June 22, 2012

You’re Not In This Alone

There’s these small tennis shoes that greeted me this evening as I settled in my living room. They caught me by surprise; they caught the corners of my mouth and lifted them high. You see, there aren’t normally children’s sneakers in our home.

But the young owner of these forgotten sneakers all but has a permanent place at our house … and definitely one in my heart. I get to do life with her, plant vegetables and flowers alongside her, write a musical {the next Broadway hit, mind you} together, and take walks with her and her mama.

This morning the three of us took off at 6:30 a.m. And we danced and sang and chatted and pointed out creepy-looking cats along our route. And I thanked God for her 10 year old joy, and for our walk so bright and early . . . and for walking alongside her for the past five years.

I’m not sure where these shoes will take her. But I know God sees every step I take with her, even if no one else does so bright & early. Or sees us bent over our garden, tucked away in my backyard. Steps to talk about life, and plant God’s truth in her heart, and write His praises together. Steps into the future and into hopes and heartache. Some will be baby steps; some, gigantic leaps of faith. But through it all, she’ll know she doesn’t step alone. We walk together.

He sees you too, and is walking beside you, taking each step with you. You walk together.


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  1. Hilda Quintanilla says:

    Love HG and you and Mel and all the p31m sisters!!!

  2. Maureen says:

    Hi, what a beautiful devotional today-thank you for writing it. I have a 3.5 year old with a neurological speech disorder (he has no clear words) and so often I am tired and just want a few mintues to be quiet but I have to encourage and work with every sound he makes so he can one day talk clearly. It was nice to be reminded that God sees this and cares for us. I woul like the Always There book if I am selected. thank you.

    • Samantha says:

      Maureen, what a dedication and abundance of faithfulness. May you feel and truly really know how much you bless the Lord’s heart for taking such loving care of the child He entrusted you with. I can only imagine how beautiful you are!! xoxo

  3. I invest in my nephew’s life. And though he only knew his mother, my sister for the first 9 years of his life, I can share with him about her and fill in some gaps that were left by her death.

    One tip I would give for investing in someone’s life is to tell them the truth with love, dipped in grace. He knows I will always tell him the truth.

    If I were chosen, I would like the book, “A Life That Says Welcome,” because I want others to be drawn to the Lord, wherever I am.

    Thanks for your post. I appreciate your writings.

    • Samantha says:

      Wow, Anne, what a sweet ministry to your nephew. So loving. I especially appreicate, “tell them the truth with love, dipped in grace.” What a life-giving visual!


  4. Beautiful P31 devotion & beautiful blog! Last week I led the music for our preschool VBS. Each year it is such a blessing to have fun singing praises to our Lord & Savior with bedbabies through 4th graders. Each person who works with VBS makes a eternal impression on the hearts of the children who attend. This year it hit home just how much when my son invited an unsaved friend from school when, on the last day of VBS he excitedly entered our car showing me his “very 1st Bible”! Oh what a joy!

    Thank you for the give away. If I were to win I would like A Life that Says Welcome.

    In His Calm,

    • Samantha says:

      Mary, so many gracious words and deeds. Thank you for your encouragement and for sharing about VBS. It’s an exhausting week, but so much fun, huh? I can only imagine how the words of your son’s friend echoed in heaven, for all eternity!! Woot!

  5. Pam Waite says:

    God has blessed me with the opportunity of being a medical foster patent. Currently, I have four
    grown children, six grandchildren, three adopted kiddos (ages 4, 4 and 2) and I foster two medical babies-, a preemie who has difficulty breathing and a 7 month old with sickle cell anemia. Each and every one of these children is a gift from God. I feel so honored and privileged to be a part of all of these lives. Sometimes.though it can be tiring and discouraging. If I were to win a book, I would choose “Almost There” to be read especially during those times when I need a little lift 🙂

    • Samantha says:

      Pam, I’ve never heard of a medical foster parent, but simply and amazingly… wow! Brings tears to my eyes as I imagine the tender loving care you give each baby you foster and adopt. What a ministry! What a blessing to God’s heart. xoxo

  6. lonely1 wglimmer says:

    I teach 1st and 2nd grade Wednesday nights at my church. And while it gets tiring and hectic sometimes, i know that I am helping to build a strong foundation for them. I remember the first time we were learning that God is everythwere all the time no matter where we go, their eyes light up with great delight. Although they may not completly understand how God can be everywhere, they understood that He is great and mighty and able to be everywhere. I would choose the Always There book if I won. Thank you for this devotion.

