E. R. and had a 7 day hopsital stay. You just never know how is watching you…My own children thanked me for standing by Dad during all of these dark days…
    I just hemmed and hawwed about it and finally said,,yeah but..you didnt see me when I wanted to kill him…( ouch )…and they said, Yeah, but Mom you didnt kill him! Very thankful for the Lord of second etc chances.

  147. marybeth January 29, 2016 at 11:51 am #

    I was moved by the comment you made about missing the big picture. I have been doing a bible study on 1000 blessings and I am starting to see that more blessings come from adversity. My prayer is to have a heart soft enough to be open to seeing all blessings in all situations.

  148. Cindy Weaver January 29, 2016 at 11:53 am #

    Because of difficult circumstances my husband resigned from a church that we loved and served at for more than 15 years. We took sabbatical time and have used it for rest, but also to search for a new pastoral position; which has proved difficult due to his close proximity to retirement age. My emotions can only be described as a roller coaster ride. Finding joy in our situation hasn’t been easy. I love your comment: “It isn’t the size of our situation that matters. It is the size of our God, and HE IS HUGE.” (Caps are my emphasis). I am reminded of His size each day as I lean on Him for strength and guidance. He is my joy! Thanks for your encouraging words, Liz.

  149. Susan McKim January 29, 2016 at 11:53 am #

    Like you, I had a challenging holiday season. It ramped up again yesterday, and today was THE day I needed your words of encouragement. Just as I was getting ready to explode over another well-meaning but irritating “God doesn’t give you more than you can bear” comment, I saw your e-mail. How I love your response to washing your hair in the sink! I have learned that more is not always better. And I need to start drawing a few happy faces everywhere I go. The giveaway sounds wonderful. I suppose the cat is not included.

  150. Susan Schmidt January 29, 2016 at 11:55 am #

    I, like another have not read your email post for some time. Interesting how I decided to read this one. Many times I have thought God doesn’t really speak to me, but He does, through you, and many other avenues. What I take away from your post is if my focus is in the right place, then I will see, and hear God speak to me in so many things. I have had so many health issues, but thank God He brings me through. Thank you for being open to share your story.

  151. Alice Robertson-Colton January 29, 2016 at 11:59 am #

    Oh, Liz, I’m so sorry for all the pain you’ve been through! But, I’m so thankful it hasn’t erased your joy and love of the Lord. I have always been healthy and high energy — until this year. I’m 76 and my body is changing. I’ve had one cataract removed and am scheduled for the second one soon. A tendon in my foot gave up and I had a very complicated foot surgery in September 2015. Now it’s January 2016 and I’m just getting back on my feet, but of course the next thing has popped up and like you I’m getting a new knee. During this time of recuperation, our book club read BEING MORTAL by Dr. Atul Gawande. It made me realize that having my body slowly fall apart is part of God’s plan to get me to the shore so I can come home to him and experience the joy of seeing him face to face. No more pain, no more tears, only praise and glory in his presence! I’m not going any place soon, but I am realizing that physical difficulties are part of the normal plan. I’m going to stop fussing and enjoy this wonderful life he’s given me!!! And look forward to the next step getting me closer to HIM.

  152. Keri Lyn January 29, 2016 at 12:02 pm #

    Thank you, Liz, for reminding me to refocus, this seems to be a point God wants me to keep practicing.

  153. Verna January 29, 2016 at 12:02 pm #

    So thankful for your willingness to share – always. The one thing that especially spoke to me is the possibility that “less” is a direction from the Lord and not just a short coming on my part. Prayers for your health and healing. Dream of going to Scotland with you someday

  154. Karen January 29, 2016 at 12:07 pm #

    I was very sorry to hear about the difficult season you are having. I just wanted to let you know I am the Faith Filled Women’s prayer team leader here in Salisbury, and we’ve been praying for you–and now that I am aware of more specific needs, I just sent this link and a request for prayer to the team. We look forward to having you here in Salisbury in March. May God bless you and make you stronger every day!

  155. Karen Hadley January 29, 2016 at 12:08 pm #

    This week has been emotionally draining in dealing with an situation with my youngest son. Thank You for the reminder that I am not alone.
    God reminds me of 2 Chronicles 20:17 “But you will not even need to fight. Take your positions; then stand still and watch the Lord’s victory. He is with you, O people of Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid or discouraged. Go out there tomorrow, for the Lord is with you.”
    (Read the whole chapter, God is truly with us.)

  156. Bryanna Stocker January 29, 2016 at 12:09 pm #

    Your emails always encourage me, thank you. I have been dwelling too much on my problems and not relying on God to get me through them. I have been impatient and irritable because I can’t see a solution when I could have been trusting God and receiving His peace of mind. Thank you so much Liz for your reminder to trust in God especially when it’s tough.

  157. Robyn January 29, 2016 at 12:11 pm #

    As a single momom of an adopted daughter from a hard place…it is hard and I often forget to be joyful during the hard times. This is a great reminder!!!

  158. Rebecca Pickett January 29, 2016 at 12:15 pm #

    Liz, so sorry to hear about all your hard times at once! But thrilled to hear that you leaned hard on God during the hard times.

    This very morning I was talking to my daughter about perseverance and planning with regard to her school work. This message is God’s perfect timing! And I’ll use the references in discussion with my daughter tonight. Thank you! I’m praying for your recovery and comfort.

  159. Nancy January 29, 2016 at 12:15 pm #

    Thank you, Liz. We had a break- in to our house last week and as unsettling as it was ( my purse, iPad, cash, gift cards, important personal “stuff” and my car out out of my garage), I thank God that He gave me so much to be thankful for…for what the burglars left behind. The dog was still safe in his kennel, no one was home at the time, my guitar was not touched and no physical damage was done. I am so thankful that my car was found and it was not damaged. I know that God gave my husband and I a very calm response to this situation and I pray because we recognize the loss is only temporal stuff, we are moving on easily. It has helped us today as we face my in-laws declining health when we are too far away to take care of them. God provides in all circumstances. He has opened doors we never expected and provided for our needs as well as those of our family.

    Joy must be our response! I pray you continue to heal and touch others’ lives in your story.

  160. Cristi January 29, 2016 at 12:16 pm #

    Liz, your message hit home for me today. I need to stop letting my troubles steal my joy. I enjoy reading your messages and am looking forward to the monthly emails.

  161. Crystal January 29, 2016 at 12:18 pm #

    Oh Liz, I hear your heart in this. Counting it all joy is difficult. After my mother passed away last year the Lord kept impressing on my heart to fight for joy, even though that was the last thing I was feeling. For me, when it came right down to it, thankfulness is what took me out of the state of depression back into a heart of joy. Thanking God for everything I could think of has changed me immensely. Thank you for the great post! I love receiving your emails!

  162. Mimi McDonough January 29, 2016 at 12:19 pm #

    Liz, thank you for your transparency, humor, and encouraging words. You are such a wonderful testimony on how to navigate through life’s challenges.
    I am intentionally choosing joy this year and intentionally looking at the blessings in all things.
    May your recovery be smooth and complete.
    God bless you!

  163. Laurel Shaler January 29, 2016 at 12:19 pm #

    Dearest Liz, Thank-you for catching us up to speed with your life. Please accept my sincerest sympathies for the loss of your brother and for your health problems. I’ll be praying for you. During difficult seasons of my life, God gently whispers to me that this suffering is temporary. Praise God for that!

  164. Becky Foutz January 29, 2016 at 12:24 pm #

    As I read the verses from James that you quoted, I was reminded that although Jesus gives us joy, it is up to us to appropriate it for ourselves. It will only become part of my perspective if I choose to make it that. So for this New Year that is what I choose, to make His joy my own.

  165. Heather January 29, 2016 at 12:25 pm #

    Just what I needed to hear today! Thank you for sharing and may God bless us all as we try to see the abundant good He brings into our lives each and every day 🙂

  166. Diana Wilson January 29, 2016 at 12:25 pm #

    So sad you have had a season of sorrows and woe..but we know from God’s word that joy comes in the morning. Hope it is morning for you now. May you never lose your wonderful sense of humor and your beautiful spirit.

    Favorite statement in your message: It’s not the size of the problem that counts, but rather the size of our God and He’s HUGE!

    It is so vital that we refocus!

  167. Winnie Dyess January 29, 2016 at 12:28 pm #

    I so enjoyed today’s devotion. As I have been working on some bookkeeping to close out 2015 this scripture and your suffering brought these thoughts to me by Holy Spirit.
    The word Count is an accounting word–in the ledger we are to put every trial/suffering/test in this column Heading JOY.
    When it all added up the outcome is Perserverance/Endurance. the by-product of trials.
    As recorded in Hebrews, Jesus endured buy keeping His eyes on the Joy set before Him.

  168. Paula January 29, 2016 at 12:29 pm #

    Sweet Liz, precious one. Your rays of sunshine, even through your pain and illnesses, are lights into my soul. You touched my heartstrings for the first time in 1995 when you came to our church in High Point, NC for a women’s conference. My husband had died that year and I had lost my laugh. You not only located for me but allowed me to exercise it back to health during that awesome weekend. My prayers are for your peace and comfort during your healing. My hope is that you will know we understand when you must delay or omit a promised post. We love you, Liz. We love spending time with you. But your health must come first. We’ll be right here waiting when you can join us again. Prayers and much love.

  169. Kathy January 29, 2016 at 12:30 pm #

    Liz, so sorry to hear of your challenges this season. Praying for your full recovery soon. This was a very inspirational post. I think we all need reminding that everyone goes through valleys and forget to look up and focus on God, and let him deliver us comfort as only he can. This has been a very challenging week for our small congregation as we buried a 38 week stillborn that had been waited on for 5 years by lovely parents and then the other end of the spectrum a 101 yr old lady who praised God until he called her. Taking some quiet time and reflecting it was evident of Gods presence and our need to preserve. Thank you for you insite today. May God bless!

  170. Connie Lawson January 29, 2016 at 12:32 pm #

    Wow Lizzie you’ve had a time of it but I’m so overjoyed my dear sweet sister that you are believer that KNOWS who walks through those fires with you. We had many losses in the second half of 2015 and while I’m so happy that they each get to see the face of Jesus, it’s pretty stinkin hard for us still here :-). What a sweet idea to bless someone with an adult coloring book, that is sooooooooooooo like you. I love the name . . . Whatever Is Lovely: A Coloring Book for Reflection and Worship. God showed me in so many ways last year that He is with us at the mountain top and in the lowest of valleys. He loves us wherever we are and praise God – – refuses to leave us there. Praying for you and hoping to see you in 2016.

  171. Beverly January 29, 2016 at 12:32 pm #

    Thank you for blessing us by sharing your life walk. We are sometimes too busy caring and nurturing others to pause and realize our life walks are full of similar struggles. Some how we focus on our weaknesses as being ours alone. Thank Father God for His word to guide and encourage us and our Christian family to share in our walk.

  172. Beth Nagy January 29, 2016 at 12:33 pm #

    Thanks, Liz,
    I really needed to hear those words this morning. Was having a bit of a pity party this morning dealing with some frustrations. It was good to be reminded that (1) my little frustrations are truly that “little” and (2) my God has it all figured out and I need to trust Him.
    Thanks again for your words and thoughts. I’ll keep you in my prayers as you continue to recover.

  173. MS Barb January 29, 2016 at 12:34 pm #

    THANKS for sharing! When I had a knee replacement 5 yrs ago, I got a blood clot, & ended up in an archaic nursing home, with a manual type bed! (I told people it had come over on the ark!) I was so upset staying there, but GOD, was faithful & I was released to go home the day B/4 Thanksgiving! When things hit us in clumps, it’s so easy to get overwhelmed–THANK YOU for sharing about how you looked for the humor in your situation!

  174. Laurie Leiser January 29, 2016 at 12:35 pm #

    It’s all in the timing isn’t it? I am struggling with a husband who is slipping into that Great Goodnight. Your references to faith during trials was THE word that I needed this morning. Yes, there is joy, unspeakable.

    And congrats on receiving the word to slow down. Could you pass it along?

  175. Raquel January 29, 2016 at 12:35 pm #

    Good morning Ms. Liz! 2016 has started as a challenging year. Our home was broken into and my husband walked in on the intruder. The intruder held a gun to my husband but Praise THE LORD, he was not harmed physically. The Scripture that has become so real to me in the past several months is, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives” Genesis 50:20. The intruder has not been caught but we are so diligent in praying for his salvation.

    The Lord is Good! Blessings to you!

  176. Becky Frame January 29, 2016 at 12:36 pm #

    I’d stopped sharing because I didn’t want to be a whiner. But if my sharing is accompanied by praise to God, I’m not whining. I’m encouraging others. So that’s happy.

  177. Debbie January 29, 2016 at 12:37 pm #

    Thank you Liz for being so open and sharing with us. Through your study, I realized how I was looking at my circumstances is self pity and what that must look like to those around me. I just love how you changed your attitude to seeing the humorous side of your situation. Your study is making me look at myself and I am thankful for you.

  178. Margaret Mayfield January 29, 2016 at 12:38 pm #

    Yes! Joy is a choice! Thanks for the reminder.

  179. Tricia January 29, 2016 at 12:38 pm #

    Joy in sorrow and strife is so hard to accomplish on my own…….Praise God he is the one that carries me through it all!!! Through Him all things are possible.
    love you Liz!!

  180. gena January 29, 2016 at 12:39 pm #

    The last 4 months of last year were kind of like yours… from a co-worker committing suicide on Sept 27 then 2 weeks later losing two more co-workers to medical problems, which was totally unexpected; my son being admitted to the Psych ward threatening suicide because of a girl friend and then he and our 2 year old granddaughter moving in with us. It was quite the season! To say that I stumbled through the holidays is putting it lightly, but this is the verse that always seems to resonate through me… Count it all joy… in everything there is something good. It’s not always easy to remember, but when we do, it makes things a lot easier to get through. Thank you Lord for ALWAYS being there with me!!!

  181. Diana Ramey January 29, 2016 at 12:39 pm #

    Since my dad died in August, I have had to take over the care for my mother. It is very trying. We don’t get along very well so the days are very hard. Lots of prayers have been very helpful, but still very hard, so this was wonderful, thanks.

  182. Pam January 29, 2016 at 12:39 pm #

    Liz,
    I love your posts and my first response was oh no, not a weekly email? But as I read further, I understand how you are following what the Lord is telling you to do. This is your season of less. I get that. And, I will look forward to your monthly posts! Thanks for being open about your health issues. And, even though I do not personally know you, I can just imagine you drawing on the mirror. It really made me smile today. I am going to try and remember this when I have my issues, as there are many. Thanks for the post as I have been missing my “Lizzy” emails. Blessing on your day, and I will keep you in my prayers.

  183. Poetkitty January 29, 2016 at 12:40 pm #

    I am overjoyed to begin reading this blog today, January 29, 2016. I subscribed a while ago but have been too ‘down’ to read anything.
    I am in the process of divorce, I am 60, and I am very sad. I have been
    saying “What now, Lord?” Your blog today has helped me get things in perspective, take one last hard look at all the disappointments and heartaches of the past, then begin to let it all go. All things lovely! Yes,
    I have been writing about this a great deal, and I read that particular
    scripture often. So what now? All things lovely, a renewed mind,
    peace about the future, and a heart open to whatever God sends my
    way so that I may be of service to Him. As always, laughter is the best medicine, and keeping my hand in His. Thank you, Liz. I have never told you how much I love your writing, so now I will. All your novels have been a pleasure and a blessing to me! God Bless you
    and keep you always. I will continue to read your monthly blog.

  184. Rebecca McGlone January 29, 2016 at 12:42 pm #

    Dear Liz,
    Thank you for all of your books and devotionals, most especially for today’s. My son passed away almost three years ago, and for the past few days I’ve felt that pit in my stomach and a drowning sensation that envelopes me to my core. You reminded me to LOOK for my joy. Love you bunches and always praying for you.

  185. Julie Walker January 29, 2016 at 12:50 pm #

    Just what I needed to “hear” today. Bad day yesterday with me having a migraine and hubby getting t-boned after he had had a bad day at work; thankfully no injuries and rig had minor damage that can be easily fixed. I felt like the world was crashing down around me. However, today, joyful that hubby is still with me and no serious damage. Thank you Liz for this post which lifts me up and gives me strength.

