Tag: Christmas 2014

Alive Remains the Manger Scene

[Guest post by Rebecca Lamarche: Rebecca also blogged recently, but when I received this beautiful poem from her, I knew it had to be the final post in this Christmas guest post series! Merry Christmas, everyone!]           ALIVE REMAINS THE MANGER 

Extending God's Gift of Grace

[Guest post by Carla Gasser: Carla submitted this piece when I was scheduling for this series, and although she didn’t intend to be a part of it, I thought her story of God’s grace was perfect for the series. As God gives grace to us, we 

Mental Illness is My Gift from God

mental illness is my gift on devotional diva christmas guest post series 2014[Guest post by Linda Svoboda: Thank you, Linda, for bravely sharing your story on mental illness! It’s challenging to accept mental illness in your life at all, let alone call it a gift from God!]

I am so thankful for all the gifts that God has given me, but I am especially grateful for one that He has blessed me with.

Many people would not see it as a gift, but rather a difficult challenge.  Most people have a hard time talking about my gift and don’t understand what it truly is.  However, a few really get it.  They understand that my gift is indeed a truly unique treasure and that I need to share with people what it is all about.

Being bi-polar is my gift.

You may wonder why I see being diagnosed with a mental illness as a blessing from God.  It is, and I would like to tell you why.

Before I was diagnosed at age 16, I knew that God loved me, and that His son Jesus died for me, but I yearned for a deeper walk with Him.  I didn’t know how to talk to Him.  After I was diagnosed, I started spending time with Him.  One of my favorite places to be with Him was a lake a few blocks away from my house.  I would go there after school and just talk to Him while I walked with Him.

I found myself just pouring out my heart to God, and I knew He was listening to me.

It was so peaceful being by the water and hearing the birds sing as they flew above me.  I loved the crystal clear lake and I enjoyed feeling the sunshine on my face.  I did this nearly every day, and I just treasured the time with Him.

I remember asking God, “Why?  Why am I bi-polar?  What’s going to happen to me?  What about my future?  I’d love to be a wife and a mother someday, but is there anyone that would want to marry me?”

I just felt God saying to my heart, “Trust me.  I have a plan.”

So I trusted and waited.  And God did some amazing things.  I graduated with honors from both high school and college.  I taught pre-school for a few years, as I love to be around kids.  I loved being involved at church, and I enjoyed hanging around some wonderful friends.  I learned how important it is to stay on my medicine, and how valuable Christian counseling is.  I experienced how awesome exercise is to relieve stress, and understood that I really needed to take care of myself.  Proper nutrition really helped me tremendously!

However, there was a longing in my heart to be a wife and a mother.  My Mom and Dad prayed with me that God would bring a wonderful godly man into my life, and He did!  Kevin and I married in 1998, and he truly is a blessing from God.  He has been there for me when I was sick, and we’ve had many awesome years when I was well.  I am so thankful for him.  We began praying for a child when we were dating, and God has answered that prayer twice.  We are so thankful for our 2 precious beautiful children.

I want to tell everyone that God does hear our prayers, and that our God is the God of miracles!

He has taken a very difficult diagnosis at an early age, and turned it around for His glory.  I have friends that have struggled with mental illness and I’ve been able to share with them what’s helped me.  The greatest gift that He gave me was not only to have a mental illness, but also to have the chance to fellowship with Him in my sufferings.  Being able to have a deep relationship with Him and loving Him and knowing that He cares for me and my family is indeed a huge gift. 

I have realized that knowing Jesus is the greatest gift of all.

Even though it came through a difficult situation, I now realize that He indeed had a perfect plan.  That perfect plan was for me to know Him and that is by far the greatest gift He could have ever given me.


linda svoboda on devotional divaLinda Svoboda is so thankful to have an awesome husband and two beautiful children. She is a children’s book author, and loves to read Christian historical fiction. She loves going  on long walks, and enjoys spending time with her family and friends. She feels blessed to be able to share her story with you.

This guest post is part of the first-ever Devotional Diva Christmas guest post series entitled, “The Gifts God Has Given You.” Look for more posts with this theme now until December 23rd!

