The Plea for Shining Armor

Have you seen that poignant meme that’s going around?  It says something about girls not wanting a knight in shining armor, but one in damaged armor because it shows he knows how to fight – and win.  My dear friend, Brianna Tibbetts even wrote a fantastic children’s book with a similar premise: The Knight in Battered Armor.

However, as much as I get and like that meme, some of us just come shiny.

Our armor is polished to a shine that’s mirror-worthy.  We reflect the sun so bright it blinds you.  We haven’t seen a single real battle in our lives.

And you like us that way.  You with holes and divots and bleeding wounds.  You’re looking for blindingly shining armor.  Someone who rides at you on that white horse with a smile so enormous you know they’ve never experienced real suffering.

We with our glistening, shining armor – we had great childhoods.  No one beat us.  No one starved us.  No one abused us.  Oh, our parents weren’t perfect – no one’s is. But you get to chuckle and swallow the lump in your throat listening to us complain about that one time a parent yelled because we swept all our mountain of toys under the bed instead of thoroughly cleaning up.

You laugh with relief because you were actually looking for shining armor.  You with your sword scars, your missing limbs, your armor in pieces.  You wanted rainbows and sunlight and summer grass and fireflies and hot chocolate.  You wanted to be reminded that life was worth living.  That in some pockets of the universe, there was endless joy.  Endless love.  Endless acceptance.

So you picked the purest, the sweetest, the brightest, the most innocent.

And you made us yours.

And we loved you.

But then when the old wounds ache late at night, when the thunder roars and rains fall, and when your old demons rear their heads and occupy long days in your soul, that’s when you find our shining armor an offense.

We don’t know how to take care of you.  We only know how to shine.  We don’t understand what you’re going through.  But we try.  We cry with you.  We hold you.  Our armor dulls under the stain of both of our mingled tears.

But you wanted shining armor because your own armor was frayed, broken, and warped.  And at least we showed up with armor.  Brand new is better than nothing.

However, we’re green, our noses fresh and unfreckled, our complexion peaches and cream.  We’ve never met a demon.  It takes all our energy and empathy and strength and understanding to get it.  Yet we try.  We take off our helmets and try to cram them on your head, ill-fitting and stabbing.  You screech at us.  It doesn’t work.  Don’t we get it?  You need something worn, something smooth from use, oiled from weeping, slick and easy to slide on because of the blood.

We don’t have that kind of armor.  We never did.  All we have is the crisp newness of a glistening mirrored face.  Staring back at you.  Showing you how damaged your breastplate has become.  It’s falling off your body.

In the end, you hate us for being shiny.  You resent us for being bright.  For being fresh.  For being naive.  For the joy you so once so eagerly sought.

But you’ve forgotten that’s what you wanted.

And, you know what?  In the end, you get your wish.

Because, living a lifetime with you –

We’ve become battered too.


Waking up, toes frigid

Gray daylight stripes through blinds

Prickly bumps on skin

Ice embedded in the chest

Ears rosy, breath cloudy crystals

You too

I wake and you still have not thawed

It shocks – gray stripes in your heart

No warmth, blocks of fear

Hide the sunlight that used to light your face

The tears that once shared

Crystals melted on your face

If only your soul was not frost too

The Color Orange

I existed in a world without orange

Eyes soothed, rainbows and hues
But no orange

Then that first fateful epiphany
When I realized the seating, excruciating sight
That filled my mind

Gasping, sobbing, reeling, falling
With orange

But back to peace, solace, rest
Pastels floating behind my eyelids
Bringing a new pure breath of air

But now I have a condition
Born of bitter sedition
Because represented by the concept of rejection
Is the color orange

Now I see it everywhere
Even where it’s not
Deep in those branches?
Or behind that window shade?
Is that glint in her eye
A hint of orange?

The hardened mock me – they say most shades have a tinge of orange
The cynics teach “burnt sienna,” “tan,” and “peach” I never saw before

But I don’t want to be like them
Seeing my world
In shades of orange

Yet she didn’t return my call
He didn’t invite me to to come
They didn’t remember the date

And I think I still wonder
Suspicious and broken

Are you too wearing orange?