  186. Joan January 29, 2016 at 12:53 pm #

    Dear Liz, I had felt in my spirit something was wrong. I just didn’t know what. It’s not like you to be “silent” so long. Praying you will continue to regain strength and be 100% in God’s timing. May God’s presence be even nearer, and may His abundant mercy and grace hold you close as you heal and grieve the loss of your beloved John.

    I’m so thankful that you shared your woes and brought it back to joy. Sometimes life does usher in woe upon woe. You know! I don’t know about you, but I think I would have liked to have learned this lesson earlier in life. God was there, showing me, but I didn’t get it. 🙂 Then I might be more battle prepared.

    Liz you are a “living” example of joy personified. Far too often, we feel we have to hide behind our happy faces. That raises the bar to high for some of us. Thanks for keeping it real, Liz. You always do!

  187. Janice Grzesik January 29, 2016 at 12:54 pm #

    Hi Liz,
    I thank God for His word that is new every morning. This past year has been one of perseverance and drawing closer to the Lord through difficult situations. One thing I know for sure is that the Lord will NEVER leave me or forsake me. I have been drawn nearer and nearer to Him and for that I am thankful!

  188. Julie b January 29, 2016 at 12:56 pm #

    Hey Liz, so sorry for all you areally going through. I also lost my mom and dad this last year and got a new right hip on Dec 28, so my head is also spinning. God bless you, Julie

  189. Joy January 29, 2016 at 12:57 pm #

    God has revealed to me that He is to be praised and trusted as I journey through my son Nathan’s accident on January 2 when he suffered a traumatic brain injury and stroke. God is with me in the journey, the long nights in the hospital at Nathan’s bed side, through all the paperwork and phone calls and texts and the lonely moments. I tell God I trust him with my life and Nathan’s life. God revealed to me that he loves Nathan even more than me! God is so good–all the time!

  190. Mary January 29, 2016 at 1:02 pm #

    Wow, I have missed you. I had no idea you were passing through some deep waters. I’m so thankful you will still be sending out a devotional once a month. I’m sitting here with the flu as my hubby went out the door to the funeral of a dear friend’s husband who died of cancer. My heart is heavy that I can not be there. My own hubby has stage 4 cancer, so I don’t need to tell you the last year has been far tougher than we ever imagined. But each day we are realizing that God’s way is perfect. We don’t always like His will for us, but it is perfect and our job is to allow Him to give us the strength we need and give Him the glory through it all. Thank you for your devotional today. It was spot on for me.

  191. Kathy G. January 29, 2016 at 1:02 pm #

    I love the part where you encourage us to count up all the joy (and I loved the Greek, ‘every delight’) instead of counting all the incidents of pain. May I imitate you, as you imitate Christ. God bless you, Liz!

  192. meredith January 29, 2016 at 1:07 pm #

    Thank you for sharing the challenges you have been facing; your perseverance and dependence on Christ encourage me to trust Him more fully. Our pastor shared a quote with us on Sunday that struck home with me– Worry is practical atheism and an affront to God. Yikes! Thank you again.

  193. Mary January 29, 2016 at 1:09 pm #

    Good Afternoon Liz,

    I signed up yesterday to receive your blog posts and I am feeling already blessed by your words and verses you have chosen! Thank you for sharing in regards to your own trials you have had to deal with recently. Until last summer I have to say I really did not know much about you, until our ladies Bible Study group watched your dvd “Embracing Grace”! All I can say is, WOW!!! A few months prior the Lord starting showing me about His Grace. Everywhere I turned I was hearing about “Grace”! Isn’t it funny how He puts exactly what we need in front of our faces at just the right time? I have been walking with the Lord for 18 years now and our backgrounds are oh so similar! The past few years the Lord has taken me out of my “infancy” stage and has opened up my heart and mind to new levels of growth in Him and your work is a big part of this growth I am experiencing! Even after 18 years of being saved by His Grace I still struggle with silly things like low self-esteem, feeling like I just don’t fit in and just not being good enough. I am learning about my worth in His eyes and trying to focus on who I am in Him and yes, this should be enough! Right? But some days are just full of trials and the number on the scale defines me as it has most of my life then there’s those “not so nice” people that just treat you badly. James 1:2-3 and Romans 5:3 are what I needed today! I thank you for your ministry and the work He is doing through you! You are a blessing! I will pray for you today for healing of your heart and body. One last thing. I turned my Scottish mother-in-law on to your Historical Fiction novels and she is just enjoying them so! She grew up in Scotland so they really are extra special to her! Blessings to you in the New Year! 2 Corinthians 12:9 “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness”.

  194. I have been going through some things for the past several months. At times I’ve been joyful but other times I’ve been down. Just not quite myself in more ways than one. I looked at myself in the mirror the other day. I thought, what are you doing? I realized no matter what is going on my Jesus is still the same. He’s with me in the good times and the bad. None of this changed him. And I couldn’t let it continue to change me. God is so good! He is so patient with us. Guiding us gently.I’m sorry you’ve gone through those things. But I am so thankful for through. Yes, Jesus will always walk us through whatever we face if we keep our focus on him. I pray you’re day is blessed. I so enjoy reading anything you write. As I say to everyone, Be Blessed And Be A Blessing!

  195. Loraine January 29, 2016 at 1:12 pm #

    Thank you for reminding me of these truths. My daughter has been struggling with a long illness and I grow weary. I needed to hear these words.

  196. Linda Dalton January 29, 2016 at 1:16 pm #

    Liz, this reminded me of the time I was very distraught about the way my sister who was very sick was being treated by her daughter who was living with her. I tried to take control of the situation and ran into wall after wall. When I finally broke down and gave it over to God, he lead me to scripture and in that instant all the weight, fear and frustration melted away. I felt total joy and happiness. My husband came home shortly after and found me smiling like a fool and so giddy (he probably thought I had gotten into the cooking sherry lol). I told him what happened and we talked about how amazing God is.

  197. margaret brown aka naggie mum January 29, 2016 at 1:16 pm #

    DEAR LIZ,
    PLEASE TAKE CARE OF YOU!! THERE IS NOT ONE WHO HAS NOT SEEN ROUGH TIMES–MY FAMILY-HAS BEEN FIGHTING COLDS AND FLU–WE SEEM TO BE PASSING IT AROUND AND AROUND–I TOLD MYSELF THAT THIS WAS FROM him WHO HATES OUR COMMUNICATING WITH OUR LORD AND THE GREAT HEALER–he was telling me that I was praying myself to death–sorry satan–you already lost the battle!!!
    KEEP ON PRAYING LIZ–AND YOU WILL BE IN MY THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS ALSO–STAY STRONG–I KNOW IT IS HARD TO DO SOME DAYS-
    LOVE YOU GIRL,
    MARGARET

  198. Sue Durand January 29, 2016 at 1:17 pm #

    Thanks for your honesty. We’re helping to raise our grandson (5) while his mother’s in prison for setting fire to our house when he was an infant. There is a new grandbaby whose mama is keeping him from his dad and from us even though she assured us that we would see him. I haven’t even been looking for joy but I’m glad you brought it to my attention. Thanks so much.

  199. Kathy L January 29, 2016 at 1:18 pm #

    Hi Liz, I was blown away by your post. Your health issues sound like a really difficult time. I can’t imagine going through what you have gone through. I’m getting older myself & will be 60 this year. The pains of arthritis, fibromyalgia and other health issues do loom on the horizon for me. It is a challenging time for a Christian coping with aging changes and still keep our joy! May God bless you as you do “less” but still continue to give you the words to encourage us!

  200. Misty Collins January 29, 2016 at 1:19 pm #

    This was such perfect timing for me. Over the holidays I lost an aunt I loved dearly, followed by my beloved nearly 17 year old feline best friend, Stella. They passed within days of each other. I’ve been completely overwhelmed by grief for three weeks now and this was just what I needed. God is bringing me closer to Him in the midst of my heartache, and I will consider it pure joy. Thank you.

  201. Esther January 29, 2016 at 1:20 pm #

    Hi, Liz!

    I just love your words “It isn’t the size of our situation that matters. It’s the size of our God, and HE IS HUGE!” Because … it’s sooooo true! God is larger than any of our problems … big or small … and our faith in Him is what will get us through ANYthing life throws our way.

    THANK YOU for all you do for all of us … especially your teaching of God’s Word and your encouragement for all of us!

    Here’s hoping your February is full of love, recuperation, less stress and fewer challenges!

  202. Kathryn Carpenter January 29, 2016 at 1:21 pm #

    I have missed your posts but will look forward to your monthly ones! I am sorry for all your suffering this past month or so. Thank you for reminding us to find joy through all our trials and what these trials bring.

    Love & Prayers,

    Kathryn Carpenter

  203. Carole January 29, 2016 at 1:21 pm #

    I love that you share from your heart. I needed the reminder, especially today, that I don’t need to be anything but joyful. Filled with God’s love and blessings.

  204. Diana January 29, 2016 at 1:21 pm #

    So sorry to hear of your health issues. How Good of our God to take you aside and get your full attention, so He could specifically address you.

    I am so grateful that your story is shared, we get a tiny peek into your world, and to see GOD at the center!!!

    Interestingly I am doing a study with Beth Moore on James, how good is our God to point out His Word to each of us!

    Sorry to hear less of your lessons, but Obedience is a MUST!

    Thank you for keeping us informed and looking forward to hearing what else GOD has in store for His faithful servant!

  205. Paula Moulds January 29, 2016 at 1:22 pm #

    Liz,
    You are the ultimate encourager. You exemplify the true meaning of JOY: Jesus first, Others next, and Yourself last. I’d like to share the words to a song our children’s choir is learning. Just like your study, it means so much to me.
    My Father Knows by Linda L. Walker
    “My Father knows all about tomorrow.
    My Father knows what each day will bring.
    My Father knows my heart’s desire;
    He gives me all I need.
    My Father knows everything.
    So I won’t worry or fret,
    and I will never forget that my Father God provides for me.
    So I will trust in His name, and I will not be afraid,
    for I know my Father knows.”

  206. jennie d January 29, 2016 at 1:22 pm #

    Hi Liz, so good to hear from you; had been missing Lizzie in my in-box, and will look forward to your monthly posts.
    I am marvelling at our God who is just like that–bringing the word we need at just the right time, and always caring for our needs, even if what we view as our “need” is really just the test that God is using to meet the need that only He can see. Not always comfortable (I know that’s been true for me this week), but always good!
    Thank you for pointing us to our great God!

  207. Sandi L. January 29, 2016 at 1:23 pm #

    Thanks Liz for this post. First off I want to say I have missed your posts. Disappointed that we’ll only be hearing from you once a month, but our God knows best.

    I really needed to hear this this morning as I have had 3 disappointments in the last month. Obviously God has plans and I feel like I can now look at these disappointments are pure JOY be faithful to Him and persevere.

  208. Robin January 29, 2016 at 1:23 pm #

    To help me not only sense His joy, but also show His joy.

    These words smacked me in the face!
    I try to have a smile on my face at all times, especially driving….have you ever noticed how many sad people are driving? But a smile is not JOY. And I want to show the Joy I have in Lord!
    Thank you Liz.
    Prayers for a full recovery of the knee replacement. I have had both of mine done. I know the ups and downs~
    Robin

  209. Charlotte January 29, 2016 at 1:27 pm #

    Liz, I sure hope you are feeling better! I love that I always learn something when I read your posts. I’m definitely going to focus more on being joyful, no matter what happens.

  210. Kay January 29, 2016 at 1:30 pm #

    Liz,

    I really needed to read this today. I, like you, had many physical problems since October and have had a hard time not letting it get me down. These Bible verses were exactly what I needed to hear.

  211. Kelly Espinoza January 29, 2016 at 1:31 pm #

    One thing one thing God has been teaching me is to ‘pray first’. So many times I go about my day and when something happens or takes me off track I may worry or get angry. If I would only stop and pray, things will get better. When I do this I always have peace because my Heavenly Father cares and wants the best for me! ?

  212. Tyna Begley January 29, 2016 at 1:34 pm #

    I learned that we need to be faithful to hide God’s word in our heart BEFORE we need them!

    • Brenda Williams January 29, 2016 at 1:37 pm #

      So true! I love how you put that.

  213. Shelly January 29, 2016 at 1:34 pm #

    Hi Liz! Thank you for sharing your trials and inspiration. January has been a rough one…it started off with a dear relative held hostage by her distraught hubby, her escape followed by his suicide, and the week finished off with my fiancé’s home being robbed and an attack on our car by a raccoon in cahoots with a mailbox on a dark rainy night. So many reasons to feel gloomy or angry, yet so many reasons to be thankful and joyful!

  214. Brenda Williams January 29, 2016 at 1:36 pm #

    God reminded me that I have so much to be thankful for! So much to praise him about. I am healthy, my children are healthy, my grandchindren are healthy! Yet, I’m playing the woe is me, game… again. I have to learn that IT IS ALL JOY in Jesus’ name.

  215. Brooke January 29, 2016 at 1:39 pm #

    Thank you Liz! While reading this I felt the Lord whisper, “What you are going through is part of my plan”. I feel a sense of relief because what I’m going through is not fun! I hope you recover quickly! Bless you!

  216. Linda January 29, 2016 at 1:45 pm #

    I have missed your cheery pop-ups in my inbox, and now know the many reasons why ! Oh what a challenging time you have been through…..but coming out the other side with such a sense of Gods presence with you and your sense of humour intact is one of the many reasons I am drawn to your blog, books and bible studies !!
    Thank you for being so real and transparent and I am really looking forward to this next study, and am sure that your less will bring so much more to your readers than you will ever know .
    May God continue to heal and give you His shalom !

  217. Sheri January 29, 2016 at 1:50 pm #

    Liz, I learn so much from you and the way you can speak to me in such a kind tone and using words that are not over my head. Today though I learned that no matter how big the calling you can have bad days where you just lose sight of what you are meaning to do. I learned that when you do lose sight God knows just what to keep putting in front of your face to get your attention directed back to his purpose. I have often been sure that it is by his design that I read a certain verse or article on a given day. Especially since some posts sit for weeks on end before I get a chance or a want to open them. What a divine thought to know that he does indeed leave us the breadcrumbs to find our way back!!

  218. dallas L greer January 29, 2016 at 1:55 pm #

    Wow! Every “key word” you posted struck a cord with me. In the last several months, I’ve had those usual struggles and ups and downs as usual. So I fully just did it. I layed it ALL at His feet. ALL OF IT!!! What a weight that was lifted off of my shoulders and a freeing feeling in my gut. He told me and told me and told me that He’s got this! I’m very independent and stubborn. So, I wouldn’t ever “bug Him” with my pidly little things. Why don’t we just learn to listen and trust Him??? I’m currently becoming free of the bondage. So glad to be out of those deep ruts, off high center and throwing those cogs outta my wheels!
    Shekinah Glory!!!

  219. Cindy Caton January 29, 2016 at 1:57 pm #

    What a timely devotion. Help me Lord to Persevere and endure so your glory can be seen in me.

  220. Carolyn January 29, 2016 at 1:57 pm #

    Precious Liz, God is truly good all the time. Thank you for sharing yourself so openly with us. Though I will miss the weekly inbox gifts from you, I appreciate your obedience to the Father and your desire to make your less more. Today, I had a much simpler disappointment than all your recent setbacks (yikes!), but I had my heart set on going on a trip to do some mission work and learned that I don’t qualify because it requires some physical capabilities I don’t have. God will open another door at some point, but I needed to remember to count it all joy (and it wasn’t even a trial! Just a disappointment). Bless you!

  221. Pam January 29, 2016 at 1:58 pm #

    I also last year had 2 surgeries one was a total knee replacement in Feb. and in Sept, surgery on the opposite leg, Haglunds Deformity surgery on my foot.
    I felt like you Liz, bummed out, but knew the outcome would be for the best. Walking with no pain. I kept asking the Lord to continue to give me the strength to do the exercises I needed to get the strength back in my leg and foot.
    All about patience and letting God do his work in his time!

  222. Julie January 29, 2016 at 1:59 pm #

    Good afternoon Liz,

    As other’s have said thank you for sharing your struggles with us. It does us good to know that even a Powerful woman of God struggles with the same things that we (who are not so well known around the world) go through.

