Posted on

The Birthday Locket – Laura Thomas

“Happy Birthday to me.” Amy whispered the words in the direction of her sorrowful reflection in the bedroom mirror. Where was energetic, vivacious, animated Amy—and when had those crow’s feet found purchase around her eyes? 

Another year older. But it wasn’t merely her age. Dressed from head to toe in black, Amy’s heart was heavy with grief. She reached up and touched the gold locket around her neck. Warm, smooth, full of memories. Had she ever seen Grandma without it? “No one should have to bury their grandma on their birthday.” Amy turned at the sound of her mother’s voice. “I know. It couldn’t be helped. Besides, turning forty-five isn’t much to celebrate.” She raised an eyebrow. “My daughter is always worth celebrating.” Amy’s mom managed a smile. “Anyway, the last of the lingering funeral guests have finally gone if you want to come downstairs.

I will. I’m just getting used to Grandma not being here.”

I know. Change is never easy. And you were her favorite granddaughter.”

Her only granddaughter.” Amy’s eyes pooled. “I miss her.

Come and sit with me?” Amy followed her mom across Grandma’s excessively floral bedroom and they perched on the end of the queen-sized bed. How many times had she sat here with Grandma through the decades and attempted to solve all the problems involving boys, studies, faith, marriage, parenting, and her new empty nest life? She swallowed a sob.

Amy, I’ve vacillated whether or not to give this to you today but your grandmother made me promise.” Her mom reached into the top drawer of the ancient dresser in front of them and pulled out a letter tied with a scarlet ribbon. “Grandma wanted you to have it.

Amy took the envelope and recognized the immaculate script right away. “For me? Do you know what it’s about?

Her mom wrapped her in a side hug. “You’ve had a rough year. Both your kids are away in college now, you’re finding a new rhythm to your life, things with Ben aren’t the greatest, and I know you haven’t been to church in forever.”

Amy shoulders sank. “Mom—

I’m sorry. I’m not judging you, honey. I’m worried about you. You might be in your mid-forties but you’re still my girl. You have a lot going on and Grandma had a way of making us all see sense and she thought this letter might help. That’s all.”

Amy nodded. “Have you read it?

No.” Her mom squeezed her hand and stood. “This is a birthday gift for you.

I thought the gold locket was her final gift to me?” She fingered the treasure as it rested on her breastbone.

She was very mysterious but I think you’ll find it’s all connected. You might want to get some fresh air and read the letter in her favorite place, too.”

I think I will. Thanks.” Amy gripped the precious letter to her chest as her mother retreated downstairs. 

She stood and headed out through the bedroom French doors to Grandma’s balcony, blinking as her eyes adjusted to the late afternoon sunshine. Grandma’s house was a beautiful plantation style home but its elaborate interior was dark—probably why she spent so much time on the balcony overlooking a park full of trees. 

Amy rearranged a plethora of pink cushions and settled into the wicker sofa. She smoothed her pencil skirt, kicked off her heels, and made herself comfortable. Before embarking upon a session with Grandma’s words of wisdom, she took a deep breath and allowed her eyes to roam the springtime vista of lemony yellow magnolias mingled with pale pink flowering dogwoods. So much new life everywhere. Ironic as we just buried Grandma…

Focus. The letter. She tugged at one end of the satin red ribbon and let it fall to her lap. She turned the envelope over, slit it open, and unfolded the paper. Papers—there were three sheets. Words especially for her.

My darling Amy,

How I wish I could be face-to-face with you to wish you a Happy Birthday but my time is drawing near and I have a feeling this letter may find you in a less than jubilant frame of mind. Please don’t feel sad for me—God granted me almost ninety years of life and it’s finally my time to be in glory and I’ve been looking forward to meeting my Lord and to reuniting with my Henry, your grandpa, for some years now. However, I am concerned about you, child…

Amy blinked back the blur of tears and allowed a chuckle to escape her lips. “Child.” She had once complained to Grandma for calling her “child” when she was a teenager—and had suffered the lecture on them all being children of God and how precious that identity was. And now I have children of my own—who have flown the nest and don’t really need me so much anymore… Amy sighed as she found her place on the page:

Amy dear, you might be a woman with grown children of your own, but you will always be a child of God. Your role might be changing—as it always does in this life—but one thing never changes: God’s love for His children. I know how much you miss having your babies under your roof but they have to make their own way and now you need to find yours.

We haven’t talked too much lately about your dear husband, but I fear that perhaps things are not as they might be between you and Ben. Am I right?

Amy’s face heated. How on earth did Grandma know? She didn’t miss a trick—she was sharp as a tack to her very last day. But Amy had been so careful to make excuses when Ben wasn’t around for recent family dinners and had almost managed to fool herself into thinking things were relatively okay. Not great. But not horrendous. It was weird and new, this navigating the nest without any chicks to buffer the awkwardness. Her faith was stale, her marriage in a rut, and she had no clue what to do about any of it. She gulped and read on.

What you have to remember, child, is that you are not alone in this predicament. Every one of us has to learn how to embrace the new when the next season rolls around. Can I let you into a little secret? Your grandpa and I had a horrible time of it when your mother and her siblings all left our nest. We fought and ignored one another and held onto our marriage by the skin of our teeth.”

What? Grandma and Grandpa celebrated their sixty-fifth wedding anniversary before he passed. They were the model of love Amy always looked up to. Her heart sank. Was every relationship doomed to dissatisfaction and disaster?