Maybe We’re Praying for the Wrong Things

Imagine a child who has her heart set on a piece of hard candy.  She can taste that sugar on her tongue, the fruity flavor, and has a good idea about the delight it’s going to give her melting in her mouth.

Yet she’s six years old. Not a cent to her name.  Can’t even reach the tall shelf where she thinks the magic candy exists – basically a different dimension of sweet goodness that is privy to the adults and not her.

Being a child whose faith in her daddy’s kindness knows no bounds, she steals a glance at him talking to her mother and some other friends in front of the table in the kitchen.  His hands are clasped in front of him and she just knows he’s got her favorite candy hidden in his large, gentle palms.

Running at him full tilt, she thuds against his legs and leans into him.  “Daddy!  I want a piece of candy!”

He smiles at her, but keeps talking.  Is that a maybe?

Okay, she’ll ask again in a few minutes.

She continues this process over and over again until she loses count.  “Daddy!  I want a candy!”  She pulls at his interlaced fingers with her own tiny ones. Each time he smiles but doesn’t unclasp his hands. Sometimes a handful of the guests needle her father along with them, going, “Hey, give her the candy.”  But he merely shakes his head. No answer yet.

Finally, after the gazillionth time, in front of all the guests, he addresses her.  Opening his hands, he says, “No candy for you right now.  I never had any.”

Devastation hits her gut.  Giant wails burst out of her lungs, tears drowning her eyes.  No candy?  How is that possible?

And then warmth hits her face – icky, queasy embarrassment.  She glances around at all the guests, their faces belaying sympathy, some glancing away in discomfort, others’ eyes glistening with tears for her.  A couple here and there are frowning and muttering under their breath.  All those eyes, all those opinions.  Everyone watching her weep.  Everyone having seen her ask her father for the candy over and over again, only to watch her shame when it was never meant to be after all.  Some had been rooting for her success, even, and she can see the confused surprise mirrored in their own expressions.  She can see bits of distrust on one woman’s face as she glances at her father with a hardened glare.

“You made me feel like a fool,” the little girl whispers.  “You could have said no the first time.  Why did you let me ask over and over again if you never had the candy – if you never ever meant to give me candy?”


Five weeks and six days ago, I was that little girl.

After waiting years for the right timing and putting almost as many months into research, our family put down a down payment on our very first pet.  My three little girls – aged 8, almost 7, and 2, were so ready.  Cats and dogs were off the list due to hyper-dangerous allergy levels, and I had said no to anything caged or in a tank.   I wanted something we could play with and cuddle, not a prisoner in a corner of our home. Test results had shown that not a single member of the family was allergic to rabbits, and I had spent hours figuring out that the adorable little things could be litter-trained, free roam in your home, and socialized from birth to be friendly and calm.

We settled on English Lops.  They came highly recommended, a sweet young woman bred and socialized them in our area, and – I mean, come on.  Look at those glorious ears!

5 weeks

The sweet young breeder and her champion rabbits have twice as many likes on her business page than I do as an author(!), and a couple different rabbitries credit her good stock getting them started.  While I know there are shelter rabbits that need homes – and this isn’t the point of this article – this first time around, I really wanted to know what I was getting.  I wanted to start with a newly-weaned baby, I wanted him handled from birth, I wanted someone to pick out the perfect personality… I wanted the perfect experience for my family.  The previous year and a half had been HARD, and I looked forward to this hopeful new chapter.  Basically, I pinned a lot of my joy on this bunny being a delight in my family’s life.

2.5 weeks old

Pigeon – 2.5 weeks


4 weeks 5

Pigeon – 4 weeks

For five weeks until he was weaned, I emailed back and forth with the breeder, and we got to know each other beyond just rabbit care.  Every other day she sent us pictures and videos of little Pigeon (Oh yes, the name was my idea.  Ha!) and we grew completely attached.  We bought supplies, built a cage for nighttime, ordered hay, gathered safe sticks from our neighborhood and made chew toys, and cut fleece blankets.

I was euphoric.  It had been ages since I could remember being that happy.  Possibly since my miracle third daughter was born.  I read books on rabbit care cover to cover, taught my kids to identify all the breeds by sight, and cleared my schedule for the day when he would come home.