    What God gave me through your devotional is a couple things: 1. Not MY will, but THY will be done Lord. 2. Our timing is not always God’s timing.

    When we are ready to *be done with* the *bad circumstances* we are going through in life, God may be telling us “not yet, My child, just a little bit longer”. Although we won’t want to hear those words, God is Faithful and JUST and PROMISES to carry us through!

    Although I am deeply sorry to hear about the struggles you went through, it gladens my heart to hear that you overcame those struggles and found the Joy that God was showing you.

    Have a SAFE and Blessed weekend,
    In Christ,
    Julie

  223. Susan January 29, 2016 at 1:59 pm #

    Liz, you are such an inspiration to me. I pray that God helps you recover completely. Thank you for your service and devotion to Jesus. He is a wonderful Savior to me. I spent Christmas Eve and Christmas Day in the hospital with my 88 year old mother who slipped, fell, and broke her hip. She stayed in the hospital 21 days. Now she’s back home and doing very well. I came to Colorado Springs to hear you speak about 3 years ago. I talked with you and had my picture made with you. I love you in the Lord and so thankful to God for your life of service toward Him.

    Thank you so much,
    In Christ,
    Susan Cross

  224. Renette Steele January 29, 2016 at 2:10 pm #

    Dear Liz,

    May you not just know in your spirit but truly feel the loving, comforting, healing arms of Jesus around you. May He restore you to health.

    Thanks for listening to His guidance and teaching us to do the same. This devotion today was just what i needed to hear.

    In my journals this year it is my goal to be more joyful, by using more joyful words when i write, even when writing about a negative situation.

    The new adult coloring books are very therapeutic, i hope you too are enjoy one.

    Blessings and speedy recovery!

  225. Janne Beach January 29, 2016 at 2:10 pm #

    Oh, Liz, once again God has used you to touch my broken places. I’ve had a year of losses…friends moving, my bestie dying, cataract surgery, retinal tears and a myriad of other health glitches. I started the year 2015 seeking Joy and found “various trials”. What a JOY to see Him working thru these moments in my sisters in Christ and drawing all of us closer to Him as we “count it all joy”.
    I’ll be praying for you as you “encounter various trials’ in 2016 hoping that they will be lighter.
    In His Love, :janne

  226. Lea January 29, 2016 at 2:13 pm #

    Praying for you sweet sister, as you launch to the year ahead. I’m happy to get your devotionals whenever I can, once a month, once a week, either is great!
    We can always learn something in the midst of our trials if we will just be still and let God work. I’ve been convicted this week of not spending enough time with God and have determined to get up 15 minutes earlier each day and devote time to reading through the bible.
    I’m not particularly crafty so the idea of the Coloring book is something I’d really like to give a try.

  227. Debby Zigenis-Lowery January 29, 2016 at 2:26 pm #

    Dear Liz,
    I so love your posts and thank you for so faithfully reaching out to us. I pray your recovery is speedy and that God blesses you in this new year. Your post was a blessing to me because I realize I’ve been doing a good job enduring, lately, but have failed to do so with joy. With joy, that is change I am committed to making in my life this year. Again, thank you! Debby

  228. Joyce Thomas January 29, 2016 at 2:27 pm #

    Perseverance – what a reminder! My husband of 49 years passed away in 2009 – my word for 2010 was “peace” but then my word for 2011 was “perseverance”. I had written a thought from a sermon in my Bible, “Perseverance harvests righteousness and peace”. God bless you Liz.

  229. Lois January 29, 2016 at 2:28 pm #

    I went away to a retreat last weekend and came home with sinus ‘stuff’. Feeling sorry for myself didn’t seem to make me feel one bit better. How awesome of God to send Liz in to tell me about her surgery, etc. Guess I need to look on the bright side and start thanking God for what it isn’t.

    I am so sorry to hear about your brother. Again we know God has his plan!

    Looking forward to the Women of Easter.

  230. Carrie January 29, 2016 at 2:36 pm #

    Hi Lizzie! I love your honesty and authenticity. We’ve been in a hard season of life recently. Lots of loss. Some days it’s hard to remember that none of this is accidental and none of it took God by surprise. Thanks for the reminder that I can choose to find joy in the midst of the circumstances!

  231. Roksanna January 29, 2016 at 2:37 pm #

    Thank you for your post today; quite alot to contemplate, pray about, and to just praise Him knowing He is in control…just as you posted…”count it all as joy.” Oh how I sometimes get caught up in feeling so sorry for myself. Like a groove carved deep, a rut so unaware I’m trapped in. But by your example reminding us that His Word is all we need. His Word that instantly carves a new path, gentlier, a lighter way to trod. After hearing of your hardships, one atop of another and telling how you decided on a different outlook, attitude, emotion; taking the Masters wisdom has surely changed everything! I’ve decided to follow your example, and count it ALL joy as well. I’m sorry for your all your troubles, mine, and everyone elses BUT having a Savior to guide us through them should be beyond anything we could ever want. I so appreciate how God always uses you to help, remind, and re-direct our paths.

  232. Tracy H. January 29, 2016 at 2:38 pm #

    So much of our own joy is a matter of choice and perspective. Thanks for the reminder!

  233. Sara January 29, 2016 at 2:41 pm #

    Thank you so much for this message. There seem to be a number of trials in my life right now, and this message helped me to remember that there is a reason, and the reason is the God loves me enough to strengthen me.

  234. Cindy January 29, 2016 at 2:47 pm #

    You “whack” me up. I needed this reminder today, as the last several weeks have been a struggle. Our God is so amazing though, each devotion and story I have read today has in someway been just the “medicine” I have needed. Coincidence, nah, don’t think so….Divine intervention. Yes!

    Your such a blessing!

  235. Susan January 29, 2016 at 2:50 pm #

    I am so glad to hear from you again. My whole Daughters of the King chapter has loved you for a long time. Is it ok if I add you to our prayer list? For Advent we read The Women of Christmas and it brought us to the Nativity on 12.25 joyful and in awe again of our sisters Mary, Elizabeth and Anna. Talk about Perseverence….
    Just like the Body of Christ our own body needs ALL the parts working properly to thrive. We thank God for your healing thus far and that your dear brother, John is Holy Healed! What I learned from the reading this morning is that perseverence is uncommon in today’s culture and as mature sisters in Christ it falls to us to show the watching world “how to eat an elephant” ….one bite at a time. So count it all joy and begin.
    For His Sake,
    Susan

  236. MrsFishGuy January 29, 2016 at 2:51 pm #

    Thanks Liz, for reminding me that I also need to go from grumbling to rejoicing! 2015 is over and done. Thank you Jesus! Onward in 2016

  237. Nancy January 29, 2016 at 2:52 pm #

    “Less” is a great word for a new year. My focus is similar; I am asking “why” for each item that could end up on my calendar. I am hoping that by asking why before giving my normal automatic “yes” I will be able to get a better focus on how I should best use my time and what isn’t needful. Looking forward to the monthly studies. Good idea. I’m praying for your health needs as you get fully recovered.

  238. Kathy January 29, 2016 at 3:04 pm #

    Wow! What a year you’ve had! And to come out on the other side of it all “considering it pure joy” is something only God could have brought about! Thank you for the reminder that trials are inevitable, and just another reason to lean on God.

  239. Kira January 29, 2016 at 3:07 pm #

    Thank you Liz for helping me see that I have forgotten to appreciate my trials. Thank you for your blog. It does wonders for my heart!

  240. Brittany January 29, 2016 at 3:07 pm #

    Another excellent reminder to LIVE with joy. Not just recognize the source or contemplate it in my mind, but to EXHIBIT, DISPLAY, and PROCLAIM it in my actions.

  241. April Cunningham January 29, 2016 at 3:16 pm #

    A dozen heartwarming verses means a dozen verses to challenge myself to memorize! Oh Lizzie, I love your words. They share your heart for God and for drawing women closer to him. Yesterday alone was filled with trials of many kinds. As my husband and I discussed our trials he said that he thought it was very appropriate that I chose 1 Peter 5:7 as our family memory verse for the week. Today’s verse applies as well (and will probably be next week’s verse). God always gives us what we need, words, resources, encouragement, or something else. This was what I needed!

  242. Doris January 29, 2016 at 3:17 pm #

    I know now why you have been on my mind and heart so much the last weeks. Kept wondering and praying for you. Glad you have come thru all that and that was a lot to come thru!
    I have made joy my word for this year and Rom. 15:13 my verse but after today’s study I realized I have been concentrating on sensing His joy rather than showing it. I want to be filled with the joy God has for me but definitely want to show it as a witness to others. Thank you for this deeper lesson on joy, Liz, I need to not just adopt the word but learn all about it.

  243. Marjorie January 29, 2016 at 3:19 pm #

    Wow, What a trying few months you’ve had. What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger–only through Jesus Christ!
    I’d love to win the book, sounds relaxing, Marjorie

  244. Roxanne January 29, 2016 at 3:19 pm #

    Such a timely reminder we are all in the same boat, so to speak. Prior to entering my sixth decade, it never entered my mind that I would consider end of year surgeries to make use of having met a deductible . God has blessed me with good genes, and you have helped me age with grace. Peace be with you.

  245. Liz T. January 29, 2016 at 3:21 pm #

    Thanks Liz for your encouragement, transparency, and willing spirit to point others to Jesus, Who is our everything, in good times and bad. He is the rock on which we can stand. He is our hope, our anchor. Praying He continues to bring you healing and restoration and gives you patience and perseverance as you minister to women. Love you sister!

  246. Paula Gershoony January 29, 2016 at 3:23 pm #

    Hi Liz, I am so excited that you are well , and healthy again ! Thank you for sharing your devotional they mean the world to me praying you have a blessed February. and no more trials , but if you do I’m sure you will find the joy in them . Thank you for setting the example and reminding all of us how to be a proverbs woman .

    Question/ you had said that you were writing a fiction novel and it would come out early this year . Am I correct on that ? If I am could you please let me know the name of it and when it is to come out in stores . Much love , Paula Gershoony /Placerville, California /a.k.a. Hangtown, USA

  247. Cindy Dingman January 29, 2016 at 3:26 pm #

    I too have recently had some health concerns, but nothing compared to yours, and this message has come at such a perfect time. I have relied on God alone to get me through this stressful time. I wish I had your sense of humor though. It is after all good medicine. I’m looking forward to your emails, whenever they come. And some stress free coloring if my named is chosen.

  248. Lori Hawaiian January 29, 2016 at 3:29 pm #

    God bless you, Liz. You are definitely one of my very favorite writers and speakers. Perseverance. Keep on keepin’ on. God never forsakes those who seek Him. Take good care.

  249. Tracy January 29, 2016 at 3:40 pm #

    Even the big guns need reminders to stay positive. Thanks for being so real and honest!

  250. Sarah Nguyen January 29, 2016 at 3:46 pm #

    Oh, Liz! Thank you for sharing with us so that we can pray for you. I’m so sorry to hear about your older brother and your many adventures in the hospital. You will be in my prayers!

    God has been challenging me to be bold lately. And through your post today, He reveals that it isn’t going to be easy, but that He won’t leave me. He reveals that I have many areas to grow and finding joy in my trials is one of them. (James 1:2-3 is my husband’s go-to verse!) I took a big leap of faith at work recently, and I won’t know the outcome of it for a few months. But knowing that I followed God’s will, I am at peace.

    Bless you as you continue to recover in Him, sister! 🙂

  251. Gabriela January 29, 2016 at 3:51 pm #

    Thank you for reminding me there is something good to be found in every situation. I will continue to persevere and look for God in every little thing. God bless you!

  252. Kathy January 29, 2016 at 3:51 pm #

    Thank you for sharing Liz. This was an incredible reminder of how God wants me to respond to everything going on in my life. I think God really wants me to remember this verse since it is coming up over and over again! Hoping you are feeling better now and on the mend.

  253. Donna M. January 29, 2016 at 3:53 pm #

    Liz. It is so great to see your posts again. Sorry to hear about your health problems. I am praying for a speedy recovery for you. Also, sorry to hear about your brother.
    Todays lesson made me realize I should not dwell on the negatives and focus on the positive. It is something I have not done a lot lately. I too lost someone I love this month. My best friend, my cousin Darlene. We were as close as sisters. She knew me better than I did. I have been very sad about her loss but I did not blame God. She is no longer in pain nor suffering. I am now thinking about the great times we had together and there were many. Lol.
    I very much enjoy your messages and your books. After reading two of your books, I was motivated to start a daily bible study program. I really enjoy reading God’s word. I have been doing daily study now since Jan. 1st. It has now become part of my daily routine and I look forward to it each day.
    Thank you so much for helping to light the fire within me. I am glad your back. I missed you. May you have a blessed day, Donna.

  254. Nancy W. January 29, 2016 at 3:56 pm #

    Hi Liz – Thank you for the awesome reminder that God wants us to have joy in spite of those trials. So often we just moan and groan instead of looking for God’s plan and joy as we go through it.
    Hugs to you, dear lady, and praying that you are mending and getting around better each day.

  255. Diana January 29, 2016 at 3:57 pm #

    I Love, Love, Love how my heavenly Daddy sends just the verse, the phone call, the picture, etc. that I need AT THAT VERY MINUTE to let me know He is the God Who sees me! Thank you dear Father for never losing me from Your Holy sight! Eucharisteo and Amen!

  256. Barbara January 29, 2016 at 3:57 pm #

    Thanks Liz for this reminder. You and Ann Voskamp, two of my favorite writers. You inspire and remind me that being vulnerable and transparent can bless many. Im happy when Im reminded that God can and does use my weakness to bless others, and to bless me.

  257. Marissa January 29, 2016 at 3:59 pm #

    Thank you sharing! I’m sorry that you are going through health problems and I’m sorry for your loss.
    God has revealed to me that in spite of all the trials that you and I are going through, He is there for us and loves us. God bless you Liz! I will pray for healing.

  258. Pam January 29, 2016 at 3:59 pm #

    Thank you, Liz, for your open heart and letting us see we all struggle with perseverance in hard times. I too need to make that my method and maturity my goal. I love your sharing heart and look forward to your devotionals. God’s blessings to you and prayers for healing.

  259. Melissa January 29, 2016 at 4:06 pm #

    I need to remember that God is bigger than the problems at hand. Great time for a reminder…

  260. Sue owens January 29, 2016 at 4:10 pm #

    Thank you for your encouragement. I care for my chronically ill husband and know it’s easy to feel sorry for myself at times. He is teaching me that nothing is by mistake but ordained from Him. I really enjoy your ministry! Thanks. Sue

  261. Janet Lindstrom January 29, 2016 at 4:11 pm #

    As I read through your news, I was drawn into what you have been dealing with for so long. It makes all that has happen to me seem small. I do admire you for making the best of it in humorous ways. It’s something I find myself doing more and more. I was faced with a wide variety of challenges this week. Was dropped into a pit of despair when my awesome cat, Boaz, became ill. With the encouragement of friends and a great vet service, he is now home and getting back up to speed. Boaz from the book of Ruth, is the true model for this kitty. He is wise and kind and a blessing to this house. I look forward to enjoying his goodness for years to come. You will be in my prayers.

  262. Lesley Boyer January 29, 2016 at 4:17 pm #

    Thank you, Liz, for the encouragement you offered today. You see, although I know that I know that I know that the exercising of my faith in God produces both endurance, I have such a short memory! I forget in the dailiness of my life that God is working in and through it all. So… God gives me another opportunity to remember… and I gain a little more endurance. I am grateful for it. For my growing confidence in God. And for you.

  263. Priscilla King January 29, 2016 at 4:18 pm #

    But I *would* appreciate it if everybody just stopped using Captcha until whoever runs Captcha recognized that, if someone is human, they’re probably still human three minutes later. In fact I think Captchas should be limited to one challenge in 24 hours. (Now the stupid thing isn’t even showing a challenge, just automatically saying I’ve entered an incorrect Captcha value. Bleah. I’m actually logged into my own WordPress-hosted Blogjob as I type, too.)