    • Samantha says:

      Hey friend, those times and lessons are planting seeds deep deep down. I too taught K5-3rd grade and yep, it was tiring but so much fun. I love the thought of you teaching them God is everywhere and how that chases the ‘boogie man’ away 🙂

  7. I coordinate a MOPS grop of 70 moms and their precious kids. This summer I organize a group that meets at local parks and gives moms a chance to connect while the kids play. I have been blessed to discover ways youse my gifts even during the pre-school years my kids are. Us mommies all need connection and each other as much or evn more than our kids do. I would live to win A Life that Says Welcome.

    Thank you for sharing your gift!


    • Samantha says:

      Emily, what a sweet and needed ministry. Adore your heart to invest in moms as they invest in their kiddos. Awesome!!

  8. I used to invest in little lives teaching Sunday School. I really enjoyed investing my time & sharing God with these little ones. I had to take a break per health issues & I felt like I wasn’t investing anymore but God showed me that teaching my own two young sons about Him & investing my time & energy on their behalf is just as (if not more) important as teaching a whole class.
    I would like the book A Life that Says Welcome as having guests is a monumental task for me & makes me tired just thinking of it!

  9. I mentor the young children at our church.

  10. Donna B says:


    I so love your heart for Hayley Grace and her momma and all kids!!! This one brought tears to my eyes and am thankful that God allows me to watch you as an amazing example of how to love like Jesus by being his feet and hands in the lifes of others! Your love for others amazes me and how you so freely give of yourself!!! Love it ….tears and all!!!

    And love ya!!

    • Samantha says:

      Awww, thank you friend! As you know, it’s not hard to love HG and Mel!! You inspire me to go even further and reach higher with my love and care to others.

      Love ya!

  11. I invest my time in my daughter, who is 26 and living at home. She, like so many other young ladies her age, are having trouble finding their way in this world. I would really enjoy reading A Life That Says Welcome, as I want our home to be inviting and enjoyable to our daughter and her friends. Perhaps God can use that as an opportunity for me to get His message of love to them. It’s a group of the population that doesn’t attend church so they aren’t hearing God’s words. Maybe, God will use me to have more of a positive influence in their lives.


  12. Thank you for your devotion today because I needed it so much. I just completed four days working at my church’s inner-city vacation Bible school, and it was a challenge. I am not “gifted” with kids, yet for the second year I have felt called to help with VBS in a neighborhood where the children need so much. I question if my efforts make any difference, if I am helping to plant a seed, especially when some of them appear to pay little attention. You encouraged me today, in spite of my exhaustion (I’m 53 and not as energetic as I was once!), aches and pains, and mental tiredness. Maybe I helped plant just one seed that might someday grow into a beautiful specimen for Christ. I would love to read either of the books! I just need to keep trying when God calls me, even when I feel so inadequate for the challenge.

    • Samantha says:

      Phyllis, I pray that one day, one of these kids finds you and shares with you how your love, attention, hugs and words inspired them and led them to a deeper walk with Christ. Sometimes what seems like nothing, is the world to another. Thanks for investing in those sweet kiddos!! I know God is well-pleased!

  13. I have tried to invest my time and energy in to my 21 year old daughter; who is going through some difficult times – emotionally and financially. She usually doesn’t choose to listen to my advice, however. I just continue to tell her that I love her, will always be here for her and the door to our house is always open for her to come back home. Also, if I were to choose one of those books it would be A Life That Says Welcome.

    • Samantha says:

      Tam, don’t give up girl! Now is the time your daughter super duper needs you. The 20s are so hard to navigate, especially in this day and age. You are so sweet to keep your home open and that will make a big difference even when you can’t see it right now. P31 has a 20something division if she’s interessted in checking it out: http://www.proverbs31.org/she-seeks/ and one of our gals just started an online study of her new book Stress Point if she wants to join: http://liveitoutblog.com/.