And then, one by one, his litter got sick.  Unprecedented deaths like never before for the breeder.  Three days before we were to take Pigeon home, on Easter morning, he fought his last battle with the debilitating gut disease and passed away at seven weeks old.

The night before he died, the breeder kissed his head one last time for me and sent me one last picture.


We spent Easter morning opening baskets with stuffed rabbits I had bought weeks before, my daughter sobbing, “Why would God do this?”

That night, I cried for two hours to my husband.  “Their experience is ruined!  The joy they were supposed to have getting their first pet was snatched away before we even got him!  All our hopes for the future!  Now it’s just smeared with death.  How could this happen?”

Bereaved, distraught, and sympathetic, our sweet breeder offered us one of the two remaining babies of the litter –a black little boy with otter marking.  She wanted him to go before her vacation, and to get out of the barn as soon as possible.  He had been treated with antibiotics just in case, and was thriving.

7 weeks (2)

Sitting there staring at the picture of this little guy on my phone was like looking at a stranger.  No, I didn’t want him.  I wanted Pigeon.  When he had been sick, hundreds of people online had prayed for our Pidgey.  We had seen him grow from two weeks old – where he could fit in her hand – to almost the day he became ours.  Who was this other rabbit?  And we needed to get over our grief and take him in a mere three days?  It was like whiplash.

“He was my personal favorite and has a great personality,” the breeder pleaded.  “Please love him and be happy for him.”

Like a mental slap to my soul, I straightened my tear-stained shirt and said yes.  We’ll take him.  I had no idea what I was doing, but I wasn’t going to say no to a rabbit that needed us, to a breeder’s plea from the heart, and I secretly wondered if this was the “story twist” one would expect.  “Family thinks it’s getting Pigeon but God mysteriously provides Penguin instead.  And he’s actually the perfect bunny.  And they all live happily ever after.  The End.”

My bunny-loving sister-in-law encouraged me with the same on the phone.  “Maybe this was the one you were always supposed to have.  This is your dream pet.”

Yet, secretly, down in my Calvinistic heart, that didn’t fully make sense.  If he was, why didn’t God point the breeder toward offering Penguin to begin with?  It’s not like God went, “Rats.  She already picked Pigeon.  I was too slow.  Well, gotta kill him off so I can give them the right rabbit.”

That’s not how God works.

No, we were supposed to have gone through this – to have looked forward to Pigeon, the first bunny, and watch him grow.  But why?

Growth?  Character?  Life lessons?

Rebelliously, down deep in my soul, I thought it felt a little harsh.  Kill an innocent little animal to teach us a lesson?  That didn’t seem very loving-Father-like.

And then I remembered all the animal sacrifices of the Old Testament – the animals that died for people’s sins frequently.  Jesus, Himself, the spotless Lamb who died for me.

And so I stopped moaning what happened, and embraced Penguin, our new rabbit, with my whole heart.

He.  Was.  Perfect.

The puppy dog of rabbits, he’d jump up on my lap on the couch and say hi.  He’d come running for food and leap up on his hind legs to paw at our pants.  He had a taste for books and chewed off a couple corners of Nancy Drews and Wally McDoogles with his itty bitty teeth.  He’d sun in the light that filtered into our livingroom window, make dashes for the open door to the upstairs playroom and romp among the kid toys, and take long naps behind the curtain near where the girls played piano for him.  He’d zoomie through the family room at lightning speed, ducking under the TV cabinet with limbo-like ease.


7 weeks (31)IMG_20190607_012534_359IMG_20190617_124446


There wasn’t a better rabbit in existence, and I can’t write this without stopping every single sentence to sob.

Because there was no fairytale ending.  There was no candy in daddy’s hand.  There was never any candy.  The answer was always going to be no.

He had a weak heart or maybe an allergy to the sedative.  He was on the small side and maybe there had been a defect in the litter.  We’ll never know because I refused the post-mortem and had the vet let us bring his stiff, cold body home as soon as possible so we could wail over his body before burying him in the ivy in our backyard.