  264. Nona January 29, 2016 at 4:21 pm #

    I realize this is small stuff. Very small. But if God can make a world of difference in one woman’s life in a matter of seconds, think of what He can do in all our lives and in far bigger ways.
    It isn’t the size of our situation that matters. It’s the size of our God, and HE IS HUGE. I really liked this — don’t sweat the small stuff is what we always hear! But it really doesn’t matter the situation — even our big stuff can be small to someone else. And although our small stuff is … let’s say small… doesn’t mean it isn’t important… he hears our every cry and see our every tear. He is there — He is here! Praise to His Holy name!

  265. Robin in NC January 29, 2016 at 4:23 pm #

    Oh Liz, you brightened up my afternoon! I’ve been lost in memories of how my family is growing smaller, this is the anniversary of my mom passing away, & we’ve recently lost so many dear friends. I read your Bible study & my heart lifted with the many blessings I’ve got in my life! Plus, I hate to admit it, but your quacking hospital cart came to life in my mind & I couldn’t help but smile! Thank you so very much for sharing the Lord & some humor right when I needed it!

  266. Jennifer January 29, 2016 at 4:23 pm #

    Thank you so much for sharing this. It is so good to remember and to do it! God is so patiently showing me to thank Him in all things. Good and bad. Thank you again.

  267. Sandra R. January 29, 2016 at 4:26 pm #

    Liz,
    Thanks for the wonderful post today on one of my favorite
    Bible verses. It reminded me of my dear friend K. who is undergoing treatment for Stage 4 Breast Cancer but who is always joyful with a smile on her face.
    Blessings to you.

  268. Robin January 29, 2016 at 4:26 pm #

    thank you Liz for all that you give – you are such a blessing! xo

  269. Marci January 29, 2016 at 4:30 pm #

    Loved hearing from you and I am looking forward to trying out the coloring book.

  270. Susan January 29, 2016 at 4:38 pm #

    Liz, I am so very sorry that you have been through so much physical and emotional pain in recent months. But thank you for the gentle reminder that no matter how rough the circumstances, we can still choose joy.

  271. Kathi Sanguedolce January 29, 2016 at 4:39 pm #

    One time, seems like a lifetime (or 2!) ago, my small group studied this verse for 4 weeks- just to absorb what it means to consider it pure joy to face trials! It brought a smile to my face to recall, and relive (a little) the wonder of realizing that we can have joy in trials and sorrow, because it is not MY joy, but the joy of the Lord, that we get to experience. Thanks for your sharing, and know that you are in my prayers, Sister, for healing and much joy!

  272. Cynthia January 29, 2016 at 4:39 pm #

    Oh my did I ever need this in my inbox today! On Monday the busiest day for my families business my father will have a very important surgery. We are all stressed with all that could happen with his health and with what the day normally brings in the business. Reading the line…”It isn’t the size of our situation that matters. It’s the size of our God, and HE IS HUGE.” was exactly what I needed to hear! Passing that on to my mother and family now!

  273. Anne January 29, 2016 at 4:44 pm #

    I totally understand the need to back off on blogging/social media. It is time consuming, and as you say, takes away from better time spent with the Lord. I have certainly done that for the last few months and benefited greatly from it. I appreciate you sharing your obedience to the Lord, and for setting such a good example for all of us. I pray you are better soon!!! Those coloring books sure are lovely. 🙂

  274. Melanie January 29, 2016 at 4:45 pm #

    Hello Liz, It’s always a real blessing hearing from you and how the Lord is using you to reach so many people! My thoughts and prayers are certainly with you in the many trials you’ve gone thru and asking God’s grace, peace and comfort to be with you. And for you to have not only joy but pure joy….

  275. Nancy Smith January 29, 2016 at 4:50 pm #

    oh my, sometimes things just keep happening back to back to back. Stormy seas for sure. I am glad you are recovering and getting back up to speed and I’m so sorry for the loss of your brother. A timely word is comfort indeed and you received it just when you needed it. Endurance and perseverance have been my constant companions throughout those mountains and valleys in my life. people would tell me that i had such patience with my youngest, who was and still is at 29 ADD all over the place and who is an experience (mostly) learner. I would simply reply that I had endurance- i can deal with a lot of things on the long term but patience just fizzles out in the short term. I learned through that God provides just what we need when we need it. He provided legions of guardian angels for that one and provided comfort for a wounded heart for me. They would look at my life with my aging grandmother who was mother to me and wonder that i was relatively normal in spite of all the experiences she took me through; i would simply say not in spite of but because of. Actually God walked with me through that joyless wilderness for over 40 years until she died at the age of 96 a few years ago and then within a week He spoke to me the words I needed to speak to Him: Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. Psalm 51:12. And, like the verse He brought to you in the right time, it made all the difference in my life. I’m so glad He speaks to us through His Precious Word. Thank you for your sweet words to us, too!

  276. Michelle January 29, 2016 at 4:52 pm #

    I love the verses that you chose, but I really love the thought about not only sensing God’s joy, but showing His joy. Partly that is done as we trust in Him and rest in Him. But it is also a choice. And when we choose out of obedience to show His joy, we are strengthened and encouraged and His joy shines through. Great reminder…I also lost a sibling in December. My younger sister passed away and my mother came to live with me right before Christmas. I choose to trust and obey—remembering that it is God who is at work in our lives and He is good all the time. I want to sense His joy and to show it in the midst of trials. Thank you for the reminder.

  277. Deb January 29, 2016 at 4:58 pm #

    I liked the examples of things that you did to lighten your mood. I can see how to apply that to situations where I’m feeling the same way–look for the humor, find something to make into a joke, or intentionally do something to bring cheer into the situation. Now if only I can remember this the next time I lose my keys….

  278. Laura Akers January 29, 2016 at 4:58 pm #

    Thank you, Liz. Echoes of confirmation of what my three Girlies, ages 6, 9, and 12, and I were reading and pondering this week. It doesn’t matter whether it’s “Joy” and “trials”, or, “Blessed” and “mourning”, or “blessed” and “persecuted”, or “blessed” and “insulted”. “Rejoice and be glad”, he says. His thoughts and ways are not ours. But our greatest joy is that Jesus died so that His Spirit could come and live in us, and transform and renew us so that we can be matured, graceful moment upon graceful moment, and remade into His image and His life! Even if we don’t feel the joy and rejoicing now, it will come. It’s a promise. “Weeping may last for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” I am clinging to that promise, and fixing my eyes and heart on Him!

    Glad you’re back up and around, lovely, funny, candid lady! We’ll take you – whether it’s more or less of you. His measures and timing are always PERFECT. You just listen to Him, and take good care of you, according to His instructions.

  279. Colleen January 29, 2016 at 5:02 pm #

    Thank you, thank you, Liz. I’ve been in and out of the hosp since October. Plus eleven ER visits. Your post was a balm to my soul.
    Printing it out and posting it on my wall ASAP!

  280. Susan Zollmann January 29, 2016 at 5:05 pm #

    Thanks for your candor & vulnerability, Liz. I am always encouraged by your writings & today’s post was no exception. I learned I’m not the only one in the Refiner’s fire & was reminded of why I’m there (perseverance) & how to go through it (by choosing the joy He has deposited within). You’re a sparkling gem in his crown, Sister. I love you & appreciate you letting Him shine through…

  281. Ang Burman January 29, 2016 at 5:10 pm #

    Today is a gift from the Lord. Time to slow down and be still at times to listen for His voice. Nothing is more important than the salvation the Lord blesses us with through Jesus Christ. I am blessed to have Liz sharing her talent in the many books she has written. We all have different paths. Celebrate how God is in yours.

  282. Amy January 29, 2016 at 5:12 pm #

    This week I’ve come to understand that even if God lets you experience pain, the pain often becomes the path to even greater joy. This comes from 2 Kings 4:28 when Elisha interceded for an older mother to have a child of her own and then that very child became ill and died in her arms. She finally cried out – why did you let me get my hopes up? What happened next was that God was able to use Elisha to bring life back to the child. We don’t know what God has in mind next for us or what He will choose to restore or how. But that scripture gave me so much hope this week. Hang on to the plans God has for you!

  283. Krystal January 29, 2016 at 5:14 pm #

    My Pastor preached on overcoming mountains that try to block our path. God’s word reveals so much about His power to overcome those mountains and how we need to rely completely on His power. I’m also reading “1000 Gifts” which reminded me to look for all the beautiful things in God has provided. No matter how small there are still many things to be thankful for despite the shadows cast by the mountains.

  284. Terri January 29, 2016 at 5:18 pm #

    We can never be reminded to much to be joyful in all things! Thanks Liz for your transparent heart! Terri

  285. Barbara January 29, 2016 at 5:23 pm #

    So glad you are doing well. In the midst of suffering it is hard to always be cheerful and see that there is a purpose for everything. I was really blessed when I read “it isn’t the size of our situation that matters, it’s the size of our God, and HE is HUGE”. This is a great reminder that we are not in this alone. God is our very present help in times of need. Keep on keeping on!

  286. Pamela January 29, 2016 at 5:26 pm #

    This post was needed by me today. Going through some heath issues and you message brought me back into focus as to Who my eyes should be on. Thank you Jesus!

  287. Trish January 29, 2016 at 5:28 pm #

    Loved hearing from you Liz. I too have been grieving over the past few months. I lost my sweet daddy in October. Grief is a heavy painful part of life. I take joy in knowing that my father is healed and waiting on me. Although this grief ca. Bring me to my knees at time I’m reminded that God’s word promises that He will turn mourning into joy. Thank you for your commitment to ministry. Hope you heal quickly.

  288. Carolyn crail January 29, 2016 at 5:30 pm #

    we too have had a season of turmoil. But thanks to God’s wonderful grace, and it is simply grace, we have made it through. When trusting God it makes it all the better….even though physical things are not what we would want. God is still in control

  289. Patti Iverson January 29, 2016 at 5:34 pm #

    Soooo many comments–oooh, we all are in “It”, life with trials, together, with JOY! “He who formed our frame, made man a perfect whole. He made our body’s health, depend upon our soul.” May it be well with you, dear Lizzie! I relate to your journey, ugh. I relate to your soul, PTL! <3

  290. Sarie Anderson January 29, 2016 at 5:36 pm #

    Instead of whining, I’m asked to “consider it joy” whe faced with trails or situations I’d rather not be in. I have been mulling this word over since I read your devotional. It’s like God is asking me to look at it from a different angle. When I “consider” in other situations, it’s like I am weighing my options. So, in a sense God is asking me to weigh whatever situation I find myself in from the perspective of joy because He promises that He wil use it to make me more like Jesus and that is something to be joyful about!

  291. teresa humphrys January 29, 2016 at 5:37 pm #

    Dearest Liz, I am so sorry for all this suffering you have been through. About that same time of the beginning of your woes, five different people who are close to me, or very close to people I love had serious serious issues going on in their lives. I took them on, nearly to the point of depression. I was overwhelmed, and they were not my woes, personally! We have seen through all these situations, healing, healing, healing and God’s blessings. I was impatient and grumpy. Yes, count it all joy, as now we look back and rejoice in what our God has done! Blessings and healing to you, sweet friend. I love you and your studies, your inspiration, your willingness to inspire us and be real to us!

  292. Faye Johnson January 29, 2016 at 5:38 pm #

    Liz I have been a fan for several years and have many of your bible studies and been blessed to be a couple of your events. You are such a blessing to everyone. My year has been a little like yours and I have had several pity parties. I’ll spare all the details, but health issues, ER visits, many test, surgery, blood clot in lung, gastro paresis, and hernia since June of this year. It broke my heart that we missed our trip to Disney with the youngest granddaughter in October, barely got to have Thanksgiving with family because of my sickness, and then a virus hit us at Christmas. Our grandson, we hadn’t seen a year, from California was coming Christmas day and I just knew we wouldn’t get to see him. My heart was aching. So I was feeling pretty sorry for myself, too. I really felt like my time was short with my family. I really had to look at the cross and remember who am I that Christ would suffer and die for me? Whatever small trials I have are nothing to the price He paid. Every moment is a gift and I need to be a blessing to others. I want to be a “Ta-Da” lady! I always love your messages but this one really hit home for me! I pray for your healing!

  293. Martha Troxel January 29, 2016 at 5:39 pm #

    I appreciated what you said about being joyful even in difficult situations and how that gets people’s attention.

  294. Shirley January 29, 2016 at 5:51 pm #

    Liz, JOY in our trials, oh yes. I have been swamped under with the
    negativity around me. UGHHH!!!!! I was really getting down and God
    gave me this Colossians 1:11 We pray that you will be strengthened
    from God’s glorious power, so that you may be able to pass through
    any experience and endure it with joy. Phillips His Word to me, pass
    THROUGH any experience and endure it with JOY.. Rejoice in Him and
    the work He will do in my heart through the trial, not the negative part
    of the situation. Then Romans 6:2 Since we have died to sin— HOW—
    can we continue to live in it??? The same message you got, HOW
    can we continue to live dwelling on the negative, instead REJOICE IN
    HIM and the work He wants to do..by His glorious power, not from
    ourselves. Glory and praise to our all worthy Lord and Saviour!! Love
    you and praying for your full complete recovery from all of your
    issues..

  295. Debbie Underwood January 29, 2016 at 5:52 pm #

    Today’s verses help me to remember that God didn’t promise us a rose garden in this walk of life, but He did promise that He would be with us always. That is what matters.

  296. Cinda January 29, 2016 at 5:56 pm #

    So appreciate your candor – and authenticity! When we fail, and fall so short of His glory – what a comfort to know we can run into His arms….with tears in our eyes and sorrow of heart, He lifts us up and renews us in His love!

  297. Liz I. January 29, 2016 at 5:58 pm #

    I too have been struggling with physical issues. Thank you for the reminder not to allow these physical limitations to rob me of joy. This year is going to be a fabulous year. God bless you mightily!

  298. PatriciaLippincott January 29, 2016 at 6:04 pm #

    Wow your cup runneth over for sure. Isn’t that the way of our Lord though? He lets us have our way until we are almost at the brink and then there He is wrapping His arms around us letting us know He is with us every step of the way. We just have to lean into Him, have faith and believe. I too lost someone close but I realized she isn’t really lost. Just waiting on the other side. Praise God!

  299. carolyn Hileman January 29, 2016 at 6:14 pm #

    So sorry to hear all that you have been going through.
    I was a battered wife living in constant fear even after I escaped my abuser. Then God gave me Philippians 4:8. It took some time to be able to see the good and winsome. What a delight when the light began shining through. God has been so good to teach me and even at 76 to consider me teachable. To learn that He has a plan and a purpose for us is wonderful. Your pain has helped to remind me how far I have come. So thank you

  300. Hannah January 29, 2016 at 6:26 pm #

    God is bigger than I can see- and I just have to keep going, keep working.
    Thanks for the encouragement!

  301. Kathy January 29, 2016 at 6:33 pm #

    Good afternoon Sister Loved by God, glad you are feeling better and on the mend. Here too, have had deaths, breast cancer (everything is fine now), a son going thru hard growing pains & temporary loss of job, and changes in life that can be difficult. To hear your sweet words again is a blessing and a nudge from God to remind me to put Him first.

  302. Shellynne W January 29, 2016 at 6:46 pm #

    Oh Liz, you have done it again. Or rather our great God has done it again through you! So many,many times in my life when things are not going well I have sung His praises in the midst. And seen His glory revealed as I persevered. And yet, this morning I still found myself having a self pity party over trivial matters. How thankful I am for His faithful reminders through precious sisters like you. A timely word. Love Romans 5:3!

  303. Christy January 29, 2016 at 6:49 pm #

    I’m thankful that God is always faithful no matter what trial we are going through! The joy of the Lord is our strength!

  304. Susan G January 29, 2016 at 6:54 pm #

    Liz,

    I am first of all praying for you! God put you and Ann V. on my heart to pray for several months ago…now I see why, for both of you. You two are my favorite authors and I dearly love you both!
    Don’t you just love how God cares about every detail of our lives…as you write “how God can make a world of difference in a matter of seconds”, and cares how we feel. I am learning it doesn’t matter who we are, we will all have trials, but even more importantly, God is with each one of us!
    This was awesome Liz!
    Bless you as you continue to bless others!

  305. Momma Babs January 29, 2016 at 6:59 pm #

    Hi Liz,
    I thank God for you quacking up when you heard the noise of the cart going down the hall.
    Today I was so thrilled with God’s way of dealing with me not having a car until Monday. I was thinking that not only was I going to have to pay big bucks for repairs, but also I would have to pay for a car rental. I called my neighbor and she said, “Go ahead and borrow my car so you can go to the store.” I hadn’t even considered that as a possibility. God is so amazing!