My Extra is Someone Else's Everything

[Guest post by Jo Ann Erwin: Jo Ann just recently posted in November, but I couldn’t turn this wonderful post from her away for our Christmas guest post series! I love the story of the widow in Mark & Luke, and Jo Ann’s story of how her 

Peace and Joy

[Guest post by Rebekah Carrington: Maybe it’s the pregnancy hormones, but this post really tugged at my heart! I know exactly what kind of peace and joy Rebekah is talking about and it’s certainly a gift from God!]   There is heaven and earth and 

God's Gift of Faithfulness

faithfulness of god devotional diva christmas guest post series 2014[Guest post by Dawn Wilson: This is exactly what I had in mind when I created the idea of this Christmas series. God’s faithfulness truly is a gift, and ultimately everything we receive is from Him!]


God’s gift of faithfulness is an ongoing blessing.

When I was a young woman, I traveled all over the United States with a brand new revival team, Life Action Ministries. I arrived at the team proud and self-sufficient, and it didn’t take long for me to realize I was a “Phony Baloney” Christian. I trusted Christ—for real—and set out on a life-long adventure with Jesus.

During those first days with the revival team, I saw God’s Spirit working in people’s lives—calling believers to repentance and obedience, restoring families, changing churches. I was thrilled to be part of such a powerful ministry.

But I struggled with the meager $10 the ministry gave to each team member. It was all the leaders could afford to give at the time.

Other team members received help from parents or friends, but I didn’t; and I soon lacked practical things needed on the road: toothpaste, deodorant, hair spray, nylons, makeup, feminine supplies, breath mints, and thank you notes.

I scrimped and made wise choices, but I was getting desperate. I considered leaving the team. “But Lord,” I prayed, “didn’t you call me here?”

Now I believed God provides where He calls—the leaders told me that—and in my heart I believed God cares for His children. But I didn’t know how far I could trust my Heavenly Father. I was still praying wimpy prayers, not the confident prayers a child of God should pray.

I felt like a homeless person, lacking so many things. So my prayer one day was a bit panicky, a bit bold: “Lord, you know I don’t have these things. I’ve watched you provide spiritually for people in the churches where we’ve shared. Won’t you please provide some practical things for me too?”

Then I listed all my needs to God.

The next week our ministry traveled to Florida, and another team member and I stayed at an elderly woman’s home. I met our home hostess at the church. She was sweet, but I groaned inwardly, thinking the lady was probably poor and we’d have a tough week.

But her home was comfortable, tidy and so cheerful with lacy curtains and flowers on the table. She offered us a refreshing glass of water and led us to our room.

I stood in the doorway of our room, totally surprised. My lip quivered and I burst into tears.

I saw lovely, big gift baskets on each of our beds. To my surprise, it contained everything I’d prayed for—even the thank you notes. And there was also some not-prayed-for chocolates! In  the bottom of the basket was a $20 bill in an envelope, just in case she’d forgotten something.

I can’t tell you how overwhelmed I felt as I prayed with tears, “Oh, Father God, you are so good to me. I’ve never had to trust You this way before. Thank you for Your goodness. Thank you for your faithfulness.”

I ran to tell our hostess about my prayer and how God used her to answer it.  

But this was much more than a gift from a sweet old lady. The basket proved to me, a girl so new in faith, how much God loved me and cared about my needs. Like all good gifts (James 1:17), the basket was ultimately from my Father God.

In the 40 years to follow, serving with Life Action and several other ministries, God has continued to meet my needs. But that “Faithfulness Basket” was my turning point in understanding God’s faithfulness.

With maturity, I grew to trust the Lord like Paul in Philippians 4:11-12, receiving from Him in times of abundance, but also in times of want. It’s a different kind of faithfulness as God shows Himself strong and sufficient in my times of struggle or suffering.

In time, I understood that Jesus is the Father’s greatest Gift—His greatest provision.

“Great is Thy Faithfulness, Lord unto me.”

dawn wilson on devotional divaDawn Wilson, founder and President of Heart Choices Ministries, is the creator of three blogs: Heart Choices Today, LOL with God, and Upgrade with Dawn. She co-authored LOL with God with Pam Farrel and wrote “The Blessing Basket” in It’s a God Thing. Dawn and her husband Bob have two married sons, three granddaughters and a rascally maltipoo, Roscoe.

This guest post is part of the first-ever Devotional Diva Christmas guest post series entitled, “The Gifts God Has Given You.” Look for more posts with this theme now until December 23rd!


Giving is Possible with God

[Guest post by Ifeoma Samuel: I thought this was a great post to kick off our Christmas guest post series, “The Gifts God Has Given You.” Let’s remember that anything is possible with God!] I am a passionate Sunday school teacher. I love my Sunday school