After halfway through month three brought a rush of hormones, our sweet boy had become a bit of a troublemaker.  Spraying pee up to my hair, escaping constantly, and new skittish behavior convinced us he should be neutered.  We were promised by all the rabbit people that it was a cure-all for teenage male behavior.  Our well-trained rabbit was now soiling everything in sight and had more energy than we could keep up with.  He never bit or was aggressive, but he couldn’t stay gated in the kitchen, contained and unhappy because of his new naughty behavior.  Neutering really seemed our only option.

He died on the table before they even got the anesthesia in.  A sedative and pain med sparked a heart attack that killed him instantly.

They still worked on him for twenty minutes while I sobbed, “Jesus, save him!” on the other end of the telephone line.

I had sung “Baby Mine” from Dumbo to him as I stroked his head in his carrier when I dropped him off that morning.  I had almost missed the drop-off time due to traffic.  I will never look at traffic the same way again.  A little more congestion might have preserved his life for a few more days.

He had been ours for merely two and a half months yet had stolen our hearts completely.  Our little Penguin the Hop, as the toddler affectionately called him.  He was four months and eight days old.  And gone in an instant.

This is not the fairy tale story I expected and longed for.  If I wrote this book – “Family follows one baby rabbit’s life for five weeks and he dies on Easter Sunday three days before they get him” – it’d be labeled sad and contrived, but the readers who get a kick out of my morose stories would root for the new bunny and accept the crazy plot device.  But then if my novel killed the new rabbit a mere months later in a bizarre fluke way the vet had never seen in her entire career? – I’d be labeled the cruel author and mocked out of any pitching sessions with publishers.  Just WHAT?

But God is that author.  And this is His best story?!

I struggled.  I struggled hard.

Those of you who know my secondary infertility story know that I’ve struggled before.  And I hated myself for struggling again.  Like aren’t I godly enough at this point to purely grieve and do the whole, “I feel God’s warm presence right now and His arms around me.  I trust Him.  He’s still good.  It’s a pet.  We’ll rebuild, folks”?

Nope.  Not me.  I’m “Frail Heart” over here.  Much-Afraid and I can do the Hinds Feet on High Places together as the team of pathetic weaklings, crippled, limp, and faltering.  Learning lessons over and over again because we don’t get it the first… or fifth time.  Because our hearts give freely and bleed easily.

I wailed with all my might, and my daughters bawled with me.  There was no comfort to be had.  I felt no “arms.”  I made phone calls, I held onto my crying husband.  We asked why.  How could we not ask why?  How could anyone not ask why?

I’m here five weeks and six days later.

And I still don’t have answers on why.

We have a new bunny now.  He’s a Mini Lop – a heartier, longer-living, smaller breed – and we spent a fortune getting him checked out by the vet before we committed to him.  We went with the same vet, who was one of the few people to really get it and cry with us at length. We went with the same breeder, who this time had only healthy litters and tried to give him to us for free, and we’ve become fast friends.


Little three-pound Starling is only ten weeks old, and he’s nothing like Penguin.  He submissively sits still in our laps, but he doesn’t come running to greet us and he’s not feisty or greedy.  He’s shy and quiet, a mouse to Penguin’s puppy-dog behaviors.  But he’s sweet, soft, and super cuddly.  Will literally sit still in your arms for an hour.  And we love him too.  He doesn’t replace Penguin, and never will, but we’re getting back up on the horse and trying again.  This time our joy quieter, our hearts a little bit more sedate, occasionally still shedding tears together about the little hopping feet we miss.  We will continue to love Starling with all our hearts because we still have all that future love sitting there waiting to be given out, but the “perfect experience” can never be.  At this point, we’ve lost two little furry creatures that we cared about.

And I struggled.  For weeks, I struggled.

I took my girls to a biblical counselor who talked to them about God’s love for His children and His heart for His creation.  About how in this world there will be death because our perfect home is in heaven.  The younger daughter asked a lot of questions.  The older one sat very quietly and thought.

The toddler asked about him constantly for the first two weeks, wondering where “Boy” was, telling us with an emotional intelligence that surprised me that “Boy die.  I sad.”

Most days, all I could do, worship or prayer-wise for myself, was play “Maybe It’s Ok” by We Are Messengers over and over again, trusting that it was okay to struggle.  To give myself grace to experience the emotion, the theology-shaking questions, and the crumbling, dry heart.