I’m sorry if that’s a shock to you. It was to me, too. There we were, a good Christian couple, both active at church and following the Lord. Yet the love between us faltered and that, in turn, rocked our relationships with God. It was awful. I was miserable. And then one afternoon, Grandpa came home from work with a tear in his eye and a gift in his hand. He never cried and it wasn’t my birthday. But that was the most memorable evening of my life.” 


Fascinated, Amy tucked her hair behind her ears and turned to the next page.

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.Lamentations 3:22-23

You see, your grandpa knew we had lost our way very badly—in our marriage and even in our faith. It was a gradual decline but we needed help out of the pit. So he sat me down at the kitchen table, lay the gift in my lap, and told me to open it. 

As I unwrapped the box, this verse was written on a slip of paper. And as I pulled out the most beautiful gold locket I had ever seen, Grandpa explained that the Lord had woken him early that morning with this verse on his mind. He said the words “love, mercy, and faithfulness” echoed in his heart all day at work—he couldn’t shake them. And through that verse, God whispered that Grandpa and I needed to find our first love again. Not only between the two of us—but our love for Him, too. We’d allowed both loves to stagnate, the flames flickering to almost nothing when God intended us to be burning bright in our marriage and our faith. 

Love, mercy, faithfulness—that is what we both craved from one another and from the Lord. And I think maybe you crave it, too.”

A stirring welled in Amy’s heart. She was tired of treading water, merely surviving and going through the motions of living. She faked joy and put on a brave face for everyone and it was exhausting. She ached for connection—with Ben and with God. How long had it been since she’d cracked open her Bible? There was one last page of the letter…

So you’re probably curious about the locket. I know you always liked to try it on when you were a little girl but I never went a day without wearing it since that one evening with Grandpa. You see, Grandpa told me he had our special verse inscribed on the inside of the locket before he set a tiny photograph of the two of us inside—and then had the jeweler weld it shut. He said we were sealed together by God’s love and in His mercy, we would be together all our days. And we were.

Amy, I had that locket opened up a month ago when I knew my time was running short. Take a look inside and know that God will give you the love, mercy, and faithfulness you need to make your life beautiful again in Him. 

Know you are seen, heard, and loved—in every season of life, my darling. 

With much love,

Grandma.”

Amy put her hand to her face and found it was drenched with tears. Dear Grandma. Dear Lord…

She set the letter down on the sofa and unclasped the locket. Holding it gingerly between her fingers, she unlatched the delicate clasp and pulled back both sides. 

A gasp escaped her lips. On one side was a tiny photo of her and Ben on their wedding day. How had Grandma orchestrated this surprise? And sure enough, the inscription “Lamentations 3:22-23” was on the opposite side. 

Amy rose to her bare feet and padded to the edge of the balcony. Clutching the railings with one hand, she breathed in the smell of spring. The season of making all things new. Even in the sorrow of death, God had given her hope and promise.

God, it’s not too late for Ben and me. I know it. But I need You—we need You.” 

Yes, God’s mercies were new every single morning and surely, He longed for them to live their best life together. As friends, lovers, parents to their adult children, and as servants of the Almighty. She had the sudden urge to run downstairs and speak with her husband before it was too late.

Amy gazed down at the locket in her hand and closed her fingers around the beautiful reminder. 

Thank you, Grandma.

This bizarre birthday might be a day of grieving and goodbyes—but it would also mark a change in her heart with the start of a fresh, new season… with love, mercy, and faithfulness.

A published Christian author, Laura writes heart-warming encouragement for your soul. She has three Christian romantic suspense novels published, as well as a Christian teen fiction trilogy, marriage book, and middle-grade novel. She is published in several anthologies and writes devotionals, articles, and stories for magazines and online, and shares musings on her blog.

Laura is a chocoholic mom of three, married to her high school sweetheart. Originally from the UK, they live in Kelowna, British Columbia as audacious empty-nesters.

Find her at laurathomasauthor.com

The orphan Beach by Laura Thomas book cover

THE ORPHAN BEACH

A Christian romantic suspense novel
by Laura Thomas
(Published February, 2020 by Anaiah Press)

laurathomasauthor.com/project/the-orphan-beach/

Amazon.com link

iola bookazine the change issue

This short story is just one of the articles from the Change issue. Get your copy here to read more fantastic articles on change in a beautifully designed paper edition.

Posted on

Transforming your home with colour – Sherri Smith

After studying and working with clients in her interior design studio Sherri discovered some interesting and helpful colour psychology tips. Did you know colour has a direct effect on our physical and emotional responses? Sherri shows us how transforming your home with a little understanding can affect our emotions and responses.

Over to Sherri:

Have you ever walked into a well-kept room and instantly felt relaxed or completely unsettled and unsure as to why you reacted this way? Chances are you have experienced the effects of colour psychology. Once you become aware of how colour affects you, you will be in awe as to just how sensitive our mind and emotions are to colour.  Do you have a favourite colour? Something you love to wear or are naturally drawn to? Often this favourite colour represents a psychological need we have.  

transforming your home

Transforming your home with knowledge

At times I lack confidence and find myself needing to wear a strong colour like red in new or challenging situations. I find red and bright pinks energising and confidence boosting. In more recent years after studying and working with clients in my interior design studio I’ve discovered some interesting and helpful colour psychology tips. Did you know colour has a direct effect on our physical and emotional responses? We can intentionally choose colours for our home depending on the responses we desire from our loved ones, guests and ourselves. 

It takes wisdom to build a house, and understanding to set it on a firm foundation; it takes knowledge to furnish its rooms with fine furniture and beautiful draperies.”
Proverbs 24:3-4 The Message. 

