All in God in Surprising Places

Blooms in the Desert

by Christi Trimbur

I have spent most of my adult life in the desert, living in a desolate wasteland surrounded by sand and Muslims. In that barren place I have found beauty. I have seen the Lord bring forth the pinkest of flowers out of the driest of earth and shed the light of Truth in the darkness of Islam. Few things compare to the beauty of seeing the Lord perform the miraculous in the desert—the shear impossibility of it, breathtaking and faith-filling.

Over two years ago, we returned to the US to take a stateside assignment. Although we believed in the eternal importance of this particular assignment, the real reason we came home was to adopt a child. The barrenness surrounding us in the desert infiltrated our home and our lives when we discovered we could not have biological children. Our only hope for expanding our family of two would be through adoption.

Book Review: SEE by R. J. Rhoden

Review by Joan Rhoden

How many lessons can be learned from one familiar miracle in the New Testament? R.J. Rhoden (yes he's my son, Rob) will stretch your vision in this powerful little book with a short title. He unpacks the story of Jesus healing a blind man in Mark 8:22-26 by extrapolating six life-changing applications for 21st century living.

The Gift of Beauty in Unexpected Places

by Angela Donadio

The season of gift giving is upon us, folks. Estimated American holiday spending for 2016 rings in a close to 655.8 billion dollars. We’ll go to great lengths to find that “perfect” gift: take laps around the mall, scroll through the 488 million items on Amazon.com, and, alas, pick up the last-minute Starbucks gift card when our creative juices stop flowing...

Like Broken Pottery

by Ruth Pabon

I started the day, not long ago, with a smile, only to become afflicted with severe pain in my side. A few days later, recovered from the pain in my side, I began a succession of ailments afflicting me every few days plus an allergic reaction to a medicine. I did not see an end to this and asked the common human question. “Why me, Lord?”

Finding God in Tragedy

by Linda Shortridge

In March of 2014, my phone rang, breaking the stillness of the early morning. My father screamed my name over and over, intense sorrow filled my ear. ...Panic, then grief, dominated my mind. I felt the turmoil would increase until my brain exploded. As I drove through a late season snowstorm to my Dad’s, I felt the pain and confusion would grow until everything else was forced out of my life.

Four-Year-Old Wisdom

by Linda Santmyire

Zechariah—all boy with the attention span of a typical four year old, full of questions.

My husband and I love spending our Sunday’s with this youngest grandson. We pick him up for church, go to lunch, and then the rest of Sunday afternoon varies. I have found it best to let him pick the play with some gentle guidance, then join in.

God's Big Surprise

by Cynthia Shepherd

Everyday of my spiritual journey brings a new adventure as God always surprises me. This particular situation was a BIG surprise.

For years since my divorce, I have prayed, "God I am satisfied with the single life and missionary work/ministry you have provided, BUT (a big BUT) if you have a special person for me to share my life with, then you will need to bring that extraordinary person into my life without me doing any of the work."

Finding God in the Dark

by Melissa Tingwald-Alvarez

With my husband off to work and my kids on the school bus, I sipped my morning coffee in the quiet of my living room before heading off to work. Then. It. Hit. Me. Grief, sadness, depression - overwhelmed by life’s circumstances. I felt a darkness engulf me. I sank down on the hardwood floor and cried. I could not put my thoughts into words to form a prayer. Where was this coming from?

Freed From the Life I've Always Wanted

From the time I was a little girl, all elbows and ears, I imagined myself living in a two-story house one day, pure white, no shutters, and with a wide porch. I spent hours curving my blunt-tipped scissors around pages of the fat JCPenney catalog, clipping out handsome husbands; wives with thick, beautiful hair; a few sweet-faced children; bathroom towel sets in shades of sea-foam and jade; couches and electronics and cozy braided rugs. All of it belonged in my make-believe farmhouse, rooted snugly in my make-believe future.

God, unexpected

by Deborah Galyen

I feel deeply at peace and in awe of God’s majesty, here in Spain, when we escape our dusty city to walk in the mountains or stroll through orange groves in a remote village.  In contrast, being mired in relational conflict makes me feel tense, vaguely guilty, and sick to my stomach; therefore, it was the last place I ever expected to encounter God’s presence.  Yet, during a recent difficult situation, God’s voice was startling clear.

Glimpses of Heaven

by Jessica Fortner

Recently my 4 year old daughter shared a vivid story with my husband and me. On this particular Sunday afternoon, while pointing out the living room window, she told us that before she was born Jesus had brought her down to our window and she could see us inside.  He told her this was going to be her home. She told Jesus she didn’t want to come.