Meanwhile, all this year, because the girls had felt stagnant and bored during our morning prayer time on our knees, I had been reading them the book “Alone with God” by John MacArthur on The Lord’s Prayer.  As we come to the last two chapters now, it struck me that perhaps I’ve been looking at prayer wrong.

A terrifying allergy experience with my oldest daughter this week, as well as two illnesses while family was in town, cemented my thoughts.

Maybe I’m praying for the wrong things?

Now PLEASE don’t get me wrong.  We can talk to God about ANYTHING.

Me running up to Him and asking for candy wasn’t wrong. I prayed every day for a month that Penguin would be safe through his neutering surgery.  I saw all your sympathetic tear-stained faces, some of your judgmental looks, and most of your sweet, confused, and brokenhearted compassion when God suddenly opened his palms and said, “I was never planning on saying yes to that.” Some of you had been praying with me for the little guy’s safety.  I’m sure you were shocked and stunned too.  So I’m hoping that you made it this far through this unpleasant, long article with me, and maybe I can impart this new idea in the correct way.

We can (and should) talk to God about anything.  We can say, “Please keep us healthy next week on vacation.  Please let Penguin come out of surgery okay.  Please let my child be well-behaved at the event tomorrow.  Please heal my relative’s cancer and shrink her tumor,” etc. etc.  I’m not saying we can’t pray these things.  I’m not saying we can’t have that one-on-one bestie/child-father relationship with God where we say, “Hey God, I really, really don’t want to have this stomach bug right now – or ever.  Please take this away.  Please!”   Talk to God about EVERYTHING.  Just TALK to Him.  Like anyone else.

But I was getting SO many “no” answers, I started to doubt God loved me all that much at all.  Like maybe He didn’t care about my prayers.  Maybe they were bouncing off His clenched hands as He looked over my head and ignored me.

Blasphemous, I know, but hold the stones.  I’m not done. 

What if that little girl who kept begging for candy didn’t realize all the guests were there for Thanksgiving dinner?  That her dad was leaning against the table and an entire Thanksgiving feast was behind him?  What if he looked at her and said, “Candy would spoil your dinner.  I had this feast planned and I’d like for you to learn to ask for that.  Regardless, I’m going to give it to you because I love you.  I know you can only imagine the taste of candy, but can you trust me and try the turkey and stuffing?  Pour some gravy over your mashed potatoes.  This is going to be good!”

I’ve spent SO.  MUCH.  TIME. praying for physical comforts.  Health, prosperity, kids to behave, things to go right.  And like I said, that’s okay.  But I almost never bathe my heart attitudes in prayer as well.  Chanting, “Please don’t let us get sick, please don’t let us get sick, please don’t let us get sick” only goes so far if there was never any candy anyway.  If God’s best story – which may not look like any of the formulaic approved novels on our shelves – involves pets dying one after another this year, how do I not know it’s going to be a public feast at the end?  Yes, it hurts like anything.  Yes, I will grieve.  No one can stop me or shorten that process.  I defy them to try.  But what if my witness is now?  This article?  The breeder, the vet, the Facebook friends, the Instagram followers, my church body, my husband, my kiddos?  What if this is what throws us at God’s feet and makes us love Him?  What if this teaches us compassion, humility, love, empathy, and truth about God?

It seems backwards and strange.  My tongue has only been primed for candy.  I’m a little six-year-old girl that likes bright colored sweets and isn’t sure she’s a meat-eater yet.  The table looks so brown and drab.  What the heck is gravy?  Why would I trust You when I desperately begged for my dessert?

So I thought, what if I started expecting suffering and trials in this life, and submitting my will to Him?  What if I prayed, “God, my Father, I really don’t want to catch this stomach bug and get sick again, BUT if we do, will you use it to grow me?  Will you use it to bring about good conversations that glorify You?  Will You use it to teach me patience and give me more time with You?  Will you use it to make me more Christlike and sanctify me?  Will you give me courage to face it?  Will you give me a good attitude and strengthen my Frail Heart?”

These are not prayers I often pray.