I love this beautiful verse from Proverbs; it’s a great reminder that we can be mindful and intentional when it comes to how we create our homes, including how we choose the colour palettes. Our family can be quite lively at times and one of the most desired emotional responses from my family while we are spending time together in the living room is peace and tranquillity, where everyone feels relaxed.  

Can you guess what colours I’ve chosen to use? In the living room peaceful and nurturing blues; in the form of a denim blue sofa styled with natural linen scatter cushions, soft off-white knit throw and a natural jute floor rug. I’ve extended the blue theme to our re-vamped sideboard cabinet, along with artwork featuring beautiful calming colours in shades of blues and greens and neutral tones.  

transforming your home
Calming blue living room


In addition to our calming blue hues we’ve added several air-cleaning indoor pot plants to the room. Plants not only look great and clean the air, they also help sooth our senses by connecting us to nature, offering us a sense of grounding and belonging. Family and guests visibly relax when they enter our living room, have happy conversations; an outcome due to understanding and using colour psychology. 

Transforming your home with Colour Psychology

Here is a short list of a few popular colours and their effect on our mind and emotions: 

  • Blue – tranquillity, loyalty, security and trust 
  • Green – growth, calming and freshness 
  • Purple – luxury, ambition, spirituality 
  • Pink – health, love, compassion and nurturing 
  • Red – love, energy, strength 
  • Orange – courage, confidence and friendliness 
  • Yellow – happy, energy and creativity 
  • White – purity, goodness, clean and fresh 
  • Black – dramatic, protective and grounding 

Next time you have the opportunity to decorate in your home, take a moment to consider what mood or atmosphere you would like to create in the space. A good rule of thumb is the cool colours (blue, green, turquoise – think of the ocean and grassy fields) evoke calmer emotions and are great for living spaces, bedrooms and bathrooms. Warm colours (red, coral, orange and yellow – think of the sun) evoke lively conversation, energy and activity, perfect for children’s playrooms, dining areas where you enjoy lively entertaining and entryways ready to welcome family and friends with a warm hug. 

A final note

When you have chosen your new colour for decorating, you may like to indulge in using it to create a bold statement with feature walls, large pieces of furniture, rugs and oversized artwork. Or, if you prefer a more subtle approach, start with a neutral palette (think whites, soft greys and natural timbers) and add your new colour with decorating items such as a piece of furniture, window treatments (curtains and blinds) art work, cushions, throws and flowers etc.. 

When the room “feels right from the heart” you know you will have your very own room filled with rare and beautiful treasures.

Sherri Smith lives in Queensland, Australia with her husband and three teenage and adult children living a passionate life; loving God, her family and embracing her mission to help as many people as possible to embrace a sustainable, healthy and beautiful home life. Inspiring people to swap out the nasties in the home for healthier alternatives, to embrace quality over quantity and love the “back to basics, simple slow life”. You can follow Sherri on Instagram – her fav place to hang out on IG @sherrismith.interiors/ or check our her website at www.sherrismithinteriors.com.au

iola bookazine the change issue

This article is taken from the Change issue of iola. Read more about it and get your copy here.

Posted on

The kindness of God – Sarah E Frazer

He just made a face at me.
Well, he called me a name!” 

Try to be kind, please.” I asked. “If someone does something you don’t like, respond in kindness.” 

The month of April we talked to the children about being kind. There had been harsh words, fighting, and snide remarks. Instead of learning to be friends, the siblings were turning against each other. No one was happy. Everyone was miserable. The only time they weren’t arguing was while they sat alone in their rooms. 

Photo: Katie Gamble

Being kind is more than just loving someone. It is love in action. How often have I loved in words but not in deeds? And how often have I let my kindness only come out to the ones who “deserve it”? Too many to count. So I look to God and found His kindness inspires me. When I read Psalm 136, the refrain “His mercy endures forever” echoed in my heart. The word for “mercy” is also translated “loving-kindness,” which is the Hebrew word “checed.” It actually means God’s “covenant-keeping love” for us. Covenant means promise. God’s love is directly connected to His promises. The promises of God are the reason we can wait on God, seek His face, and feel Him close, even in suffering. 

Our soul waits for the LORD; He is our help and our shield. For our heart shall rejoice in Him because we have trusted in His holy name. Let Your mercy – (covenant-keeping love) be upon us, just as we hope in You.
Psalm 33:20-22

O give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For his mercy (covenant-keeping love) endures forever.
Psalm 136:1

People aren’t kind.

Even the well-intentioned people can be unkind. But God is kind. It is all He can be. Even in suffering, we find the kindness of God. In suffering, pain, heartache, questions, doubts, and even in our deepest darkest pits I’ve seen the kindness of God.

No one ever has never suffered. If you have lived you understand suffering. So when I say we see the kindness of God in our suffering, I don’t mean we feel it. I don’t mean we even believe it totally. I’m saying the kindness of God means we can choose to see His love in the dark. In the mercy on the cross, see the kindness of a Father who continues to bear our burdens with us. I’m sure Jesus didn’t feel the kindness of God while hanging in agony with the sun darkened in the sky.  Yet here we are. Saved because of this amazing kindness of God. 

Suffering can show us the kindness of God.

When I say this, I don’t mean this circumstance feels good. I’m saying the kindness of God means we see His love in the lonely nights with tear-stained pillows. I’m saying the kindness of God means I feel His comfort as I read His words on the days I don’t want to read my Bible. The kindness of God shows up in the peace that passes understanding when all we want to do is hide. 