  14. I invest my time into my son and the youth at our Church. I lead bible study and go on trips and camps with them. I pray for them in hopes they will have the close relationship with Jesus that teens need this day and time. I pray that they know they are loved.

    • Samantha says:

      So neat to read how involved you are Cheryl!! I used to co-lead a youth group and parental involvement was the turnign point for teens if they stuck tight to Christ or not so much. Cheers to you!

  15. The main tip I could offer for investing in others is ,”Don’t stop.” For me, investing in others has looked different based on the season in my life. Whether it was pouring my heart into the Children’s Ministry of a Church Plant, trying to train up my children during our years of homeschooling, or being faithful to write down and share what God has been teaching me (even if no one but God reads it:), God continually uses his word to compel me to keep going. There are so many times, just like you mentioned in your devotion today, that it doesn’t seem like our efforts are making any difference, and we think, “What’s the point?” But every time I start to run away, whether physically or emotionally, God whispers in my ear,”Don’t stop.”
    “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9

    I would love to have a copy of A Life That Says Welcome. I know this is an area I need to work on, and that if I want to develop relaionships that are more than just ‘aquaintances’, I have got to start opening my heart and home more to others.

    Thanks for sharing your heart with us!

    • Samantha says:

      True, true, true!! Thanks so much for sharing Kate! Being in it for the long haul (or as long as the season God has set out) is so vital. Appreciate you sharing your wise words.

  16. Julie James says:

    I hope I am investing in my children as I homeschool them. My hope is that they will develop a love of learning and a heart for God. Prior to our recent move, I worked with the young women in our church 7th-9th grade. I love investing into these women in particular. These are the years that they NEED to know their worth and value through Gods eyes. If I were to win, I would like A Life That Says Welcome. Thank you for sharing with us today through Proverbs 31 Ministries. Have a blessed day.

    • Samantha says:

      Sounds like you got your hands full Julie!! Homeschooling is a great way to invest in your kids. I was homeschooled for a few years and really feel there was a part of my foundation built that is unique. Thanks for sharing!!

  17. Thanks for the encouragement. I am a 2nd grade teacher, coach, & mom of 2 girls. I invest in all of them & my girls friends. Its so easy to be negative with children, but really they are faced with so much so early theses days, they need a cheerleader in their corner, encouraging them on. Thats what I try to do, as of late, not feeling very adequate.
    God would suggest I read either books, because I am a work in progress;)
    Thank you again!

    • Samantha says:

      Great truths, Taunya! I’ve often said I would not want to be a kid in this day and age. So how vital it is for us to come around them and invest truth and hope and love and wisdom? Sounds like you are doing just that in a BIG way!! Neat!

  18. Kirsten says:

    I run a moms group at my church and help with Sunday morning childcare. I would love to read Always There.

  19. Rebecca Portteus says:

    Wow. I cried at the devotion from P31. I really needed the reminder that God sees. I am tired and feeling unappreciated as a Mom. Thank you for the reminder. If I win, I would like Always There.

    • Samantha says:

      Hey Rebecca, I pray you feel uplifted and noticed. You are not invisible or unthought about. May hope fill your soul today. xoxo

  20. Leigh Fant says:

    God is really speaking to my heart about doing a better job of mentoring my four children. They are young and we so often just go thru the motions of life….not really training my children and encouraging them. I always try to invest in my childrens friends when they are at the house but need to be more intentional about it.

    I would love either book.

    • Samantha says:

      Aww, just having that awareness is so awesome Leigh. I’m not a mom yet, but can see how the motions of life can easily take over and before you know it, it’s bedtime and lights out and another day slips by.

      Have you read much of Ann Voskamp’s blog? She lives life with great intention. Check her out if you can… http://www.aholyexperience.com/


  21. Thank you for your Proverbs 31 Devotion today. It is one of the most beautiful things I have ever read. Really needed to hear that today. Thank you for your words and encouragement. They are needed and appreciated.

    • Samantha says:

      From the bottom of my heart, thank you. Your words are so kind and encouraging. I pray you feel God’s sweet prescence and hope today, Dana!