  306. Suzanne in RI January 29, 2016 at 7:01 pm #

    I was struck by your comment that this year the Lord wanted you to do “less.” I’ve always assumed that each year the Lord was raising the bar; always expecting more and more from me. Yet, clearly, he sometimes mandates a rest, because he loves us.

  307. Bonnie Root January 29, 2016 at 7:02 pm #

    Sweet Liz, How I wish I could hug the stuffin’ out of you! We have never met face to face but we meet every morning in devotionals you’ve written and then again when I read your blog posts and your fiction! You are such a blessed encourager, gifted writer, speaker and sweet sister friend. God bless your transparency, your sense of humor and insight…. In this one post God through you has reached down and lifted the spirits of thousands and pointed hearts and minds in an upward direction. We serve an awesome God and I am so thankful for you sweet lady! Praying for your continued recovery, your obedience in the “less” even though it never is with you and that your new projects bring you joy because I know they will for so many of us….. love and gratitude.

  308. Jackie January 29, 2016 at 7:05 pm #

    As I was reading your post, I thought of 1 Thessalonians 5:18: Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (NIV) I believe that God doesn’t necessarily expect us to be thankful FOR all our circumstances, but to be thankful IN all our circumstances (as the verse says). Many years ago, my husband and I battled infertility. While I was not thankful FOR the infertility, I was thankful for what God was teaching me through it: patience, empathy with other infertile couples, and greater dependence upon Him.

  309. Vickie Haller January 29, 2016 at 7:08 pm #

    Precious Liz,
    My heart hurt for you as you have been through many emotions, mentally, physically, & spiritually !! The last few months have been the same for me. Through the ups & downs I’ve claimed the word of God to see us through. Knowing God is on the throne & in control~~when I was slipping down, He was lifting me up~~Sometime I could only say, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus !!! Ebenezer, thus far the Lord has helped us! God did not give us the spirit of fear, but of power, love & a sound mind. My help comes from the Lord. Yet, we will praise Him. He is Lord of all. What manner of love is this that we should be called the children of God ! In His perfect timing He brought us through victoriously .
    Yes, we found moments to rejoice & our tears He put in bottles. He is an awesome God ! So thankful for all He has
    done!!! Thank you for sharing, it helps. And the kitty in the picture looks like my Skooter~~ Blessings. Love in Christ,
    Vickie

  310. JuneBug January 29, 2016 at 7:22 pm #

    Thanks so much for the message, Liz! My family and I are dealing with a difficult person, and this message hit it on the nose for us. Spiritual maturity and growth. Yes, ma’am!

    Hope you’re feeling better physically and mentally.

    And less is more! Looking forward to 2016 with you!

    Peace to my sisters!

  311. Nancy Sturm January 29, 2016 at 7:43 pm #

    Thank you for the reminder, Liz, that God always focuses on the big picture, while I take the narrow view of what’s happening to me now. I love the joyful ways you chose to play in the hospital. And yes, joy is a choice. What joy you shared with those who cared for you! After all your recent health trials, you must be saturated with perseverance. 🙂

  312. Penelope Scally January 29, 2016 at 7:44 pm #

    Thank you, Liz, for sharing your journey to joy. Such a timely word in my life.

    I will count it all as joy…

  313. Renee Schultz January 29, 2016 at 7:45 pm #

    Thank you so much Liz for your reminder to find and pass along the joy we have, in spite of our circumstances. It seems troubles never end or maybe we just replace one trouble with another, but either way it is such an important reminder to let the joy shine through those circumstances so others can see we don’t have to have a perfect life to have peace and joy. I am so sorry for all that you have been dealing with, thanks for sharing. Praying the tough stuff is behind you for awhile and the road ahead is clear and straight. God Bless!

  314. Marilyn January 29, 2016 at 7:46 pm #

    Thank you so much for the encouraging words. We have had so many things happening too. And I also was feeling a little down. This is the third time in a devotional today that I got the word to cheer up. I guess it’s time to have some joy

  315. Elizabeth Stein January 29, 2016 at 7:58 pm #

    I could relate so much to this devotional. All of these things are lessons God is continuing to carve deeper into my heart and it times the process is quite painful. But most of the time I experience His inexplicable peace, joy, strength and comfort- in spite of everything: the cancer treatment, the divorce, the first anniversary of my father’s death, no income, no “permanent” home, etc. etc. I have been grieving today. The Holy Spirit spoke clearly to me, “Joy. Will. Come.” (Ps. 30:5b) He has shown me that the goal is primarily becoming unshakable, and glorifying him in this process. His word is true. He has promised me victory. With him I will not only survive but thrive. God bless you, Liz!

  316. Donna Rowe January 29, 2016 at 8:11 pm #

    Liz, having been dealing with some health issues over the past several months, and not knowing the cause, I kept saying “God’s got this, I don’t”. You have re-enforced that for me. And, as the diagnosis came, and the necessary medications, God had begun to renew my energy and strength! Praise God from whom all blessing flow.

  317. Misty Keith January 29, 2016 at 8:21 pm #

    Liz, thank-you for your words. They are so encouraging and they remind us not to stay down in the dumps but to look up. Praise the Lord for you being on the mend.

    The Lord has been teaching me more and more lately of my need to go deeper in His Word. He has revealed the need to dig deeper as I read the Scriptures and He has been teaching me about the Hope I can have in Him. I am blessed to read His Word daily. I hope to never take His Word for granted.

  318. Lisa January 29, 2016 at 8:28 pm #

    Liz, I was so sorry to hear of all your health issues! Prayers for a full recovery! I was in your same situation two years ago……after having my knee replacement, my surgeon had his fingers crossed that he would not have to realign my entire leg – a much more complicated, risky surgery. You guessed it….my kneecap popped away from my new implant and the leg had to be re-aligned. I threw myself on my bed and prayed “God, You have to do this – I can’t”. And He DID….I now walk better than I ever had in my life! God had a plan for me I never dreamed of……he got my through the big surgery, six weeks in a full length leg cast, and an entire summer in a full leg brace. I too was crying “Why me?” and now I’m saying “God knew!” Prayers that your surgeries will result in a brighter future for you too! <3

  319. Barb January 29, 2016 at 8:40 pm #

    This hit home. I have autoimmune diseases and various health problems that cause pain among other issues. Your way of showing how to praise God in times of troubles really made sense. I have had people tell me they don’t understand how I deal and not be miserable all the time. I am quick to praise God and give Him all the credit. When it’s just me with my pain though, I don’t vocally or purposely praise Him. I do know that He is the ONLY one that gets me through everything and I talk with Him during those horrible times. But I plan on seeing the pain different, ways of growing me instead of hindering me like I always thought the pain was. Thank you so much Liz!!!

  320. Mary January 29, 2016 at 8:51 pm #

    Wow, Liz, sister you have been through a lot! Yet, I have to thank you. You still found joy in your situations, you still laughed and even made us laugh. Making the most of life is what God wants us to do, thank you for reminding us. It’s this type of thankfulness that fills our soul with joy. You are such a beautiful person, big hug sister. Now, stay out of that hospital for the rest of 2016, okay?

  321. Penny January 29, 2016 at 8:56 pm #

    Thank you for this message. It really spoke to me and let me know that I should trust God in all circumstances and give praise to him no matter what is going on in my life. It helped me to remember that God is in control at ALL times.

  322. Mindy S January 29, 2016 at 8:57 pm #

    I had knee surgery almost three months ago and I am still struggling with pain and feeling sorry for myself. Your post reminded me to stay positive and think about the bigger picture. This too shall pass. 🙂

  323. Samantha T January 29, 2016 at 9:01 pm #

    Thanks for sharing this post Liz and for the cool giveaway! My takeaway from this post is where you spoke of what others see when we have joy in our trails rather than a pity party. It is so easy to get stuck in hard times and let them drag us down, but having joy and finding humor can make a difference in not only our lives but others as well! 🙂

  324. Marsha Numerich January 29, 2016 at 9:05 pm #

    Liz

    First my continued prayers for you, what a way to finish out 2015, but what a blessing – – God knew exactly the verse you would need exactly when you needed it. Praises to Our Mighty Father.
    Joy – seems to be the theme of 2016, Our pastor has been doing a series on Joy – and to read consider it pure joy, was exactly what I needed to hear. In good times and bad I have to search the joy the Lord has planned for me.
    We moved closer to our families – at God’s direction, leaving behind a decade of wonderful memories, friends and a Wonderful Church family and Awesomely Wise Pastor. At times it has been struggles, loneliness, and questioning. But – – God is so good in 2014 I had back surgery and as I was approaching it in 2013 I had to give up my home care position, I thought at the time (because of my back) I would never return to that type of work. God has blessed me mightily I am back at doing Home Health Care work, using the gift of Compassion my Heavenly Father has given me. The joy I find each assignment is so fulfilling, and the care I give through the love the Lord has shared with me is so rewarding. The joy of returning to something I had lost has filled me to overflowing.
    But more than anything, before moving a decade ago my heart was on fire to do the unto others, to carry my light to the world, to light others lights and to walk out the plan God had for my life. Moving brought many bumps in the road, and in the last couple years I have felt the desire and my light had dimmed. I am feeling God filling me, igniting that flame, and I am so excited to see what God has in store for me.

  325. Lori January 29, 2016 at 9:05 pm #

    Thank you Liz for sharing!! I have had three surgeries this last year and God has been teaching me the same lessons. Now I just tell people I ‘m pretty good for the shape I’m in. Still trying to heal but trusting God to see me through and use me for His glory.

  326. Kriss January 29, 2016 at 9:06 pm #

    Liz,
    Like you I spent New Year’s Eve feeling sorry for myself. I was diagnosed with MS in the summer and my husband was laid off in the fall. But, I too decided to find joy in my every day life. I know God has not abandoned me and I am determined to find Him in every day’s challenges. It becomes easier by persevering each day. God is so good! Kriss R.

  327. Kathy Johnson January 29, 2016 at 9:09 pm #

    Thanks for your insight and the truths that they brings to me. God has been reminding me often lately that He is, indeed, in control of ALL the little and big circumstances in my life. I just need to trust Him and wait as he reveals his plans for me.

  328. Ann January 29, 2016 at 9:09 pm #

    Thank you for sharing your challenges and your growth in them! I was blessed by the words…help me not only sense His joy but also show His joy… I am focusing on being a light in my world and this was encouraging. Blessings.

  329. Bobbi Wineberg January 29, 2016 at 9:18 pm #

    What means the most to me is that testing brings perseverance. I forget that when I’m having a hard day and ministering to people who don’t get it like I think they should. But I see God giving me that perseverance in not giving up and letting God do the leading.

  330. Lisa January 29, 2016 at 9:30 pm #

    Thank you for sharing of your trials and how God has brought you through them. I enjoy and appreciate your books and all you do as well as your always joyful spirit.

  331. Evelyn Falleur January 29, 2016 at 9:31 pm #

    I loved this post on counting it all joy. It echoed what I’ve been already learning this week. I heard from another school teacher that now they have a new term for certain kinds of parents. Some parents are called “hovering ” parents or “helicopter” parents because they’re always in their child’s business. Well now there’s a new term, it’s called “lawn mower parents”; these parents “mow down” any obstacles in front of their child. I laughed when I heard this because it’s so true. But I’m also very thankful that God never does that for us. He allows obstacles and challenges because He knows they help us grow. So thank you for sharing the gift of choosing joy in the midst of obstacles since it goes right along with what God is teaching me.

  332. joyce January 29, 2016 at 9:44 pm #

    I’m so sorry to hear about all of your medical and personal troubles. I think it is even harder to go through those times when it is such a happy time of year for everyone else. I’m glad that you came out of it with a good attitude. I’m praying that you are doing much better physically.

  333. Alyssa Molina January 29, 2016 at 9:57 pm #

    I really enjoyed this post today, Liz. Like so many others, I have frequently counted my trials instead of my blessings. One thing that touched me in your post was the Greek “pas chara” which reminded me of the “charis” in eucharisteo. And I was reminded that in the counting of blessings, of God’s gifts, and overflowing with thanksgiving that joy finds us. Many blessings as you continue to heal!

  334. Sue January 29, 2016 at 9:58 pm #

    God is good all the time!

  335. Judy Kirkpatrick January 29, 2016 at 10:05 pm #

    I was sick most of December with bronchitis, and spent a few days before Christmas in the hospital, getting fancy intravenous antibiotics. They let me out Dec. 23rd so that my husband could drive us to the family celebration. We are 76 and 77 and have been married 56 years, so illness makes us nervous, as we have become one. On the other hand, being in the presence of God is a great promotion. We thank him for each day together, and care for each other.

  336. LouAnn Christie January 29, 2016 at 10:11 pm #

    Oh to get the focus of me and my ‘pity party self’ and keep my eyes on the ONE who is in control, the ONE who cares more about me than I can even comprehend. Count all the sorrows as joy is hard yet that is what we are called to do…so wanting to be the woman He has called me to be .. I too will look for the joy in the situation I am presently in.

    Hugs to you Liz along with prayers. You’ve been through a lot. God does have His ways of slowing us down .. when we don’t slow down for Him.

    xo LouAnn
    PS What a lovely give away you are having .. just getting into this adult coloring book frenzy … 😉

  337. Jane January 29, 2016 at 10:16 pm #

    Liz, I thank the LORD always for your ministry! An ordinary Christian woman who has faced so many of satan’s attacks throughout your life but you have used his attacks to not only overcoming but to Glorify the LORD in the midst! When I look at all your have suffered and yet you find humor and joy in the LORD, WOW!!! I and my Christian children and grandchildren have suffered so much at satan’s hands in this past year also, and you so wondrously have raised my Spirit knowing we are in this together and WE WILL OVERCOME with the almighty LORD”S help!!!

  338. Annette January 29, 2016 at 10:21 pm #

    I’m so sorry to hear about the difficult season you have been in. I pray you will receive complete healing. Reading your email tonight was perfect timing and affirmation of something God showed me earlier today. I learned today that I have to replace my furnace and air conditioner–a significant expense. It was actually red tagged and put out of service because of potential carbon monoxide leakage. So aim operating with my fireplace and space heaters! After fretting and stewing for most of the afternoon God reminded me many blessings in the midst of this–mild temperatures (30-40 degrees in January in Minnesota!), a warm fireplace, an interest-free payment plan, ability to,get new equipment on two days, protection n from a potential CO2 leak, a roof over my head, etc etc. God provides and protects! Thanks for a great look into,God’s word—there is joy there!!

  339. Mema Jeanne January 29, 2016 at 10:47 pm #

    Liz,
    James 1:2-4 came to me last year when my 35 year old daughter with a husband and 4 year old was diagnosed with MS!!!!!!!!!!! I was in the middle of Wendy Blight’s study: Living So That, and my verse to work on memorizing was James 1:2-4. I couldn’t believe the power of God giving me that verse at that particular time in my life. I use that verse SO MUCH with others and their trials or difficulties. Your devotional today is the 3rd time this week that that verse has been a part of the various readings, etc. God is good, and He is ever so faithful to us…
    ALSO, I loooved your devotions on Praising God for His many traits. My favorites were: Praise God for His Power–His Sacrifice–His Grace–His Sense of Humor–His Gentleness. And I praise Him for you being one of faithful servants…through all He has taken you trough–He has never left your side.
    Mema Jeanne

  340. Brandi Luiz January 29, 2016 at 11:02 pm #

    I needed this today,right now.
    “It’s not the size of our situation that matters. It’s the size of our God, & HE IS HUGE!
    we are going through heavy stuff at church and I need to know and remember that my God is HUGE!

  341. Linda D. McFarland January 29, 2016 at 11:06 pm #

    Thank you for the the reminder to be joyful in the midst of trying circumstances. Not always easy but necessary in order to increase our faith and persevere. We all have ‘stuff’ we go through and faith in God through the journey is our only hope. Blessings for better health in 2016!

  342. Roxylea Rummel January 29, 2016 at 11:14 pm #

    I love hearing from you. I would love to see you again. You have been to my town twice and would love for you to come again. What an inspiration you are!
    I know that God wants us to keep our faith and to obey him!