The kindness of God is found in the small and the big ways; the small moments when I’m with Him in the mornings, quiet with my coffee, the little moments laughing with my children over something silly, the ordinary date nights with my husband, just holding his hand. More and more kindness is given to me and I miss it. I miss seeing the beauty because I’m wrapped up in myself and focused on my own feelings of being lonely. 

One of the biggest ways to remember God’s kindness is to keep a list. A kindness list is similar to a gratitude list. How can you see God’s kindness, even today? 

There is so much unseen, unknown, and frustrating about life. Right now we are trying to sell a house from miles away and there is a ton of stuff to do. There are people we are going to have to rely on because we are physically not there. But there are people who are there. And that is the kindness of God. We have to do school at home, but we have children who laugh at silly things and that is the kindness of God. It is hot, but we have fans and that is the kindness of God. Our laundry dryer doesn’t work very well, but I have a clothes line and that is the kindness of God. I’m so unfaithful with my Bible reading, but God is always faithful and that is His kindness. I am shamed by my lack of faith, but God says there is no shame; lean into the faith He brings. And that is the kindness of God. 

We might feel forgotten, we are not, that is the kindness of God. We might feel unseen, we are not, that, too, is the kindness of God. We see God’s kindness in our suffering when we remember His truth and promises. Here are just a few:

  • God’s love endures forever. (Psalm 136; Isaiah 54:10)
  • Mercy is available to everyone who repents. (I John 1:9; 2 Chronicles 7:14; Psalm 86:5)
  • God never leaves. (Deuteronomy 31:8; Joshua 1:9, Hebrews 13:5)
  • God provides strength for the weary. (Isaiah 40:31; 41:10)
  • God is our rescue and protection. (Psalm 9:9-10; Psalm 107:13-16)
  • God’s salvation is for the entire world. (John 3:16, 3:36)
  • God will meet our needs. (Philippians 4:19)
  • God is always comforting us. (Psalm 23:4, Psalm 27:1)
  • God hears our prayers. (Psalm 34:17; Psalm 50:15)
  • All things will work out for our good. (Romans 8:28; Psalm 31:19)

What if we woke up today and suffering remains? We can carve a path through the desert and find water when we see God’s kindness in suffering. 

Sarah E. Frazer is a writer and Bible study mentor at sarahefrazer.com. Sarah is the wife of Jason and mother of five. She and her family serve as full-time missionaries in Honduras. Her passion is to encourage women to start today with a Bible reading and prayer habit. Sarah is the author of several self-published Bible study resources for women. She shares tools and encouragement for Bible and prayer study at sarahefrazer.com. Follow her on Instagram @sarah_e_frazer and download her 12-Day Bible Reading plan here. http://www.sarahefrazer.com/12days 

iola bookazine change issue

This article is one from the change issue. Read more about and purchase your copy here.

Posted on

Abrasive grit to fine polish – Brooke Giles

Rough around the edges

I have always loved rocks. Smooth, beautiful, colorful stones or big broken open geodes with crystals formed inside. As a kid, I would dig through the bins at the souvenir shop for as long as my parents would allow. I would fill my little cinch bag as full as I could with as many colors as I could find. The sense of rubbing my fingertips over the polished surface was soothing, unlike the natural texture of life.

I loved them so much, I asked for a rock tumbler to make my very own. I thought you could go from rugged to gemstone in no time at all. I was wrong. In a child’s mind, it took forever. As an adult, it takes 4-8 weeks, changing the abrasive grit to fine polish eventually. It felt like an eternity to allow the proper change to happen.

grit to polish change is hard

The grit of character development feels harsh

I imagine we have all felt rough around the edges a time or two. Thrown into the tumbler with life grinding away at us. The grit of character development feels harsh. The pressure to look like you have everything under control is almost unbearable and the progress we want to see isn’t anywhere in sight. But if we could take a moment to remember: We all go through the same process and we are all leading others by the changes we allow God to make daily and the forgiveness and grace we accept.

The allowance of this change in our human nature feeds the goodness God has instilled inside each of us. Counter that, if we don’t allow Him to change us, we encourage what is evil. He gave us the ability to choose. I wish I could say that goodness is always easiest. With family, work, friendships, and our own dreams, life can be a hard balance. Some people push us to be better. Some bring out our worst.

God knows each rigid edge and every rough point of view. He knows every jagged lie you believe and every pit of anger you fall in. He knows every veiled perspective and the harm each holds against you and the damage it causes others in the process. Our actions can show love or cut like a sharp sword. Words, being the sharpest of all, pierce our thoughts and linger for what seems without end. And unjust words, crushing, tumble like a boulder.

Change is always difficult

Until God gives us the mirror to see His work in action, change is always going to be difficult.

I went to a park recently that had a shallow creek. My kids jumped straight in and started skipping rocks across the water. As I watched them sort through and select the perfect rocks to skip, I thought about the amount of water and tumbling it took to get those stones to the shape they were. I imagined God sorting through His people, looking for just the right one to use for His purposes, some begging to be chosen, some hiding in the muck. It was then I realized, that the water changed the shape of those stones and freed the one who is stuck, just like His Spirit frees and changes us.

A rock has no choice but to separate from its weakest edges, but we do.

I imagine Jesus bending down, His eyes on the brokenhearted. When He reaches out, I hear one cry out, “I’m no good. Choose someone else.” But His response is always perfect. “You are mine and you are beloved. Treasured.” As He lays His hand upon us, we become perfected for His purpose through His power and are able to let go of the fragmented thoughts and iniquities because He has prepared us and spoken over us. Lifted up, we see our reflection below. Not as we see ourselves, but as He has made us in His image.