  22. April B says:

    Thank you so much for the beautiful devotional this morning! I have two little boys, ages 4 and 2, and as so many others have commented, there are days when the constant talk, perpetual motion, and never-ending instruction involved in caring for them is exhausting! God has called me to be their mama, though, and as hard as it is some days, I want to mold them to be HIS children, men who honor Him in all walks of their lives. I’m so thankful for those small moments when I get the occasional ‘You’re the best mama in the whole world,’ but your devotional reminded me that He sees my efforts when no one else does. Thank you!

    If I were to win the book giveaway, I would like Always There.

    • Samantha says:

      Hey April, sometimes the dailyness is what grinds us down the most, huh? Have you read much of Lysa TerKeurst’s blog? I think you might be inspired by her wit and wisdom 🙂 http://lysaterkeurst.com/

      Blessings!! You are seen!!

  23. Thank you so much for the encouraging words. Our lives have been filled with kids (4 of our own, 3 of which are still home) and at times it is easy to get weary. We homeschooled our children when they were young, ran a daycare in our home for 7 years and have worked with both the Sunday School program and the youth group. We also have taken in kids over the years who have needed a place to stay. Your words hit my heart….the daily things can wear us down if we don’t keep our eyes on Him. I would love either book :)….
    Thank you again…..

    • Samantha says:

      Shoowie!! Gloria, your life is full of investments… what a beautiful thing! Praying you feel refreshing in unexpected moments today. Hugs!

  24. I’m a mom of two (ages 10 and 7), daily pouring into their lives and praying that I’m teaching/modeling the Christian faith accurately and that it’s taking root in their lives. Thank you for today’s devotional- I pray I take every available opportunity as a mom to speak God’s truth and love into my children’s hearts! I’d love to receive “A Life That Says Welcome” if I’m selected for your giveaway- thanks!!

  25. What a great reminder that moment by moment and situation by situation we really shape the lives of our children by our words and actions as we respond to the call. So many times as I raise my own children and teach be it at school or in church I feel so inadequate. But I know God uses me as I search through a trash can to find glasses that were accidently thrown in because a student left them on the breakfast tray. And He uses me as I work with my 6 year old on the importance of honesty and notes sent from school regarding her beahavior in class. I am thankful that God sees all of these moments and situations before I do and that He equips me to answer the call. Either book would be a great summer read.

    • Samantha says:

      Yes, Bev! Just what you said. You are raising a generation full of truth-tellers and integrity-bearers and servant hearts! Woohoo!! Keep it up friend… it is seen and noted and will shape the future.

  26. What a beautiful post and so glad I clicked over here. I use my blog to mentor…Mentor to all of my Facebook friends, whether from elementary school or today. So many couples are struggling in their marriages. My husband and I re-married after a bitter divorce, and I use the words and life God has given me to try to reach other people who believe there is no hope! I didn’t realize it until reading this, but in a way, I am the “strangers” mentor, and I pray they see how God can fix things! I would love to read “A life that Says Welcome”…

  27. What wonderful thoughts this morning. I’ve been feeling overwhelmed lately by my 4 year old and his constant talking…every waking moment he wants to be in my presence and he never stops talking. Thanks for the reminder that listening really is my most important job at this stage. Thanks for the chance to win too. Both books looks great. I’d love to have either one.

  28. Weary of doing good….why do I get that way? I am even too weary to put the words together. Life gets hard and we need to keep moving forward, trusting He will give us the strength for the moment.
    Your devotional this morning made my heart smile, its been a while. P31 encourages me and touches a cord-binding us together♥God bless you and uphold you with His righteous right arm♥Indeed God sees the weariness you push thru to reach out to cyberspace and water His seeds♥

  29. Not having children of my own but having neices and nephews and great neices and great nephews numbering 14 I love to encourage them in their school and sports in prayer and presence! Opportunies to love on other’s children are all around me every day at church, at the grocery store, at the gas station, at the beauty shop, in my neigborhood!
    I’d like a Life that says welcome if chosen! :-)* Thank you!
    Have a wonderful day!

  30. Amanda Gibson says:

    I mentor both of my sisters in their marital/dating relationships. For one it is hard to to find a good Christian man. She is ready for marriage but being patient and waiting for God to place the right man in her path. The other is in a new marriage so the beginning struggles are there 🙂

    One tip: pray before the interaction, speak the truth in love, be open and honest as well! Do not judge!