  343. Deb January 29, 2016 at 11:20 pm #

    I have missed your posts and am so sorry about all the trials you have been experiencing! I will be praying for you! Thanks for continuing to be such an encouragement even in the hard stuff. 🙂 I needed that reminder to remain joyful.

  344. Gwen January 29, 2016 at 11:22 pm #

    I was touched that after you repented of feeling self pity, you resolved to be joyful and intentionally reached out to the Lord and others! Good example for the rest of us! Much love and many prayers for a complete recovery!

  345. Linda Thompson January 29, 2016 at 11:22 pm #

    Liz, I love reading your tweets and blog. The Lord brightens my day through your writing. I will continue to thank the Lord for using you to bless so many people. I also pray the Lord continues to heal you.

  346. Kim G. January 29, 2016 at 11:26 pm #

    Oh, I just finished reading the story of Joseph. What a beautiful reminder of the sovereignty of God! As Joseph said to his brothers, “It wasn’t you who sent me here, but God!” No matter what we may face, we can always trust His plan and His purpose. Thank you, Liz, for sharing your heart and these encouraging words!

  347. Lori L January 29, 2016 at 11:45 pm #

    God’s blessing to you. Love your books.

  348. Terry G. January 29, 2016 at 11:49 pm #

    This past year was difficult also for me. I was laid off of my job for 2 months and during that time I still had 2 weeks left of my medical insurance. I thought I would go to my eye doctor for a regular exam and found I need eye retina reattachment surgery ASAP or I would go blind. I had the surgery and all went well. The one week after the surgery is very difficult I had to lay flat on my stomach for 7 days 24/7 and could only get up for 10 minutes each hour. Prior to all of this I was dealing with many things in my life and it was so exhausting, I was told to rest in God, and I mean rest. I didn’t know how I was to do this with my schedule and this is how he did it–he kick me in the rear end. During that time of total laying down on my stomach I rested in God. I was able to sort out many things and let them go with the help of God. I was able to rest in Him and listen to his words. At the end of 2 months the company that laid me off called and took me back and I have a new out look on life and now when things get bad. I rest and listen for Gods word.

  349. Alana Morgan January 29, 2016 at 11:55 pm #

    WOW!

    As I began your email my first thought was ‘there is always someone going through more than you are.’

    You showed me, again, that God is always with us and always on our side. Thank you Liz for being vulnerable, loving, and kind even in these trials.

    I love your once a month new format and will look forward to them as each new month comes this year.

    I’m so thankful that you are on the mend and will send up healing prayer for you.

    Thank you for this great gift opportunity. May all God’s blessings surround and cover you always.

  350. Carolyn Barnette January 30, 2016 at 12:07 am #

    Hi Liz, so good to hear from you. I have really missed your writings. I knew in my heart something was going on. I’m sorry for those things that have had you down. I just had kidney surgery on January 25th. I would tell people I have no fear or worries. They would just look at me. My husband and I were praising God for giving me pain to find the tumor and the next day after finding it I have had no more pain. Now I’m praising God that he gave the surgeon the ability to save my kidney while removing the entire tumor. I’m waiting on pathology tests but I have no worries because I’m claiming no cancer, but if it is I still praise God because it hasn’t spread and there is no treatments I have to do. I only have to be checked every 6 months. God is so good. 1 Thessalonians 5:15-19 is my life verse. Always pray, always be joyful is the basics of those verses.
    Thank you Liz for your attitude and encouragement. I look forward to your new books and studies. I so enjoy them and am blessed by reading them. Blessings for a JOYFILLED 2016. Carolyn

  351. Margaret Harke January 30, 2016 at 12:08 am #

    Dear Liz,
    Thank you for all of your encouragement in reminding me that it is God who sees us through bad times as well as blessing us with good ones.
    When my husband had cancer and we had to live four hours away from home for two 1/2 months while he received treatment, it was God who kept us strong and showed us that life can be joyful even during the worst of times. We were able to visit a lovely garden and enjoy seeing life renewed around us. With many prayers from our family and friends my husband is now cancer free. We rejoice!

  352. Kelly January 30, 2016 at 2:16 am #

    Reminded to keep my eyes on “thanks”giving and the importance of praising before you’ll see the miracles… God begins answering and lays the ambushes for our enemies the moment we in confident faith praise Him for who He is and the victory we are still waiting to see (2 Chronicles 20).

  353. Billie Conrad January 30, 2016 at 2:37 am #

    Thanks for the reminder from God’s word. Blessings to you in the coming year. I also need reminding daily that God is huge, not the problems I let get me down.

  354. Nancy January 30, 2016 at 3:16 am #

    Hi Liz, I love your post today, and I will be praying for you dear lady. You always bring me such joy with your posts. You just seem to be a happy person. I’m so sorry so many illnesses have hit you all at once. I understand how hard it can be, believe me. I have had MS for 9 years & it caused my back to collapse so now I kinda look like the hunchback. But like you, I love the Lord so much. I’m 66 but I still work full time with “seniors”.. …, plus I teach scrapbooking & a Bible Study class once a week. I can’t help it. I’m happy. I want to love people & help them. My problems are just physical. If I can help 1 person find Jesus I’m happy. You are so blessed Liz. You help hundreds. Maybe thousands. What a blessing you are to us. Lifting us up. encouraging us when we are down. Thank you. Feel better soon.

  355. Debbie Gabelman January 30, 2016 at 6:26 am #

    Thank you for sharing this teaching on these verses in James.

    My One Word for this year is – ENJOY. The biggest reason for choosing that word is that I need to remember to enjoy each day.

    Your words spoke to my heart. The truth that kinda jumped out at me was this – “It’s our faith being put to the test, with “spiritual maturity” as the goal. ” I need to enjoy the journey God has set before me and remember the goal.

    And do you believe, later on, in a book I’m reading, the author referenced the same verses from James. Wow! When that kind of thing happens in less than 24 hours I sit up and ask God what He’s trying to tell me.

  356. Dala Lawrence January 30, 2016 at 6:49 am #

    I am preparing to return to Belleville, IL to hear you this morning, last night was a blessing! You are an inspiration to all women. Keep it up. My prayers are with you.

    God BLess,
    Dala

  357. Pam January 30, 2016 at 6:59 am #

    Even though my life is not where I thought it would be at this time in my life. I am to count it as joy, to be content where I am, to be thankful for the blessings God has given me.

  358. Nicole Shuglo January 30, 2016 at 7:00 am #

    Dearest Liz- First of all, sending you big hugs as you recover from a tough season- isn’t it amazing that God can use all of this to build our own character- and then to help minister to others! A message I needed to hear this morning <3 Your words are refreshing and comforting- looking forward to all your exciting projects in 2016!

  359. Clair Herrera January 30, 2016 at 7:49 am #

    Will be praying for you! Thank you for this encouragement!!

  360. Michele Stafford January 30, 2016 at 7:52 am #

    Liz, thank you for your transparency and sharing your recent trials and triumphs. I pray to be more obedient to the Lord’s calling — whether it is doing MORE or LESS — and I pray to be able to Rejoice Always regardless of my circumstances. I admire your ability to find humor in your circumstances — a little laughter can go a long way. 🙂

  361. Brenda January 30, 2016 at 8:03 am #

    After a year in counseling I’m still waiting for joy to come in the morning. But I can see the perseverance this darkness has made in me, and am beginning to see some good He is working together through this trial.

  362. Tyanne January 30, 2016 at 8:10 am #

    Dearest Liz,
    I pray for your healing and strength as you begin this year of sowing His words again for so many.
    You come to bless me at just the right time. Your “less” means so much more.
    So often I’m surrounded, yet feel so alone. What I feel as true trials are simple, and He has made so much possible for us to be in full love through Him.
    This year I seek to enjoy the moments and reach deeper to see the Peace, Calm, Lovely, & True.
    Amen

  363. Kim January 30, 2016 at 8:16 am #

    Thank you for your words of joy – and thank you for “less” – my inbox thanks you also. Yours is the second article I’ve read this week on Joy and what perfect timing. I pray that your healing is going well – I know mine is only through the power of God!

  364. Sarah January 30, 2016 at 8:18 am #

    This past week at work, we had several children sick. My littlest ones in the infant\toddler rtoom went home one day with fevers over 100. Then all the teachers began getting sick. I went to the doctors Thursday to find out I have another case of bronchitis. Yes, another. I quickly became depressed. All the coughing and being unable to breathe causes such anxiety. But in reading this blog today, I realized, this is nothing. Bronchitis will go away. The winter cold will go away and soon spring will be here. I smile just thinking about spring. The sun is shinning today and God’s love is everlasting and will bring me through any difficulty I face!

  365. Janet Laudett January 30, 2016 at 8:19 am #

    Thanks for the reminder Liz. I homeschool my now teenage son and some days the joy is sucked right out of me–some days I have none at all! Dear Lord please restore my joy in You even when the days are long, hard or simply tedious. Many blessings to you Liz!

  366. Linda H January 30, 2016 at 8:26 am #

    Oh sweet friend, it was good to see your post and I am on board with all the changes you are making to balance your life. I am seeking the Lord’s wisdom on finding balance in my own life. In my grumbling and anger that spills out more than I like to admit your comment that our ” faith is being put to the test..we are proving we believe in God and His word by showing the world our joy not our frustration, anger, disappointment and the rest” hits hard. Wow! I must change my attitude and use my life to show God’s joy. Will be remembering you in prayer?

  367. Lucy Hammond January 30, 2016 at 8:28 am #

    Hey friend! Thanks for sharing so candidly about your trials and health scares. It’s so true it’s easie to ‘know the right thing to do’ than to actually do it. Carry on Sistah’!! Much love from Pittsburgh!M

  368. Manteo January 30, 2016 at 8:29 am #

    Count it all joy is what I will tell myself in all situations. And I will thank God for His blessings. And you, Liz, are one of His blessings in my life.

  369. Laura snowden January 30, 2016 at 8:31 am #

    Always a joy to read! Thank you for sharing your heart

  370. Loretta January 30, 2016 at 8:46 am #

    Pure joy really got me. WOW what a goal to strive for, my late New Years resolution!

  371. Jan Quinn January 30, 2016 at 8:46 am #

    So glad for you that things are “looking up” so to speak and praying for your continued healing. This was a reminder to me of what brought me to the Lord…the life a friend was living that I wanted to have too! And I love that God not only gives us the what, but most times the why, and the how to get there! His story is woven through out His word. He IS A BIG GOD!!!

  372. Jill January 30, 2016 at 8:56 am #

    Thank you Liz
    This lesson speaks to me so clearly as this is my promise to God recently. I have much to be joyful about even in tough times and when asked why or how I will say because of my wonderful Lord!
    Blessings and love!

  373. Kathy January 30, 2016 at 9:03 am #

    Thanks so much for the encouragement. It is a great reminder to persevere and find the joy in every situation. We may not understand and see the big picture but He does. God bless

  374. MaryJane January 30, 2016 at 9:04 am #

    beautiful post Liz, thank you. Christ gives us strength!

  375. Jenny Cummings January 30, 2016 at 9:07 am #

    Thanks making smiles and giving perspective. Troubles can drag a person down, but the Lord is faithful through all of them!

  376. Kathy Jacob January 30, 2016 at 9:08 am #

    I get the feeling sorry for yourself thing. Thank you for sharing, because I loved the turnaround you described as you let Scripture work in your heart. I hope 2016 is a glorious year, and that all of us will be open to God working in our lives.

  377. Anne Peterson January 30, 2016 at 9:14 am #

    Liz,
    I’m sorry for the loss of your brother. Loved your post and your humor. And I agree, when we are praising in our messy situations, the world hears us.

  378. Patti January 30, 2016 at 9:21 am #

    Thank you for sharing…..reminding us of God’s great love and faithfulness to us. I strive to have JOY and show LOVE…..always!

    God bless you!

  379. Karen January 30, 2016 at 9:22 am #

    Thank you for being so real and honest with us. Please allow me a “you poor thing” and a “bless your heart”. That out of the way, praise God for answering your prayers in such a manner.
    I too try to find much humor in life, but have also recently felt beaten down by circumstances. I needed your words of faith and challenge. Here’s looking forward to our monthly newsletter.

  380. Joan January 30, 2016 at 9:23 am #

    The thing that really struck me was that I need to find humor in the small stuff. And I can’t wait to read The Women of Easter!

  381. Jennifer January 30, 2016 at 9:25 am #

    Wow, how amazing is our Lord! This post of your’s, Liz, has gone straight to my heart – thank you for allowing God to speak so clearly through you!

    The ‘one word’ God clearly gave me this year is PERSEVERE and James chapter 1 has become especially encouraging and motivating to my life in the past several months.

    Your message here is so wonderfully encouraging and your signature humor is particularly inspiring at this time when I desperately need to seek and find more humor in life’s challenges!

    Thanking God for you and keeping you in prayer, dear one!

  382. Shayna :-) January 30, 2016 at 9:30 am #

    DEAR MRS. CURTIS HIGGS,

    You are in my prayers!

    God taught me that joy is the serious business of heaven. When we look to Him for our needs then we be able to persevere through anything! I think when we make a conscious effort to seek out His joy; that is when the joy will come.

    It was a joy to hear from you by that email/post!

    HAVE A BLESSED MONTH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    SHAYNA 🙂

  383. Cristina Pudwell January 30, 2016 at 9:36 am #

    Thank you for sharing, I pray that 2016 will be a year of healing. Your guidance and example are a Blessing to many of us. Looking forward to your studies.

  384. Laurie Dunn January 30, 2016 at 9:50 am #

    Oh my goodness- this was certainly the message I needed today!! My holiday experience also included an unexpected hospital stay (New Year’s night) with infections, IV antibiotics, and finally gallbladder surgery. My recovery has been fairly uneventful but it has been hard to not accomplish anything I’d planned in January and even harder for me to let others help take care of me since that’s always my job 🙂 Oh the lessons I’ve learned! Many that I’m still working on! God bless your recovery and thank you!!

  385. Judy January 30, 2016 at 9:52 am #

    Sharing pain is difficult but it helps others going through similiar “stuff”. Thank you! Sympathy in your brother’s death. I have lost two – both younger than I. I have taken the Philippians 4 passage for my new year’s resolution. Thinking (dwelling) on all things lovely – positive.

  386. Mari January 30, 2016 at 10:00 am #

    Dear Liz,
    Our God is so wonderful and you are such a blessing. I am so sorry for your loss and all you have been going through.
    You truly bring Joy
    Thank you

  387. Rebecca Mick Frith January 30, 2016 at 10:07 am #

    After having to cancel my trip to Scotland with you because of financial reasons I became extremely disappointed in my husband for his mismanagement of the money that was set aside for the trip, and I started withdrawing from him. Then I injured my left leg again when I stumbled, and it set up tendonitis which put me back into a wheelchair for two months. I’ve also had to deal with spinal stenosis and flare up of my fibromyalgia. Getting back up to speed has been difficult and fighting off the resentment has been hard. Thanks Liz for reminding me we are commanded to look for Joy in all circumstances. I love your quacking! I’m back to walking and have less pain, but my heart is still heavy at times when I see pictures of Scotland and I found out my sister-in law is going to Paris! Sigh….I pray the Lord will continue to give me the joy that I need to show to others. That He will continue to help me lose the resentment and envy and help me to think on the wonderful things in my life…including my cats! I am so sorry you lost your brother, Liz. I know the pain of losing a sibling. So glad you are on the mend. I will continue to pray for you and yours. Love you!

  388. Sandy A January 30, 2016 at 10:11 am #

    I always appreciate your transparency and honesty. You always sgift the focus back onto our loving Abba. Thanks for the wonderful reminder. Despite what we see, there’s always joy to be found, even in the little things. God has gently been reminding that it’s all about perspective. Who’s perspective are we going to choose, His or ours? Thanks so much. Blessings on your swift recovery.

  389. Sue January 30, 2016 at 10:52 am #

    Thank you for your blog… I too, am struggling with some family issues that tear at my heart and tend to upset my daily routine… but then I remember that Bible verse that says something like..”…. for such a time as this”. THis is my lot at this time in my life, although I feel overwhelmed, overwrought, and out of control of the situation, I know that God is in control and these trials are meant to help me also, not just my loved ones. God is my refuge and He alone supplies my peace for the day and night!
    THank you for your encouraging words I find everyday on my Facebook page!!! They are much needed and uplifting to my soul.