Perfection is relative and our time is His river that delivers us in the end, raw and broken – or polished and beautiful, overflowing with His peace. How many times have we been tossed about? How long did we remain stuck? Will we recognize the changes we have made or the rough places we refuse to acknowledge? What am I sacrificing for my pride?

Questions to consider

While we tumble through life and feel like we are being thrown against what only wants to swallow us, a place where our fears lie and wait for our return, question yourself.

  • Has my character been changed enough in Him?
  • Has my attitude been adjusted toward others?
  • Has my mouth been tamed?

Whether we sink again or keep our head above the water depends on the reflection we choose to view. The Spirit of God within you reveals everything He has made good.

Love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

When He launches you into His work, remember where you began and recognize what has been made new. The best part…

You are always chosen.

.

Brooke Giles is a military spouse and work-at-home mom currently living in the suburbs right outside Atlanta, GA, with her husband and two children. She is passionate about living creatively through writing and encouraging others to do the same. Even though she is not a photographer, she loves to pretend and you will often find her making her children recreate silly moments or taking photos that tell a story. She appreciates charming scenery that inspires her and, of course, where she can do all her over-thinking and coffee sipping. She currently writes children’s books and Christian fiction/ non-fiction  in hope to publish one day. IG: @holdingontogood and Holdingontogood.com.

Abrasive grit to fine polish is one of the articles from the change issue of iola. Buy your copy here for more articles, creative prompts, and beautiful photography.

Posted on

Letting go to embrace change – MaryBeth Eiler

Letting go of our plans to embrace change or the life we’ve been given requires a daily laying down of our lives, but it’s a path that leads to a deeper dependence on God and the full life He has to offer us.

MaryBeth Eiler

“Where do you see yourself in five years?”

The question caused me to hesitate. A few years ago, I could easily conjure up an answer—one that stemmed from a five-year plan that held all the things I felt I should be doing alongside dreams and aspirations. A realistic, achievable plan that offered my life a sense of purpose and direction—or, more accurately, a sense of control. My answer today looks quite different.

letting go to embrace change
Photo – Harriet Calfo

Change necessitated by circumstances

I used to view my five-year plan as a roadmap through which I could take on the world—a safety net of sorts. Of course, it wasn’t a specific play-by-play of how my life would unfold, but it did lend direction, something to fall back on when uncertainty crept into my life. At least, that is what I anticipated to be true until my life turned upside down unexpectedly. Diagnosed with a rare, aggressive tumor in my mid-twenties, I was caught off guard. A health challenge was not part of my well-crafted plans. As I grappled with the diagnosis, it became clear I wasn’t prepared.

Sometimes, we walk willingly toward change. Other times, change is necessitated by circumstances outside of our control. As change was thrust upon me with my newfound diagnosis, I fought it every step of the way. I desperately tried to hold onto the life I once knew by convincing myself that maintaining my former life meant all would be well.

Holding fast to my goals, dreams, and desires, I resisted change. Within a few months, I found myself not only depleted but filled with discouragement upon realizing I wasn’t doing much well by clinging to this attitude. Something had to give. Pretending life was normal when it was anything but wasn’t cutting it. I painfully accepted that I had limitations to contend with. My reality required me to let go of the life I had planned and embrace what I had been given. In the process of letting go, I held both grief and gratitude. I grieved the inability to do what I loved, while simultaneously holding gratitude for all I could still do. In letting go and embracing the life I had been given, I found beauty in the present moment. As my striving began to cease, I gained the capacity to see all the incredible ways God was at work—even amid unwanted circumstances. Letting go of long-held expectations and plans was slow and painful requiring newfound grace for my limitations. Over time, I came to realize that there was beauty to behold in the ordinary and the mundane. There was joy to be found when my striving ceased. Life was found in letting go of my plans and embracing what was right in front of me.

Holding plans loosely

Holding my plans loosely created an opportunity for me to see God at work in the smallest details of my life—in the places I had never thought to look before. Such as when fatigue set in related to my rigorous medication routine, no longer needing medication to help with pain management, a full night’s sleep in a comforable bed when sleep was near impossible to come by. A book on hold at the library ready for pickup the day before chemotherapy to keep me occupied.

As my dependence on God grew through the struggle and lack of control, it became apparent that God hadn’t left my side. His presence grew increasingly more recognizable.

Letting go of our plans to embrace change in the life we’ve been given requires a daily laying down of our lives, but its a path that leads to a deeper dependence on God and the full life He has to offer us.

The truth is, I’m not sure where I see myself in five years, but my hope is that wherever life takes me, I continue to rely more on God’s guidance and direction than my own. While I continue to battle against the need for control, I’m learning and relearning that there is more freedom found in letting go and letting God. While my plans convince me that I have some semblance of control over my life, I’ve found God’s plans always pan out better. I’m learning to hold my plans loosely, to bring the desires of my heart to God, and to ask for His guidance and direction. To embrace change. Doing so has allowed me to pay better attention to those hard-to-ignore nudges. Having the future we envisioned upended is hard, but if it’s taught me anything, it’s that resisting change only makes our circumstances harder. Leaning into God as we let go of what we thought our life would look like and embrace the one we’ve been given is how we experience more freedom. May we continue to practise letting go to embrace what is right in front of us.