    I would choose ”A life That Says Welcome”

  31. I would love the Always There book, already have the other one and love it.

    I have five grands and try to invest the Word in their lives. This year we’re reading through the NT, Psalms, and Proverbs with a specific plan. We pray together one-on-one when they spend the night with us and enjoy watching them grow.

  32. I am influencing 6 lil people in my house! :0) We do Bible lessons and I talk to them about life and Biblical Truth to them all the time. I at times get a ‘do we have to listen right now’ look, but I tell them anyway. I know that I am planting seeds that at glourious day I will see a Beautiful Blooms coming forth! My Oaks of Righteousness!! Praise God!

  33. Forgot: the Book I would love is Always There

  34. My brother’s children are who I love to invest in. They live a three hour drive away and regardless of how short that distance is, I do not get to see them often. However, when we are together we have a great time and as I’m able I sent snail mail and packages to them. Two years ago I bought journals for each of them, to have as thankfulness journals and every so often I sent them assignments to write in their journals. Almost each time we are together we try to talking about the journals and write down something. I love them so much!

    If I am chosen, I would love Karen’s book. Thanks Sam!

  35. I invest so much time in my grandchildren, ages 1, 3 and 5. I babysit them while their parents work or do errands. They are the joy in my life. Just doing the little things with them, planting a flower, swinging on the swings means so much to them, but they give so much to me, too. I have a heavy heart today as I just learned that they will be moving 3 hours away from me in a few months. I am trying to think of ways that I can still stay in touch and be a part of their lives.

    I would love the Always There book.

  36. Wanda Tilly says:

    Thank you for the scriptural reminder that God always sees the little things that no one else may notice.After celebrating 43 ears of marriage yesterday, raising three wonderful children and having the opportunity to invest in the lives of 6 amazing grandchildren , I know that life is made of little things. I , also, have the chance to work with children as a librarian in school. God gives chances to encourage these children who sometimes have little encouragement elswhere. I would love either book.

  37. I love the reminder today that God Sees Us, in all we do, it matters. I am a single parent, working, praying, trusting the Lord for myself and my children. I would love the book, Always There

  38. Thank you for helping to remind me God always sees me. Even at my lowest and most discouraged. I would love the book Always There if selected.

  39. Angel Parnell says:

    I am a mother to a bright and joyful 4 year old little boy. Even though I have been married for 10 years, sometimes I feel like a single parent. I make it my daily goal to tell him I love him too many times, especially when he is mad or not getting his way. Those are my favorite times to break out in our “Love you” song. It goes like this… I love You, I love You, I really really Love You (kind of to the Old man is snoring tune). The amazing thing happened on a day I was feeling completely invisible…. a small voice stated singing the Love You song and made me visible again. I struggled with feelings of being unloved by my parents and still do for reasons I won’t go into, but if I only get one thing right in my son’s life, I pray it will be that he knows he is loved so he can better understand God’s love for him. I would love the book Always There if selected.

  40. I LOVED today’s message – all three of my children have had lice this summer! I am living this thankless and frustrating task of ridding three heads of these critters!! It was uplifting because we have become “the house” (regardless of lice) and always have any number of neighborhood kids here. I’ve got a 10, 7, and 4 year old, my youngest with special needs, and there are plenty of days I am weary from my own children’s needs and those of others. I do feel it is a ministry to welcome other children into my home, it just can be tiring! For that reason I will choose Always There as my book if I am blessed to win. Thank you for sharing your heart!

  41. this was what i needed to hear today! as a new mom with a 3 month old i feel like a feeding bag and a glorified maid – to know God sees and that i get to be part of this little cathedral in the making…..either book would be a blessing to win…thank you for your generosity.

  42. Thank you for this devotional! I am called to invest in my long-awaited for daughter. She’s at the age of copying what I do and is so impressionable at this stage. I would love the book “Always There”! I would love to read it and I have a few women in mind that would love to hear about this book as well!

  43. I would like a life that says Welcome.

    I identified with that story. My husband hasn’t ever been, “with the program”. When we had lice he know idea of the unending laundry I did, the time I spent combing out the two older girls hair, so , that they could keep it long (they were 5 and 7.) The two younger children I gave very short haircuts to and I took my 16 inch braid and tossed it into thrash can. They got the lice from a family at church they had spent the night with.
    It was a 4 week ordeal in winter. I remember setting there with my 5 year old’s pretty little blond head asleep on my lap going through it for “the bugs”. She is 19 and she remembers too. My sacrifice. More importantly, I know my Father in heaven knew the unshed tears.