  390. Kim January 30, 2016 at 10:56 am #

    Perfect message, perfect timing as always with The Lord! Thanks for being obedient & sharing what He speaks to you & to all of us. Morning devotional I read today from Dr Jeremiah’s book Pathways(2010), was speaking similar, about not focusing on the “ingredients” but the entire “recipe” to see what God is preparing & if your circumstances are not palatable at the moment, step back and see if you can’t find a reason to rejoice in the end result.” I LOVE how Gods speaks to us in many ways & uses many different people (& even tho the devo book I’m currently reading was written in 2010, & your word just this year – that His Word is relevant & everlasting, His ways are Perfect! Hope & Pray you gain your health back this year. What a great coloring book, I haven’t seen one faith based like this.

  391. Heather January 30, 2016 at 11:03 am #

    God keeps gently reminding me that He is bigger! If I keep my eyes on Him, all else falls away. Thank you, Liz!

  392. Glenda Zylinski January 30, 2016 at 11:04 am #

    Hi, Liz-A hospital bed last month had me at the same crossroads. I stumbled, but kept pressing in believing in our BIG GOD. No matter our situation we can choose joy! Thanks for the reminder, today. Thrilled to see your post in my e-mail inbox. Once a month…less will have to be more. 🙂 Grace & Peace to you-

  393. Anne Ebright January 30, 2016 at 11:18 am #

    God has been reaching out to me on a daily basis, calling me…pleading with me almost…to spend more time with Him reading His word, listening to what He has to say instead of dumping all my asks on Him. One sided prayers don’t produce nearly the relationship that occurs with *dialogue* with the Father!

  394. Jan Kirk January 30, 2016 at 11:23 am #

    Mirror, mirror on the wall….
    It does not matter if I’m short or tall…
    If I have skinny legs or if my hips are wide…
    It only matters who I am inside.
    Blue eyes, brown eyes, black or green..
    What makes me most beautiful cannot be seen…
    When you look at me, don’t judge me by my parts..
    The most beautiful thing about me is my….heart!

    I read this and thought of your wonderful mirror sticker “Ta-Da!” Each lady that attended our women’s retreat received one, as a reminder that God see’s our heart and that we are precious in His eyes!
    God’s Peace to you as you continue to recover. Thank you, always for you inspirational words!

    • Sandra Wall January 31, 2016 at 1:37 am #

      I loved this poem! It reminds me that no matter how people see me our how I see me, God sees me as beautiful. I need this daily reminder.

  395. Julie Melton January 30, 2016 at 11:31 am #

    Yhanls for reminding us that joy is a choice. We can’t choose our circumstances but we can choose how we will respond to them. God is good- all the time! Will be praying for healing and strength for you as you minister to God’s daughters and princesses!

  396. Rachiel Soliz January 30, 2016 at 11:33 am #

    I need to start looking for something positive in my troubles. It’s hard, but God will see me through.

  397. Michele January 30, 2016 at 11:50 am #

    I really needed to hear the today. Thank you!

  398. monica bryant January 30, 2016 at 12:07 pm #

    Thank you for sharing your humor with us along this journey of life. I was so blessed to hear you speak at AACC last September. Thank you for reminding me today that I am not alone. Blessings to you. Thank you. Monica

  399. Cheri Giralico January 30, 2016 at 12:43 pm #

    We never know who is watching how we react to our circumstances. We have to be the example to reach nonbelievers. Do we walk the walk or are we the reason nonbelievers turn from Church.

    I always loved the saying I can’t hear you your actions are too loud.
    or something like that.

    I love your messages and your sharing.

    Thanks
    Cheri

  400. Judith January 30, 2016 at 1:15 pm #

    This is a timely reminder for me. Everyday is a struggle for me as we recover from several serious financial setbacks. Count it all joy because God is teaching me perseverance.

  401. Dawn Dailey January 30, 2016 at 1:18 pm #

    Liz, it takes courage to set aside your own agenda and follow the Lord’s promptings. I believe God will bless you for your obedience and He will use these projects in 2016 for His glory.

    I have been praying for you since the loss of your brother, John, and for your knee surgery. Thank you for sharing about your other sufferings. I can’t imagine how challenging the last three months have been for you.

    Losses come in all shapes and sizes, don’t they? Jesus tells us in John 16:33 that in this world we will have trouble (not that we “might” have trouble). He encourages us to take heart for He has overcome the world (and our circumstances). In Him we can have peace and even joy. God walks with us through the valley of all our difficult situations. You are not alone. He is faithful and He is good. Praying for your healing and recovery, for peace and joy.

    Dawn

  402. Vicky January 30, 2016 at 1:59 pm #

    As a pastor’s wife the pity party is an easy game to play, after all – I’m living in a glass house. Your Bible study thoughts this morning reminded me that all the extra struggles and illness I have had these last few months are just opportunity after opportunity to display His grace and sufficiency. From listening to you share in Hannibal MO many years ago, to a sweet little luncheon in Alexandria, KY just a year ago – God always touches my heart and renews my spirit through your kind encouraging words. Thank you for your transparency.

  403. Trish January 30, 2016 at 2:41 pm #

    Obedience. Not easy but always necessary. Thank you for listening and being willing to do less, making your efforts even more effective. When He empowers us to do it, the results are always more than we can do on our own.

  404. PamShattuck January 30, 2016 at 2:52 pm #

    Thanks for reminding me that JOY is always the best and that I am
    not alone is my struggles to stay joyful.
    Be Blessed

  405. Dawn January 30, 2016 at 3:33 pm #

    Liz, Many prayers for your continued recovery! It has been a medically challenging year for me as well. Through it all there were days when I wanted nothing more than to simply disappear. But God…. I’ve learned that it’s better to face what’s going on, then focus my attention on Him instead of myself, and the move forward to whatever needs to be done next. Thank you for continuing to share love and life with the rest of us. <3

  406. Billie January 30, 2016 at 3:52 pm #

    Trust in Jesus that everything will work out in the end. Humility-Ive learned how to treat, love, and respect others since becoming a reborn christian.

  407. Lauren January 30, 2016 at 4:09 pm #

    That life is hard sometimes but We can always find joy in our Father and He delights in showing us the joy not only in the big ways or the good times but in the small ways in the hard times. I have a joy wooden knick knack that I put up for Christmas because it’s red and green. I chose to leave it up this year as a reminder. Will be praying for you Liz.

  408. Patricia Lott January 30, 2016 at 4:19 pm #

    When the days seem cold and dreary, God shows up, the sun breaks through the clouds and everything seems new again. Hope you are feeling better.

  409. Julie January 30, 2016 at 4:19 pm #

    Thanks for the reminder that we should not let our circumstances take away our joy in our lives. Prayers for your continued healing.

  410. Suzanne January 30, 2016 at 4:59 pm #

    I am praying to God that He open my eyes to see all the gifts of His goodness that are around me…even the not-so-obvious and the little things that I often look past.
    When I count these gifts and name them I am filled with gratitude. God’s goodness is real to me as I name these constant gifts. I want to make room for joy in my life and thankfulness pushes out dissatisfaction and bitterness. Let the joy come on in!!!

  411. Grace Troutman January 30, 2016 at 5:01 pm #

    Lately the Lord has been telling me to be kinder. In all situations I need to show the Lord’s kindness to everyone I meet. Sometimes this is not easy but if I look at the individual as someone Jesus loves.

  412. Rhonda January 30, 2016 at 5:19 pm #

    I’m encouraged that every challenge I have faced in the past has been preparing me for the ones I am facing currently. Not easy but I never have to doubt God’s faithful presence.

  413. Mary Jane Miller January 30, 2016 at 5:37 pm #

    I had a surprise surgery over Christmas and am facing some further medical tests, so this post was very timely for me to remember to count ir all joy and remain thankful I LOVE your phrase not to consider the extent of our situation but the greatness of our GOD and He is Huge (my paraphrase) . I am hanging my hat on that one in 2016! Prayers for your continued comfort and healing.

  414. Suzy Richardson January 30, 2016 at 5:42 pm #

    When I’ve looked to my circumstances, I have lots of sorrows. I was reminded recently that when I invite God into the everything if my life, there is joy!
    My husband decided to change churches. He had a valid reason(it was much closer to home 20 minutes instead of 45 minutes). I just didn’t want to go through the adjustments. I went along dragging my feet and calling out to God to be an obiedient wife. Because I asked for Gods help I am making new friends and involved in a great Bible study!

  415. Pepper January 30, 2016 at 6:01 pm #

    Liz,

    Thanks for sharing your trials. God works in great ways, He speaks to us through others. This isn’t the first time this week I have been reassured of this promises. Things have been bumpy at church lately. We are searching for a new minister. Our congregation is dividing. I keep holding on to the fact that God is in control, and We need to focus on Him. God is so good! Praying for you too ?

  416. Utanah Williams January 30, 2016 at 6:19 pm #

    As I go through the grief of losing my husband of 49-1/2 years I need to turn my hurts into positive thoughts.

  417. Linda January 30, 2016 at 6:39 pm #

    As I read your message, I thought–WOW!! and I thought I was down. You have had your time with difficulties and as you pointed out, Find the Joy in it and stop whining. I need to follow your suggestions and find the Joy in the ‘stuff’ that is hanging on and no antibiotic has made it go away. I am beginning to feel better so hopefully I’m on the mend. Thank you so much for your encouraging words.

  418. Mary January 30, 2016 at 8:20 pm #

    Thanks so much for sharing! We/I need to read and hear how God is at work in others! It strengthens, encourages, and motivates me to keep choosing to go towards God!

  419. Vikki H January 30, 2016 at 8:41 pm #

    God’s timing never ceases to amaze me. Thank you for your honesty in sharing your real struggles. Blessings to you this coming year.

  420. Angie K. January 30, 2016 at 9:39 pm #

    To be still in the quiet.

  421. Alea January 30, 2016 at 10:41 pm #

    Good or bad – God is there with us for it all. ☺

  422. Karen R January 30, 2016 at 10:42 pm #

    Thank you for the reminder that God has a plan and a purpose for the difficult times in our lives. Sorry for your loss of your brother and many health problems. I lost my dad to cancer the day after Thanksgiving, so can understand a little better. Thanks for the encouraging emails and for the lovely giveaway. 🙂

  423. Debbie E January 30, 2016 at 11:29 pm #

    Choose happiness.
    This was one of my “I purpose in my heart to…” this past November. Living life happy in spite of whatever comes. It has changed many things for me also!
    A visiting special needs person rearranged my books for me (2 large bookcases, double and triple rows) and when I finally got around to putting them back in order I pulled Bad Girls and Really Bad Girls off to use for Bible Study. Been enjoying revisiting these. It’s been a couple years since I read them.
    Praying God’s Presence is very real to you the next few weeks. Oh, and less is good. I really enjoy your lessons and often print off part of them to review/study/think on for a while. Less can often be more. God knows Best!

  424. Pam Gentry January 30, 2016 at 11:31 pm #

    Dear Liz,

    First of all I am so sorry for the hard, hard times you have been going through especially the loss of your brother. It is hard enough when your emotions have been trampled on the ground but then when your body is having a hard time that is even worse. I think you must stay open to the whispers of the Lord because you were hearing his voice even in such a rough and continuous stream of the hardest life has to offer. I already knew the part about Believers are not exempt from various types of troubles & tests and talk about it often in our Sunday School class but it is so cool that you could hear God’s voice and “get it” so completely and then pass the point across to us. “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds.” James 1:2 I need to remember the part about pure joy means just that 100% nothing but Joy (Amp) Greek every delight. I would never wish all the hard things that you have been through on anyone but I will pray for you and remember your words and glad that you could find meaning & Joy in your hardships as I will try to do. I met you many years ago and often tell the story about how you came to our bookstore and when there was no one to ask you to sign a book you were asked by a customer where the concordance were and that you took the time to not just show her but to talk about them for several minutes too. You didn’t have to. You just did. I admire you very much and keep writing and speaking. You reach so many people. God bless you!

  425. Rose Davis January 30, 2016 at 11:59 pm #

    Happy New Year Liz and everyone…

    Here is a verse that has helped me through family loss and difficult times of illness.

    2 Corinthians 6:10(NIV)… sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything.

    I feel blessed to have you in my life over the years. Thank you for sharing your skill of writing and your faith. I love to read and you have made it very enjoyable for me. Blessed also to participate in your studies and blog, thanks again.

    Looking forward to 2016 with you.
    Aloha~*

  426. Dolly January 31, 2016 at 12:17 am #

    Liz,
    Thanks for sharing what has been happening in your life. I hope you are feeling better. You made me realize that we are never alone, God is always with us even when we become so self absorbed we forget he is there. You are always on my prayer list with thanks to God for wonderful authors like you. Love your books. So very helpful to me in my life. Stay well.
    Love in Christ, my sister,
    Dolly

    • jan March 6, 2016 at 3:10 pm #

      Since I have become disabled my friend list has dwindled. Your statement about “instead of counting my friends”, become accountable to them really encouraged me beyond words. Thanks Liz! I needed to hear that today!

  427. Rebecca January 31, 2016 at 12:29 am #

    Just wish I could find a way to encourage my mom with dimentia to find joy in her life. She is so angry and bitter. I commit this to Jesus in prayer.

  428. Deanna January 31, 2016 at 12:43 am #

    There have been many times that the pity party has taken over my life. Then God reminds me that He is there for me. He lifts me up and carries me through these trials.

  429. Kelly H January 31, 2016 at 1:21 am #

    Praying for you! Appreciated your devotional… good truths to be reminded of! “Content mint” has been a theme over my tea times with God and other ladies. I need to be reminded frequently to focus on all my blessings in Him and through Him. As a homeschool mom trying to see my kids come to really know God, they often teach me how much I still have to learn myself. One “project” we did to get our focus on what is right, good, true… was a Praise Alphabet listing as many things we had to be thankful for starting with each letter of the alphabet. Our goal was 100 for each letter (except x)… most letters we were able to make our goal, some we exceeded… we found almost 3,000 things we had to be thankful for… Changed our perspective and attitudes as long as we didn’t forget and kept our eyes on the “author and perfecter of our faith”.

    Wishing you well and that whatever happens each day you can continue to joyfully say, “God make it count… for my growth and Your glory.”

  430. Sandra Wall January 31, 2016 at 1:23 am #

    Gee Louise! I had a whole thing typed and I did it ALL wrong. See, I can do ALL things thru Christ…..even figure out how to leave a comment from my phone…..lol. Hoping that the scarf its keeping you warm in this cold weather. It had been a long journey having 14 living with us down to six and now up to 9. A co-worker having to leave because of medical reasons, training, and realizing that I have “issues”with this new worker. Then getting on line and seeing your post. I CAN get thru my issues. I am thankful that my daughter has been clean for over a year and that she is working, able to pay child support and have her daughter living with her. That my youngest daughter its not living with her abusive s/o and is going to college. Prayer its still needed for my middle daughter. She is still in an n abusive relationship with 4 kids. My son is finally in a arts school and doing great. It is wonderful having positive things to say regarding family. I did not think I would make it thru 2015. There are still many challenges to go thru, especially my attitude in certain situations. That is why your verse was a very good reminder for me. I am so glad to hear that you got thru 2015 also. Looking forward to your posts

  431. Stephanie January 31, 2016 at 1:26 am #

    Liz, I am so sorry to hear of all your trials in the last few months! But, God is faithful…He grows us to be more Christ-like in the valleys of life. One thing that I Like to share with my students and friends is that we can have JOY in our lives, even if we may not be happy. Those two words are very different. JOY is from God, being filled with the Holy Spirit; happiness is from our feelings, which are not always true. May we, as Christ-followers, always choose JOY!

  432. Trisha January 31, 2016 at 2:37 am #

    Thank you for sharing your story of trials but also how you found joy in the hard times. Such an honest testimony and I am blessed and encouraged by it.

  433. Debbie M January 31, 2016 at 6:23 am #

    Your honesty in your faith is refreshing. Your study has made me realize that my frustrations at work are pretty petty and that I need to spend more time in His word so I can reflect joy instead of frustration.

  434. Lisa January 31, 2016 at 6:42 am #

    The joy is always there – we have to choose to let it invade us!