MaryBeth Eiler profile photo

MaryBeth is a writer who encourages people to hold on to hope as they encounter unexpected challenges in life. As a rare disease warrior, MaryBeth has found God’s provision in her weakest moments and with it the grace she needs to endure. MaryBeth shares encouragement on Instagram @marybetheiler and at www.marybetheiler.com.

embrace change iola bookazine

‘Letting go to embrace change’ is just one of the articles found in the change issue. Buy your copy here today for more articles, creative prompts, book introductions and beautiful photography.

Posted on

Finding peace in letting go – Alison Craig

Last Autumn my husband and I were taking a morning walk along a path filled with beautiful Fall colors and textures. The morning was crisp, and the air was fresh. There were countless dandelions dotting the edge of the pathway, floating above the remaining foliage like fluffy cotton balls. I leaned over to take a picture of one. Much to my initial dismay, it was completely falling apart. The seeds that would normally make up the beautiful airy sphere were letting go, in what at first glance appeared to be a complete mess. But as I looked closer, I saw unique details and textures. The dandelion letting go of all its seeds actually had a beautiful gracefulness to it. The dandelion was letting go of what it to needed to in that season.

Allison Craig

Letting go can be hard

Letting go can be one of the hardest things we have to do in our lifetimes. Just like the dandelion let go of its seeds in order to create new plants the following season, sometimes we need to let go in order to give ourselves space to grow. Letting go can be scary because whether it be in a big or small way, letting go can also mean change. But giving ourselves room to grow can result in the most beautiful transformations.

Some of my earliest memories from my childhood include hearing my father play songs on our family’s baby grand piano during the evenings. Some years later, I learned how to turn pushing randomly on those same keys into beautiful music. When my husband and I got married, we were given the piano I had spent so much time playing as a child and teenager.

But the reality was, we really didn’t have room for a baby grand piano, and I was too busy to play it. It was very large for the space we had— it metaphorically ate up all the adjacent space in the room next to our kitchen. After a couple years, the writing was on the wall. It was time to let go the baby grand piano that I had so many fond childhood memories with. I found a friend who was looking for a piano and the problem was solved. I knew it was going to a good home where it would be used and appreciated.

While we may not want to admit it, material possessions are sometimes hard to let go of. Especially if it is something we have worked hard for, paid good money for, or have an emotional attachment to. But letting go of excess materialistic possessions can free up space literally and figuratively for us to focus on other areas of our lives that are worth developing and growing into, rather than managing an overload of belongings. 

Letting go of dreams

But letting go isn’t always materialistic. Perhaps there is a dream or idea you’ve had to let go of. Maybe it is just temporarily, or maybe it is permanent. If letting go of a dream is temporary, perhaps the timing just wasn’t quite right, so letting go just means for now. Or perhaps the idea you had is being revised for an even better plan for your future. Or maybe there is a particular picture in your mind of how your life in general was supposed to look, but things just aren’t turning out that way.

I know personally there have been times where I became so focused on how I thought my life should unfold, I didn’t realize things were coming together for the better. I had to let go of my preconceived ideas of how I thought my life should look, before I could fully see the beautiful life right in front of me.

Letting go to grow

While letting go is often associated with loss and change, it can also be associated with gain. There are countless facets of our lives where we may need to let go in order to grow. I don’t know what area in life this may or may not be for you, but I know it can be scary. Will we regret letting go? Will we not like the change? Will things ever be the same again? So many questions come along with letting go, and sometimes there are things we should hold on to as long as we can.

My thoughts go back to that crisp Autumn morning walk and I remind myself of the dandelion letting go of its seeds. It was done in such a light and airy way, it gets me to wondering—are we putting too much weight on letting go in certain areas of our lives? Perhaps we should shift some of the focus from what is in our lives, to how we live our lives.

Reflective questions

Have you ever felt like there was an area of your life where you needed
to let go in order to grow?

Do you have trouble letting go of material possessions? If so, why do you think this is?

If you feel you have an excess of material possessions, is there a way you can prioritize keeping the most significant or memorable items, while letting go of the not-so-important ones?

Has there been a time in your life where things just didn’t pan out the way you thought they would?

Was there some good that came out of this experience?

Is there an area in your life where you might be focusing too much
on the what, rather than how you are living your life?

Allison Craig is a photographer, designer, and writer inspired by nature and the plants she grows in her garden. Her hope is to inspire others to see beauty in their everyday lives. Her first book, Finding Peace in the Everyday, is available on Amazon.

autumnsoul.net
IG: @autumn.soul

Finding peace in the everyday book cover
Finding Peace in the Everyday
Allison Craig

iola bookazine change issue

This article and reflective questions can be found among others in the Change issue of iola. Get your beautiful copy here.

Posted on

Morphing into & with the changes of motherhood – Laura Thomas

Morphing with the changes

After saying yet another heart-wrenching goodbye to a University-bound child at the airport, I head home to the empty nest once more. For me, it’s the reminder that no matter the age of my three grown kids, I’ll always be Mother. Mum. Mommy. Depending on the child. And part of motherhood is morphing with the changes, rolling with the punches, and giving it all to God!

morphing into motherhood

Motherhood is a million little moments that God weaves together with grace, redemption, laughter, tears, and most of all, love.

Lysa TerKeurst

No matter the age of our children, those “million little moments” keep us on our toes as the kids change and grow. It also requires change and growth on our part—sometimes we get it right and other times, not so much. Who among us does not have major regrets when it comes to parenting? We wish we spent more time listening and less time nagging. More down-time and being less uptight. More laughs and less tears. More hugs and less shrugs. 