And that’s going to change.  Because these are prayers God promises yes to.  He doesn’t promise perfect health.  He doesn’t promise a healthy bunny without birth defects.  He doesn’t promise long life, prosperity, and no suffering.  When I ONLY ever beg for the candy, I will starve, malnourished and diabetic.

And God isn’t like that earthly father either.  He isn’t ignoring us.  He isn’t being neglective.  Even the wait to hear the “no” is valuable and planned for our sanctification.

Maybe I can start submitting and being open to the turkey too, as scary as that is – as much chewing as it takes.  Maybe I can start prepping my heart and my kids’ hearts by praying ahead of time for the things God’s promised – our sanctification, our character, and our growth in Christ as Christians.

At the end of the John MacArthur book, there is a list of things we can be praying for our hearts.  Intangible things that maybe we don’t often think about.

What other things could you add?















Maybe I’m Flawed

How do I act?

When do I act?

What do I do?

What do I say?


When you see someone drowning

Do you throw off your shoes and dive in?

What if they don’t want to be saved?

What if they love the salt in their lungs, the burn I their heart, the water soaking their eyes?


When do you give up?

And when you do, do you feel responsible for the rest of your days?

Maybe I never learned how to give up.


Maybe I’m flawed.

You Were Not There

Deepest rejection of my existence

Crushed and slandered, confused and heart drowned

You were not there


Brand new first

Happy, begging for advice

You were not there


Sudden extinction

Loss of life

You were not there


Questioning all

Turtle in a shell

You were not there


Pain and sorrow

To fill a deep lake

You were not there


Tentatively putting

One foot after the other

You were not there


But God was there

Suffering is Not an “Automatic Godliness” Button

I write this post with tears still soggy on my lower eyelashes.  I have read in the news of yet another compounded tragedy – where one tragedy added to the pain of another and beget another tragedy.  And a family is left torn up and wounded beyond recognition in its wake.  It reminds me of so many other stories and things I’ve been pondering lately.

The choices made that led up to this second tragedy devastate me, and would have seriously confused me as well a mere two or three years ago. But God has been teaching me something so seriously sobering as I enter into the sufferings of others, and experience it myself.

Suffering is not an “Automatic Godliness” button.


I think that we Christians give ourselves pep talks for trials by thumping our flimsy, unarmored chests and saying, “No worries.  It will make me a better Christian.  Everything will happen to make me grow.  I’ll come out the other side more Christlike.”  As if we can sit back in our lawn chairs and wait for the magic happen.

The thing is, we’re told to PUT our armor on (Ephesians 6:10).  We’re told it’s a battle.  We are not spectators in our own trials, lying in surprise pain and waiting for it to be over when we can be awarded with instant Spiritual Hero trophies.

I’ve seen family members go through the exact same trial, and one is a light and beacon for her faith, while the other walks away from God completely.

172013316I’ve seen very similar adults go through nearly identical rejections and hurts, and one man is bitter and angry, assuming the worst about all of humanity, while the other embraces those around him, counseling and promoting God’s goodness.

It shocked me – the unpredictability of the response of humans to suffering.  The unpredictability of my own heart.  And that’s when I realized that suffering changes you, in one direction or the other.  You can’t stay stagnant.  You’re either going to fester and blister and wound, or you’re going to be cleaned out and refined like gold.  But it’s something in which you have a say.

I’d even go so far as to say that trials are not to GIVE you faith, but to TEST your faith.

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”

James 1:2-4 says that the trials are to test our already existing faith, to make us more Christlike.  To do a work, not to have you stand still.  And the passage implies that we should already have the faith necessary to withstand and produce steadfastness.  That we should be waiting on WHEN, not IF these trials come – expectant and ready.

Maybe what’s important isn’t the outward specifics of any trial – “big” or “small” – but how bad the inward yuck you have to battle in the midst of it.

If it’s not actual faith that we have inside, it’s sin, or most likely, some mixture of both.  Suffering WILL bring out our yuck.  And every little sin has the potential to be exposed when we go through a tough time.  They come to the surface, often shocking our family, surprising our friends, mortifying ourselves.  Some of us have a whole host of yuck that come spinning out of the deepest crevices of our hearts.