  435. Stephanie Cramer January 31, 2016 at 7:57 am #

    Thank you for this post. I have really been struggling with the keep on going when the cards seem stacked against me,keeping a positive attitude and trying to find the humor and the best in every situation. Thank you for reminding me I am not alone in the struggle. And that mindset makes a huge difference in our outlook. Prayers for a healthy year for you this year and I am looking forward to all of your upcoming projects.

  436. Babette January 31, 2016 at 8:39 am #

    Thank you for saying “We’re “proving” (ASV) we believe in God and His Word by showing the world our joy instead of our frustration, anger, disappointment, and the rest.”

    I need to remember this. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us and may God bless you greatly in the new year.

  437. Linda Kimmel January 31, 2016 at 9:25 am #

    Consider it all joy…..what a wonderful thought to meditate on! Let’s see if I can do it throughout the whole day!

  438. Angela O'Connor January 31, 2016 at 9:49 am #

    Perseverance is what I need!

  439. Rosi Truex January 31, 2016 at 12:23 pm #

    Hi Liz,
    I have to say, God really spoke to me and convicted me through this blog. In the past year, I have had substantial weight loss – and others, seeing my loss, have be inspired to lose as well. But, what of my Christian example – am I inspiring others to want to know HIM because of what they see in me? Your words, “They may see our “patience”, our “endurance”, and the “steadfastness” of our faith, and decide a relationship with God could be the real deal. Worth considering. Worth pursuing.” made me ponder – are others seeing Christ in me? Am I reflecting Him to others that they may know Him? Thanks for pricking me in my spirit and making me want to be the kind of person where someone says, “I want what you have — I want JESUS!” Hugs my friend…and blessings!

  440. oklawoman January 31, 2016 at 12:28 pm #

    Hi, y’all–

    as a recently converted Catholic, I was glad to learn that our suffering can be joined with Jesus’ suffering for the salvation of souls. Our suffering is not in vain. I have always had the attitude of “at least it’s not cancer” when thinking about my health or other issues. Now, I know my issues, when given to Jesus, will result in salvation for others. This, in itself, is enough to make me (a little more) joyful in my suffering.

  441. Pam Abel January 31, 2016 at 1:43 pm #

    What has been revealed to me in your wonderful posting of James 1 is that on those days when I am feeling overwhelmed, disappointed in myself and others, and just downright glum…that there is JOY to be recognized and celebrated…JOY in the small things…JOY in knowing God…JOY is being with family and friends…I am still working on building perseverance–but with the Lord’s help, it will happen!!! Thank you for sharing your work and being a JOY to others.

  442. Robin Myers January 31, 2016 at 2:38 pm #

    Hi Liz, glad to hear you are on the recovery side of your health issues. I also had some health issues during the same time, but they were not as serious as yours. Mine were more on the irritating list. Several of your ideas had also been part of my thoughts. Imagine that! God working on the same issues in a variety of people. Your idea of not counting our burdens was something I was meditating on just the other day. We tend to focus on the negative, and forget how blessed we really are. It was great to have my thoughts reinforced in your letter.

  443. Terrie January 31, 2016 at 4:54 pm #

    Love your fun spirit and transparency!

    Thanks Liz, I am learning that I am more than my current circumstance.
    I am a child of the living God; I have an inheritance that I did not and can’t earn. My current circumstance does not define who I am.

    Praise God!

  444. Janice Davidson January 31, 2016 at 5:23 pm #

    “But when all is not well and we’re still joyful, praising God for His faithfulness? Friend, that gets people’s attention.”

    My new motto for the year. Thanks, Liz

  445. Tracy Crump January 31, 2016 at 5:43 pm #

    Liz, I’m sorry you’ve had such a tough season. I had a year like that myself, and it’s no fun. Your post reminded me that the way we handle life’s trials not only affects our own mental states but also our witness to others. As you said, joyfully praising God through those times gets people’s attention.

  446. Kristi January 31, 2016 at 6:00 pm #

    I too have been sidelined by an illness or two this season & am taking medical leave from my job working with kids for the rest of the school year. Change is often uncomfortable but through this time of rest God is showing me how much he loves me, how good he is & he has a new, better plan for my future.

  447. Sue January 31, 2016 at 8:29 pm #

    I loved this blog as I’ve come through a particularly hard six months at my work and I hope that people didn’t always see my frustration and anger, but that they saw Joy in me as I persevered through it. I loved the reminder that when they see us joyful in the hard times they will want to know why and we can point them to Jesus. Thanks!

  448. Betty Bennett January 31, 2016 at 9:29 pm #

    I think what stood out to me was that our trials and troubles make us who we are in the Lord -I believe they help us to really stand on what we say we believe. I also need to stop grumbling so much about things and have /show more JOY

  449. Carla Heslop January 31, 2016 at 9:51 pm #

    Today this:: “It isn’t the size of our situation that matters. It’s the size of our God, and HE IS HUGE.”

  450. Mary January 31, 2016 at 9:55 pm #

    Liz,
    Thank you for the reminder to be joyful in all things. I need to work on showing others God’s awesomeness through my joy each day no matter what comes my way. I also enjoy the well chosen pictures that you include in each post. They always bring a smile to my face and warm my heart.
    Thank you.

  451. Neely Crum January 31, 2016 at 10:18 pm #

    Thank You Liz for reminding me that God IS BIGGER Than my Issues and that it is indeed ok to turn my trials to HIM to guide me through.

  452. Jenny Snow January 31, 2016 at 11:32 pm #

    Wow, Liz. I’m glad you’re on the other side of all that. And I’m glad you were able to count it all joy (and that you’ll get more rest with your new “less!”

    Down the hall, I can hear my son coughing as he tries to sleep. God is reminding me not to fear. He has seen me (and my son) through this before, and he can do so every time. No matter what, he’s with me and I need not fear.

    Love you, Liz. And so thankful for you being faithful to follow God’s calling and use your gifts. You are a blessing!
    Love,
    Jenny

  453. Karen Anderson February 1, 2016 at 12:18 am #

    Uffda…..this hit home. This past year has been one of many challenges. A double mastectomy, reconstruction, my only sister lost her 5 year battle to ovarian cancer, a hysterectomy, to name a few. However, God is good and ever faithful. Joy has definitely been a choice! Thanks for the reminder.

  454. Tammy Ritter February 1, 2016 at 7:34 am #

    I’m so glad you will still be sending us monthly encouragement!! I would love to win an adult coloring book!!

  455. Vicki Anderson February 1, 2016 at 8:48 am #

    Blessings on you Liz. I hope you are mending and getting your new knee working well. You are such a huge blessing to me and for that I am thankful.

  456. Nickie Ostick February 1, 2016 at 9:30 am #

    Liz, I was was where you were at Christmas time a year ago — in the hospital. After a car accident in April that resulted in a broken leg, I got an infection in my knee from the brace. That led to a round of antibiotics that resulted in a months-long battle with c-diff. I can testify that God was good through it all! Things do improve. It took me a while to feel like my old self, even after the c-diff was effectively treated. But God was with me and I am whole! What a mighty God we serve!

  457. Melanie Williams February 1, 2016 at 9:51 am #

    I’m honking because I’m with you, beloved Liz! “Better to spend more time in God’s Word and less time tooting my own horn”… and less time in self-absorption and my own selfish pursuits. Just the message He’s been giving me over and over again lately. Thank you for this message and your faithfulness to do as He leads you!

  458. Mona February 1, 2016 at 10:10 am #

    Christmas Eve Eve – my daughter’s birthday. I love this and although I received multiple coloring books at Christmas I would love to give some as gifts

  459. Candy Davison February 1, 2016 at 11:31 am #

    I hope your ears were burning at about 2:15 on Friday as Glenna and I were Facetiming and talking about you!! She got me up to speed on your situation before I read your wonderful devotional. Surely our dear Glenna is a wonderful example of someone who is putting legs to “consider it pure joy… whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” I’m happy for your word from the Lord this year-“less!” Mine is “rest.” Looking forward to what that means!! Love and prayers, Candy

  460. Reverie February 1, 2016 at 2:45 pm #

    Yes. This. It has been a long winter mingled with joy and sorrow. Joy mixed with sorrow as I sent two of my children (and two grandchildren) to other states to begin the next phases of their lives. Sorrow over my mother’s cancer. Joy over the good things God is doing in our local body of believers. And so much more.

    But this phrase challenges my heart–“We’re “proving” (ASV) we believe in God and His Word by showing the world our joy instead of our frustration, anger, disappointment, and the rest.” I want to be a joyful believer no matter the circumstances.

    Thank you for challenging all of us not to quit and to show Jesus to a needy world.

  461. Laurie Diggins February 1, 2016 at 5:10 pm #

    Dear Liz,
    Your humor is good medicine! When I focus on myself, problems can seem huge. When I realize others have greater difficulties, and I commit to pray for them, our BIG God shows Himself strong on my behalf as well as on behalf of others. Thanks for being a blessing!

  462. Charlotte Council February 1, 2016 at 5:28 pm #

    Your writing is such an encouragement and learning experiece for any one wanting to learn more about the women in the bible. Thanks for giving your fans all that God gives you to share 🙂

  463. Bobbi Graffunder February 1, 2016 at 5:43 pm #

    This is what God gently reminded of….”Count it all joy” (every delight)….1000 Gifts….look for His grace, His gifts in the midst of the trial.

  464. Brenda February 1, 2016 at 7:40 pm #

    It reminded me that no matter the situation that I am in, I am never alone. God is in control and knows what every outcome will be for my situation. This is a reminder to me that God is faithful. I don’t want to lose the joy of following Christ.

    Hope you are feeling better now. What a bunch of trials you have been through lately. Thanks for sharing them with us.

  465. Diana Guz February 1, 2016 at 7:48 pm #

    Dear Liz,
    My heart goes out to you for all the troubles you have been through. You’re such an inspiration when you choose to praise God and glorify Him even in all of that. I know that when tragedies come in my own life, I can trust in Him and press on. And furthermore, I can rejoice in the Lord of my salvation. Thank you ever so much for both that reminder and the lovely giveaway! 🙂 God bless you and watch over you!

  466. Kelly February 1, 2016 at 9:41 pm #

    At our church we are doing a sermon series on 1 Timothy entitled “Fight the good fight” It appears that you have been in the fight and are stronger because of it. Keep fighting girl, thanks for all your uplifting stories, love and prayers.

  467. Rebecca February 2, 2016 at 7:23 am #

    Tears in my eyes for all that you’re going through. A smile on my lips for your humor in the face of so many difficulties. A prayer from my mouth to God’s ear for your speedy recovery. God bless you, Liz.

  468. Mary February 2, 2016 at 9:09 am #

    I’m too late for the give-away, but I want to say thank you for this Bible study. I was in the ER with my mother on the day after Christmas, and we lost her last week so this reminded me that as the trials come God has good things in store for me this year.

  469. Mary February 2, 2016 at 9:10 am #

    Thank you for this Bible study. This year has been a tearful one so far, but I’m reminded that God uses our trials to make us stronger.

  470. Debi Detroyer February 2, 2016 at 12:08 pm #

    Honk Honk Lizzie, I’m with you! Your always an encouragement even after you’ve been through so much. Praising God for your healing.
    My head is spinning with the New Year, wanting to do more for the Lord, wanting to get my house in order, mounds of paperwork needs to be dealt with………yet somehow in God’s Sovereignty he has his ways of softly speaking to us to slow down, I had pneumonia to bring in the New Year, it gave me time to do just that, slow down and listen. I think of 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 “Be joyful always, pray continually; give thanks in all circumstance, for this is God’s will for you in Jesus Christ.” Be blessed sister, looking forward to hearing from you monthly.

  471. Cathy Gross February 5, 2016 at 10:53 am #

    Excellent post, Liz. Your transparency draws me to your posts…you are not ashamed to show you are human like the rest of us! thank you.
    Three days ago I had a back surgery. As I got to know my evening nurse, I realized she was a Sister in Jesus but she did not know her worth. She loves Him but I don’t think she realizes her worth…so we talked about just that. God in His wonderful, intervening way, brought us together to share. He cared enough about His two girls to orchestrate our meeting. Now I do not believe He caused me to need surgery because only good gifts come from Him. But He took a bad situation and inserted beauty right into the middle of the pain. Sweet relief!
    I am glad He did the same for you. Let us agree that 2016 will indeed by a year for joy!

  472. Evelyn Freeman February 8, 2016 at 11:50 am #

    Liz – Your words create such powerful images…”It was the last straw in a whole haystack of heartaches and health issues..” Upon reading this, I could envision a high haystack – each straw representing an issue of life, piling up on top of each other, until it was collapsing with the weight. My mind quickly thought of the duteous farmer who didn’t allow the hay to get too high before putting it in order. If we allow God, He will order our lives. He will neatly stack the straws of stress and hurt, of joy and blessings, in order that we are useful for His kingdom. As the old hymn says so perfectly….”Be still, my soul: The Lord is on thy side; With patience bear thy cross of grief or pain.
    Leave to thy God to order and provide;
    In ev’ry change He faithful will remain.
    Be still, my soul: Thy best, thy heav’nly Friend
    Thru thorny ways leads to a joyful end.”
    Liz – may God’s healing hand restore you to full health… for your good and His glory. AMEN

  473. Sue Peterson February 10, 2016 at 3:03 pm #

    Liz, once again GRACIAS for sharing from your heart and the heart of God’s Word! May He continue to bless you and fill you up!

  474. Debbie Weber February 10, 2016 at 5:35 pm #

    Hi Liz – I just read your latest email. How inspirational!

    Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. James 1:2-3

    My heart aches that you lost your older brother amidst all your health issues. I finally came back home to Virginia after helping take care of my Mom in the hospital in Kentucky. My Mom came home and then my dad had to have surgery. Yes, there was joy in the four months I was away from home. Joy – I am blessed to have the ability to care for them and blessed to spend some quality time with my parents at their age.

    Hang in there and I’m praying for you!

  475. JUST WATCHED THE VIDEOS OF BAD GIRLS OF THE BIBLE N REALLY BAD GIRLS OF THE BIBLE. AWESOME, THAT YOU FOR LAUGHTER.
    THE SPRING IN E. PA. GOT ONE UP THE ROAD HERE IN OHIO, IT IS SUCH A BLESSING TO HAVE THAT GOOD WATER THAT COMES OFF THE HILLSIDE, GOD IS GOOD.
    DEBBIE IN OHIO.
    PS, HOPE TO MAKE IT TO THE 21ST OF APRIL MEETING IN LOU,KY, IF I DO I WILL BRING YOU A BOTTLE OF REAL WATER!

  476. Donna Eckert February 12, 2016 at 10:05 am #

    What a coincidence when I went to your blog post and read the words on the picture – you are not alone. I was just immersed in the same sentiment from a book I was reading on the train, coming in to work. Maybe God’s really trying to hammer that thought home for me today. It reminded me also of a song by Laura Story called Blessings – what if your blessings come through raindrops, what if your healing comes through tears, what if a thousand sleepless nights is what it takes to feel you near, what if trials of this life are your mercies in disguise.

    Thanks for your lovely thoughts.

  477. Sue Wales February 15, 2016 at 10:32 am #

    Thank you for sharing; I also had some health issue in the fall of 2015; and I have learnt that I have to take time for myself and let the Lord heal me; has am healing; I decided to re read your novels; starting with thorn in my heart etc. May the Lord Bless you; My sister in Christ.

  478. Sheila February 26, 2016 at 5:40 pm #

    Liz,
    As a woman who encourages, supports and inspires so many others, I appreciate the blessing of encouraging you! Seasons, it is all about seasons, some we like better than others, but it is good to know Jesus is constant in every season. Praying for you in this season to heal physically, emotionally and spiritually! Looking forward to all of your upcoming projects! I appreciate the JesusGlitter you are in so many lives, including mine! Sparkle on sweet woman!

  479. Teresa Humphrys February 27, 2016 at 10:39 am #

    Dear Sweet Liz,
    I hope that by now your health is strong and the weary days are gone! Bless you! I wish I could bring you a pot of soup. (a little bit of a drive from TN 🙁
    Blessings to you and Bill as you are recovering and hopefully back on your feet (both of them!). Excited to read all that is upcoming in your ministry.
    You are cherished! By our Father, the Almighty, and by many who love you.

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