We are learning beside our children

Hindsight is a gem but, in the moment of mothering, we throw our hands in the air—either in supplication to God or in utter frustration with ourselves—and we do our best. Much of the time we are learning right beside our children, growing emotionally, mentally, spiritually just as we watch them grow physically. And then in a flash, they are packing for college and we realize our time is up and we hope to goodness we have done enough…

What you really want, desperately, wildly, in spite of everything—is for them to remember the good…What every mother wants, her most unspoken need—is a truckload of grace.

Ann Voskamp

A truckload of grace

So much grace. For our mothering, for our kids, and for ourselves. Somewhere along the way we can forget that grace is a gift from God. 

He sees and knows and loves us right where we are. Whether in the trenches of hands-on parenting kids in the home or desperately missing a grown child and wondering what role motherhood is morphing into, we are not in this alone. Not only are we mothers, we are daughters, too. Daughters of the King. He loves us and He loves our kids more than we can ever comprehend: 

Look with wonder at the depth of the Father’s marvellous love that he has lavished on us! He has called us and made us his very own beloved children.

1 John 3:1a (TPT)

As His beloved children, we can come to Him always with our concerns, cares, and worries. He promises to give His perfect peace—and that is exactly what we need in our parenting. He knows that we will always be mom to our kids, just as He is always our Heavenly Father. That role remains even if the rest of our lives are barely recognizable as the family scatters and the nest empties. This is undeniably comforting for our children and for us, too. Mom is who we are…

Motherhood is a gift

We will always have these God-given mother hearts that constrict when our children are hurting and hold an extraordinary amount of love for them—whatever their age. That doesn’t change as the years go by, it merely morphs with our adult kids’ needs and circumstances. We have the privilege of watching them blossom, learn from mistakes, fall in love, follow their passions, and make their faith their own. It’s breathtaking. 

And if we can put into practice continued growth and grace in the journey, we will remember that motherhood is a gift. It’s precious. It has excruciating seasons and brings unimaginable joy. 

It’s constantly changing, unique, exhausting… and the very best of everything.

Even when the nest is empty. 

adult child motherhood

A published Christian author, Laura writes heartwarming encouragement for your soul. She has three Christian romantic suspense novels published, as well as a Christian teen fiction trilogy, marriage book, and middle-grade novel. She is published in several anthologies and writes devotionals, articles, and stories for magazines and online, and shares musings on her blog. Laura is a chocoholic mom of three, married to her high school sweetheart. Originally from the UK, they live in Kelowna, British Columbia as audacious empty-nesters.

Find her at laurathomasauthor.com

The orphan Beach by Laura Thomas book cover
THE ORPHAN BEACH
A Christian romantic suspense novel by Laura Thomas
(Published February, 2020 by Anaiah Press)

Read about The Orphan Beach on Laura’s website.

The Orphan Beach on Amazon.com

iola bookazine change issue

This article is just one from the Change issue of iola. If you love to put your feet up, savour the turn of paper pages in your hands, with the smell of coffee, and music in the background, and to read something that encourages and inspires, you deserve this issue! Get your issue here.

Posted on

What can we find on the other side of change? – Noreen Sevret

I listen to the crackle of the campfire in front of me as my husband and I sit and watch the logs slowly burn and sparks fly high into the sky. Fall evenings by the river are ones to slow down in and appreciate together. The nostalgia of past memories are caught inside me as I think back to years when the feet of a little boy sat next to me watching the campfire and roasting marshmallows, anxious to put the toasted marshmallow and Hershey’s chocolate on the Graham cracker, top it off with another Graham, and then take that first bite. That oh-so delicious taste I can taste as the sun descends in the sky across the river from where I sit on this evening. There is always something beautiful that can be found on the other side of change.

campfire change

Many years later the same feet of the little boy, but all grown now, were taking him off in a different direction as I sat by the warmth of the fire. I reminisced about the campfires of long ago and enjoyed the memories as they tugged quietly within my heart. I sit on my camp chair, look down at the grass and see one small, yellow leaf near my feet, resting from its journey from a nearby tree. I pick it up and hold it in my hand. I think to myself how this is simply the beginning of a new season of vibrancy. It has always felt too soon for me; the change of seasons, that is. I always find myself unready for the season that comes with the falling of the leaves, yet I knew I had to adjust to the redesign in how it colored my world.  

change yellow leaf

Lingering beside the campfire for a few minutes longer, I found myself lost again in the nostalgia of the days when picnics with my 5-year old son were often held by the river and when he would say, “Come swing with me, Mama”, running out the back door for the swing set and wanting me to follow him. Those precious days of carefree life, picnics, and walks by the river to explore and see what we could find are now a distant memory. My walks by the river this year did not include a little boy anymore, but they did include the grown up boy’s dog, Cookie, and his childhood Australian Shepherd dog, Sophie, as they wandered through the edges of their home here and found places to explore. In walking with them I found beauty tucked along the edges of the woods where the wildflowers grew tall by the river’s edge. 

I know I am not in control of the seasons as they come and go and realize I am not always ready for, or even want, the eventuality that comes when the leaves begin their falling from the trees in my yard or from the places in my heart. The one small yellow leaf I found is but a reminder of the fall season that is here, bringing with it much more change than just the coloring and falling of the leaves. It has brought with it a different world with the impact of COVID-19 and the reshaping of my life within its reality. The colors of life became different within its realm, and my attitude has had to shift with every day, every news report I read, every uncertain moment, as well as every place of beauty I have intentionally walked toward to fight against a pull of discouragement.