  44. Rebecca Hahn says:

    Great post today. I’m a teacher and it was a great reminder that the little things do make a difference. Remembering kids names,saying hi, and being willing to give a hug if they need one. Also, with my own kiddos, I sit with them every night and we talk about the day. It’s our time together and I miss it when they are away or are sleeping before i get to their room. I would like the Always There book.

  45. Jennifer says:

    Whenever I see a child in the grocery store, at the post office, or wherever I go, I look them in the eye, and I smile at them. If they respond, I wave and say hello. I may ask their name and start a conversation, depending on their reaction, and their parent’s reaction. I am very busy with two children of my own, and 15 nieces/nephews, but simply smiling at a child takes no time at all, and can brighten up their day…it shows that people notice them, and that they are filled with joy by what they see. It’s how I imagine God looking down on us, His children, whenever we are hurrying about our day, accomplishing everyday tasks. =D

  46. Thanks for this beautiful reminder that God sees us and our efforts!

    My husband and I are involved in a Farmer -to-Farmer organization (with Partners Worldwide) which mentors farmers in the third world. We’ve traveled to Nicaragua 3 times and are always encouraged by the faith and hard work of the farmers there to provide for their families and pay off their land loans.

    I’d love to read “A Life that Says Welcome” as I could grow in hospitality 🙂

  47. Christina Lyon says:

    I’m a SAHM and a homeschooling mom. I like to think that I’m investing in my children’s lives daily, but I think they do a lot of investing, as well. I’m trying to teach my daughters to run a household but sometimes I get so zealous that I start expecting them to run MY household. Today is a great example of that and I need to sit back and take a good long look at how I spend my time and get back to investing in the four kiddos that God so wonderfully loaned to my husband and I. Always There would be great. Thanks!

  48. Hi Sam,

    One way I invest in others is through encouragement. I believe God has asked me to be a Barnabas to my children, husband and friends. I try to be intentional in my words and not ‘general’. Spurring others on is part of the ‘building’ you’re talking about (which I just had a conversation with a girlfriend about that very thing last week!).

    If you choose me, I would choose “Always There”.
    Blessings to you sweet one and thank you for sharing your heart with us.

    Love, Hester

  49. Stephanie W says:

    Thanks for this devotion! I teach 4th grade, work with the 3-4 year olds at church, and I have two boys whom I try to be a Godly example for. It is so easy to think noone appreciates what I do sometimes. Then out of the blue I get a hug or touching note to remind me that even though I’m not always told, what I do makes a difference. Gods timing is awesome!!
    If I’m selected, I’d prefer to receive “Always There”.

  50. My SIL gave me a copy of the Invisible Woman/Mother years ago. The story lingers in the chambers of my heart on the days when mothering these 3 precious children seems to be a greater task than I am up to managing. Yet the LORD sees……how encouraging! Thank you for reminding me of it once again!

  51. Hey Sam! Loved the devo and almost cried at the thought of your single-dad friend. I’m trying to invest my best, with God’s incredible help, in my two children’s lives. And I totally feel sometimes as if no one sees…but yes, He does see. And I know that my children do too. Even if they don’t say a thing now. It will be in their memories and hearts. Thanks for the reminder.

    “Always there” would be my choice.


  52. I have a 3 year old daughter and a 7 month old son. my husband is an alcoholic and struggles with this for for the most part i am a single mom while he is trying to get help to get better. ( looking back on my road scene i first found out i was pregnant i see gods hand and work all in my story) to the point there is no explaining any other way how we were so blessed.I’mi Committing my self to my two children to guide them and lead them to Jesus Christ with all i do and to do God’s will for my life which has not always been the easiest path. It is so worth it thought!!!

    “always there” would be my choice if i am chosen
    Thanks so much

  53. I too, am thankful for today’s devotional. Being a mother of four young children can be a thankless job….and many times I have had to do tasks that seem so tedious and unimportant. It is soooo good for me to remember that the most important thing is that I GET to do this all for God….and He sees all of it. Not only that, but all that refining He continues to do in me is making me into the woman He made me to be. Thanks for the reminder today. If I am picked to win a book, I would like A Life that Says Welcome. Thank you!!