Absolutely no one can sit there and assume that sin will just flee in the face of suffering.  Throw on your armor, wipe your sweat, and fight.  Otherwise, that heart will be unrecognizable at the end of your trial if you choose to lie around in the mud and wait it out, lazy and unhappy.

God clearly is the one fighting with you and for you, but He desires our action and our 220px-bowser_-_new_super_mario_bros_2hard work alongside of Him – it’s the way He planned it to be.  I want to start a list of the sins I’m aware of, the yuck that lingers and are hard to beat, and I want to get diligent about a spiritual military regimen to fight them today. I don’t want to wait for a trial to explode them into giant bosses like at the end of a video game level.

One thing is for sure: suffering may not be an instant godliness button, but it will definitely, always, 100% of the time, change you. 

There is no option to just stand still. Do you want it to change you to be like Christ?  Or do you want it to change you into a monster that no one, least of all yourself, ever would have expected to be your future?

“Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.” 1 Tim. 6:12

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Ephesians 6:12

“But clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its improper desires.” Romans 13:14

“And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.” Rev.12:11

“For You have girded me with strength for battle; You have subdued under me those who rose up against me.” Ps. 18:39

“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:21

“Through You we will push back our adversaries, through Your name we will trample down those who rise up against us.” Ps. 44:5

“We are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” Romans 8:37

 “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith.” 1 Pet. 5:8-9



Open Letters to Persecuted Christians – From My Children

We’ve been praying through Voice of the Martyrs prayer calendar – praying for a different persecuted country every day.  This has been very eye-opening to my two oldest


Front Cover of the Prayer Calendar

girls – children who’ve known peace, safety, and security all their lives.

Today we studied a passage on heaven and Jesus’s second coming.  At the end of the passage, Paul tells people to encourage each other with these words.  I mentioned that thinking about eternity in heaven was probably very encouraging to those being persecuted, and my oldest daughter got a lightbulb idea from the Lord.

“Let’s write a note of encouragement to them about heaven!” she said.

So that became our English assignment for the day.  ❤

I copied down exactly what both girls wanted to say.  These are 100% their words, not mine.  As we look for a place or person to mail these, I thought I’d share them here as well.  ❤


Dear friend in Christ,

            I’m writing to you because I want you to know that Christ is always with you and you can depend on Him to always be there.  Even if your enemy is hurting you, you can know that Jesus, our Lord and Savior, will always be there in your heart and around you.  You can know that at some point you will be in heaven and you will enjoy it.  You will get to see the Lord who you’ve been waiting for – the One you believe in!  If any of your Christian family members have been hurt or persecuted or killed, you will be able to see them up in heaven too.  Just remember that Jesus, your Lord, is still with you, and you can depend on Him to help you.  Every day, in every way, He will always keep His eye on you, so that He knows what is happening. Everything that is happening to you is all in His sight and it is all for good.  Even though you might be alone, you can still have the Holy Spirit in your heart and you can keep Him there. He will never leave or go away.  You will never leave Him.  You will always be in God’s arms. Even though we, in America, haven’t gone through the persecution you have, we still have a very bad sin of not focusing on God.  😦 We can learn from you because you and your family focus on God and keep up standing up for who you believe in.


R.S., 7 years old, USA


Dear friend in Christ,

            God loves you and He will always be there for you, no matter how hard your troubles are.  He’s there with you! When Jesus comes back again, there will be a great celebration.  He will take all of the Christians up, and, if you are one, He will take you up too.  🙂 At the end of the world, God will create a new earth and it will be part of heaven. Everyone will be satisfied in heaven and there will be no sadness. There will be no anger.  There will be no dying.  Everything will be happy in heaven! Whenever you have a trouble, just pray to God and He will figure out a way to solve the problem. I will meet you in heaven too!  🙂


R.J., 5 1/2 years old, USA

Top Posts of 2016!



It’s time for the list of the top 10 posts of the year!

This was a slower year for me, mostly due to pregnancy and all that comes with that, so I only wrote almost half of the amount of posts of the previous year.  In 2015, I wrote 93, and this year I wrote an exact even 50.  BUT, even with half the posts, I actually, just barely, got more views and visitors this year than last year, meaning that my posts are bringing in more readers than ever!  Hooray for that!