  54. Kimberlyspring4@gmail.com says:

    Funny I should read this today as I have and always have at least 3 extra teens in this small 1600 sq foot home. I have 4 of my own but I’m always willing to live on one more or whoever needs it that day. I love children any age but teens are drawn here. They listen as I tell them they’re worthy and God lives them and they’re not responsible for any adults happiness. Always respect the grownup in their home but please know that the child cannot make or take away an adults happiness. True? Only Jesus. Thank you Sam for reminding me that the groceries that disappear and most times I can’t replace are part of a child feeling loved and you can’t put a price tag on that. And the book I want is the one written by Renee and ann Voskamp. Two favorites!!!!!

  55. What an encouraging devotional for me with a reminder of God’s love and God’s perfect timing. This is the second time within 24 hours God has reminded me of this scripture and the name that Hagar gave to God when He revealed Himself to her – “well of the Living One who sees me”. Most of the time God gives me three reminders of the same verse, situation, example, etc. – usually something concrete from outside my everyday thinking. I will be waiting to receive the third reminder that He sees me and offers me the opportunity to dringk from His well of living water.

    I teach Chapel to the preschoolers (2 yo through 5 yo) at a Child Development Center. They are the sponges! It is wonderful to see them be excited about the weekly Bible lessons God has me present to them.

    I also have invested much in the upbringing of my beautiful daughters, who are now grown. I feel that I had some influence through the Lord on their commitment to live for Him and have their careers reflect Him to others. The oldest is a Worship Leader and a Music Therapist at the state hospital in the state where she lives. She loves working with the chemical dependent people and the young adolescent girls. She has worked with the homeless and has given many hours to a women’s shelter – babysittting, discipling the women, taking them shopping, etc. She has a true heart of a servant and a missionary.

    My younger daughter will begin college in the fall. She wants to become an FBI agent and work to help stop the human trafficking taking place all around the world. She has been studying this frightening situation – almost 30 million people around the world, are enslaved in some way. It is estimated that there are 200,000 held in slavery in the U.S. She is has already participated in a conference to support the end of human trafficking. I pray that when she graduates, she will become a part of an organization which will greatly impact this horrible situation.

    I am so proud of the direction the Lord has taken my children!

    The book I am most interested in is Always There, but would appreciate A Life That Says Welcome, as well.

    Thank you for your ministry! It has given me encouragement and thoughtful insights that have helped me adjust my thinking! May God continue to bless you and your family

  56. Chelsea says:

    If I win, I would like Always There as a gift for my mother. Over the years she has sacrificed time and time again to give us our wants and needs, and with six children that isn’t easy. I would love to give her a reminder that she is not alone.

  57. Wow-what an awesome, perfect devotion for today (which I just now got around to reading-at 3am). I’m in the midst of the “we’ll miss this someday” age-I have a very active 3yo an almost 1yo twins, so by the time I do everything to meet everyone’s needs, fulfill my volunteer responsibilities, spend some one-on-one time with each of my children, remember my own lunch at 3pm (etc etc etc) I’m left feelin pretty empty. Reminders like this are so wonderful and refreshing to women in my position to take it one day at a time and rely on the Lord for strength! I’m very interested in the Always There book-I think both sound like ones to add to my “someday reading list” regardless 🙂

  58. Aileen Jackson says:

    I teach an elective in high school and I have an open door policy. Students can come in my office to talk about stuff that does not concern school at all before the day starts and after the last class ends. I have no qualms in talking about what matters most to me and why I operate the way I do. Students seem to open up and start talking about themselves and family matters. I pray that by investing these 20- and 30-minute periods to listen and interact with my students would create an impact in their lives.

    I am still learning to be more open to people around me. I have often been a withdrawn person because of past hurts but God has convinced me that I am his ambassador and I need to be part of his work. Also, as a teacher, the things that I can give my students that will be priceless is an education and a relationship. If I can influence these young lives with God’s love, even if only one person is changed because of my willingness to be part of his work, then my effort would not be in vain.

    In relation to this, “A life that says welcome” would be most appropriate for me.

  59. Your devotion was a blessing from God today.

    Friday was my last day teaching GED students who I dearly, dearly loved. In fact, I mentored and invested every ounce of Jesus’ love, grace, mercy, and compassion I could each day I was with them. Due to various reasons, many that break my heart, I felt that I needed to leave. This decision was made after much prayer. I have questioned if I made any difference in their lives and in the lives of those I worked with for our Lord. However, after reading your devotion today, I am reminded He sees everything.

    This devotion brings me comfort that all was not a waste while I was with these students, in spite of the other circumstances.

    If I am chosen, I would enjoy reading Always There.

  60. God has placed me in my children’s high school theater department as a mentor/encourager. I listen to other children involved in the department and often speak a word or encouragement from the Lord or just give them an encouraging hug and smile to let them know someone is listening when the world seems so tough and out of control. I’ve had the opportunity to discuss God’s amazing grace and forgiveness on many an occasion.

    I would love the book Renee Swope and Ann have co authored if I’m chosen. He truly is always there!!!

  61. Elizabeth Oglesby says:

    Thank you for this devotional!! Such a blessing and a timely reminder. My children, Titus (just turned 3), David (17 months) and Moriah (3months) it can be easy to loose site of how important the little things really are. About a year ago my husband took a new job that moved us to south Texas for the oilfield. The day of his second interview we found out our daughter was coming. Because of the influx of people there was NO house (even hotels) so we ended up buying a 32′ camper and are continuing to live in that until our other house sells. It has been a challenge but a blessing at the same time. Now that our daughter is here and things are starting to settle down we are looking forward to getting more connected to our new area. (since home is only a couple hours away we stayed with doctors there because of the very limited doctors in the area). We are hoping to oraganize some get togethers in the rv park we live in. When our kids are older we pray our house is the one all the kids are at during the summers, after school and any other time. We would never want to replace their families but hope to be a second family to them.

    If I won I think I would like the book “A Life That Says Welcome” since as we welcome people we pray we reflect Christ to them through our hospitality. But I know I would be greatly blessed by either book.

    Thank you again for your encouragement and blessings

  62. There is a young man that my children have gone to school with for many years. His home life is tough. I have always tried to encourage him. As he has gotten older he would come visit me. I have an open door policy with him. He even calls me Momma (which several of my kids’ friends do). He just recently graduated high school and is heading into the Navy. I am very proud of the man he is becoming.
    Always There would be my choice.

  63. I just met a mom with a daughter in the hospital and offered to mentor her daughter when she got home. She has cp in a wheel chair and I thought my daughter and I could read or cook with her. My youngest in the hospital today with a tonsillectomy.

  64. Mary C B says:


    I recently started going to a Christian chat room. From there, I have met people that I am proud to call my friends. I truly believe that these people are my ministry right now and am thankful that I have gotten to know them. The most amazing thing is, each of us has had something broken in our lives-be it physical, emotional, spiritual, mental, or relational.

    I know have several of their phone numbers and try to text at least one of them every day to remind them that they are not alone in their problems and that God is always there for them. I am now the “Prayer Girl” for our group as people send me their problems and I either pray by myself or send it out to the group depending on what the request is. Sometimes the biggest encouragement we can have is that someone else knows what we are going through.

    I would love either book. However, I would probably prefer the “A Life That Says Welcome” book if I win. I believe that soon I will be opening my home up to more than just one person at a time. 🙂

    God Bless any who read this post!! I am praying for you all!! 😀

  65. Maria D'Erasmo says:

    I think that everything everyone is doing to help bring God’s grace to the world is wonderful. God uses us as His hands and feet to help others when they need us. In any way each day i try my best to help someone in anything they need. I think it is amazing to help others feel happy and help them to realize the amount of love God has for all of us. I hope everyone keeps up the good work and praise God!

  66. i recently heard andy stanley speak on mentoring, and his words caught wind with me. two of his points that really stuck with me were (1) empty your cup and (2) you don’t have to be an expert to mentor.

    you don’t have to know it all to mentor someone; you just have to be willing to empty your cup to them. and i really needed to hear that.

    i would want the book “always there” if i somehow won this giveaway.

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