This year, I had 11,687 visitors to my blog with 16,043 views and ended the year with 118 blog followers.  *cheer*  (To follow this blog, click FOLLOW on the right hand side of this page) 

Without further ado, what were the most popular posts of this year?  Well, not all of them were even actually published on this blog this year – some have remained super popular from previous years, and have lived on with lives of their own all over the Internet.

Sitting at #1, by far, with no competition, and with around 35 hits A DAY is:

Anime Characters by Myers-Briggs Type (with 7,164 individual views this year!!)mami_tomoe_render_by_moeblueberry1771-d5evnl7

This post is also #1 on any Google search for “anime characters by Myers-Briggs type and continually brings in guests to my blog.  Kind of exciting, even if it is very niche.  So if you like anime AND personality typing, this is the post for you.  Identified by name, show title, and picture, I have anime characters from various shows in neat little groups according to their types.  🙂


The Day I Met Job (with 996 individual views)PCOS Challenge Infographic

This makes me so happy that it’s #2.  This is the deeply personal testimony of what God did in my heart and life last year after suffering with secondary infertility.  It is also about my best friend and her daughter, an appreciation of my mother-in-law, a nod to a fellow author, and mostly a testimony about a hero of the faith I met last year.  Please read the article.  I hope my vulnerability and sharing of God’s greatness touches your heart!


An Open Letter to My Pregnant Sister (with 460 views)beautiful-wedding-tiara

Still going strong.  This is a writeup I did for baby showers that I first composed for my sister 2 1/2 years ago, and have tweaked a few times since to share with other expectant moms.  There must be a need for this, as people continually search for this online and find my site.  🙂


Tied with “My Pregnant Sister” is: Setting up the Romance Ship (with 460 views)austenland-holding_13254521245

How fun that my breakdown of the smart secret to writing a winning romance story did so well!  I thought this one was a bit obvious until I read (and watched) many people miss this key point to setting up their relationship story. Thinking I had nothing to lose, I threw my own theory out there, and it did very well!


Should Married Women Vote Against Their Spouse? (with 349 views)your_vote_counts

This one was a hot button when I first posted it a few years ago, and it continues to be something people search for and find through my blog. Read at your own risk…  🙂


Could You Love This Genderless Person? (with 287 views)5

Maybe it was just a catchy title, but this was a very niche article about genderbender dramas that I posted. A “genderbender” is when a guy dresses up and pretends to be a girl, or vice versa, and the opposite sex falls for them.  I explore this trope and why it means so much to women, and maybe what’s spiritually at the heart of this “forbidden romance” story.


In Memory of Victoria Mercy Conte (with 262 views)conte-052

A year and a half after the sudden and tragic passing of my husband’s baby sister, this post, written by *him* not me, still makes the top 10 on my list.  Please read my husband’s beautiful, tear-jerker tribute to a lovely life that sits very dear to our hearts.


NAME THE BABY! (with 221 views)namebabygirl02

I’m legitimately shocked that this made the top 10!  Last year I teamed up with lovely author Melanie D. Snitker to do a giveaway and promote each other’s books.  Readers named the baby that her main couple was pregnant with, and we got some great responses.  I need to do more on this blog with fellow authors next year!  In the meantime, check out Melanie’s very successful books on Amazon.


Asian TV for the American Newbie Viewer (with 188 views)patemainverted_dvd-f

This is a fun list that I kept on my sidebar.  Always hearing me talk about anime and kdramas but have no idea what’s safe or good to watch or where to start?  Not sure you’d even like Asian TV?  I put together a “starter” list of Asian TV for people who don’t like Asian TV, so to speak.  These are storylines and shows that I think any American could love without feeling too “eastern” in the storytelling style.  Give any of these shows a chance, and let me know if they did not disappoint!


And last but not least: Sarcastically Realistic Movie Descriptions – Name That Movie!2a3

This one also surprises me that it made the list.  This was a funny little game I posted on my blog a while ago, and it’s done well recently.  Someone must have reposted them.  If you’re looking for a comedic way to describe popular movies, as a game for a party you’re hosting, this might be the post for you.


So which blog post of mine was YOUR favorite this year?  Leave a comment!