I know there is beauty to be found in every season, even this one. I have experienced three incredible things on the other side of change ~ hope, a heart closer to God, and healing: 

Hope on the other side of change

In looking at the beauty of a flower or a sunset and knowing the creation of God was evident in what I set my eyes upon, because God could create this beauty, I knew He would also walk with me through uncertain seasons. I have found the way I walk through the stretching and ever changing times makes a big difference in how I find and hold on to hope. 

In the last six years, I have found hope while learning how to live as an empty nester and pray continuously for my son who grew up and left home early. Hope was found in the time of selling the business my husband and I owned for 21 years without knowing all the next steps ahead, including new career changes for both of us. I held on to hope as I sat in a hospital room from time to time in the past year and a half while I watched my husband suffer physical pain and continued to ask God for his healing. I have found hope while living life in the middle of the ongoing pandemic where I have experienced God’s provision for my family. When my husband got sick, our son returned home to live, the unexpected gift of his being here for another season or more is one of the blessings I’m grateful for. I’m also grateful for the good days my husband has and the decrease in his daily pain level throughout this year. Oh, how I have fought against the seasons that came when the leaves would fall and also against the falling pieces left inside my heart! Each time, however, I felt God was saying to me, “I will get you through. Just trust Me. Put your hope in who I am and not in your circumstances.” I did, even when it was hard. I put my hope in Him. “Without wavering, let us hold tightly to the hope we say we have, for God can be trusted to keep his promise.” Hebrews 10:23 NLT

Heart drawn closer to God

A heart drawn closer to God ~ What made the difference for me was choosing to embrace a closer walk with God in the middle of each season. No matter what the situation, when I sat myself down in the middle of His love for me, I drew closer to Him and adjusted my attitude to look to Him for my strength and my hope. “Draw close to God, and God will draw close to you…” James 4:8 NLT

Healing on the other side of change

I began to find healing in seasons where change was rampant and I felt like I was blowing away like the one small yellow leaf held in my hand by the campfire. I started looking for God in something beautiful each day. My heart began to heal as I depended on the Word of God, which says, “Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord is the one who goes before you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor forsake you.” Deut. 31:8 NLT.

I let the one small yellow leaf fall to the ground and bring my heart’s attention back to my warm place by the fire. On this side of change, yes, life is different, but I walk with hope, a heart drawn closer to God, and healing inside where God has met me as I wrestle with difficult things. As the transformation of color happens again on the New York hills I set my eyes on, I trust God, knowing there is always something beautiful that can be found on the other side of change. 

Noreen Sevret

Noreen Sevret lives on a picturesque river in Upstate New York with her husband and their son. She has a passion for finding beauty in unexpected places from behind the lens of her camera and writing about how God speaks to her heart through that picture. She facilitates journaling classes at her church. Noreen enjoys spending time with family, writing worship songs, playing the piano, reading, participating on book launch teams, going out for coffee with friends, and going to beautiful places in NYS and beaches in NJ with her husband. She also works as an office manager for a local funeral home. www.noreensevret.com IG: @writerbytheriver.

iola bookazine change issue

This is just one of the beautiful articles in the Change issue of iola bookazine. Get your copy here.

Posted on

There is no short cut to maturity – Jenny Sanders

“In the economy of God, however, there is no short cut to maturity,”

As a child, one of the highlights of primary school was the Easter term, when art classes turned their attention to spring. That inevitably meant creating slightly wonky and surreal ‘trees’, full of pink ‘blossom’, to be displayed on the classroom wall. We painted sturdy brown trunks on what was then called ‘sugar paper’, before indulging in a mad glue and tissue-paper fest, scrunching up the delicate sheets into pleasing blobs and sticking them all over the page with merry abandon and copious amounts of gloopy school glue. While catkins stood drunkenly on the nature table and shattered birds eggs were admired by saucer-eyed children, we moved on to other spring stalwarts. The life cycle from tadpole to frog was laboriously illustrated on many a blackboard, and we were captivated by slimy, wobbly frogspawn in jam jars, watching it develop over a few short weeks into wriggling tadpoles that sprouted legs and subsequently became adult frogs. How magical it seemed, to press our noses against the cool glass of an old aquarium and observe hungry caterpillars munch through a mini forest before weaving a silken chrysalis and disappearing from view, only to emerge sometime later from their cosy cocoons as glorious butterflies. We’d watch them as their damp wings dried out and they patiently flexed their remodelled bodies before being released to fly away into the English countryside. 

no shortcut to maturity

Metamorphosis

Metamorphosis: the transformation in form or nature of one living organism into a mature adult through two or more distinct changes. What a wonder! 

I’ve been reflecting on the attractive idea of metamorphosis, for those of us who are daughters of the King. There’s a real appeal in the idea of becoming like Jesus overnight isn’t there? How brilliant would it be if, once we’ve surrendered our life to God, accepted His amazing gift of salvation and become part of his Kingdom family, we were instantly little Jesuses in our homes and communities? Wouldn’t it be amazing if our old habits fell away as naturally as the butterfly’s withered chrysalis? The quick temper, the poor self- esteem, the simmering resentment when we feel hard done by, the destructive habits and painful comparison traps. Who wouldn’t want to shed their less presentable character traits with the ease of taking off a coat? No more thoughtless words, an end to harbouring grievances, falling prey to enemy lies, sliding into gossip, nursing bitterness, stingy attitudes and ingratitude. Surely metamorphosis would be a short cut to freedom and contentment. 

No short cut to maturity

In the economy of God, however, there is no short cut to maturity, no instant transformation in character. Just as the butterfly needs to strengthen its wings during the process of breaking out of that cocoon, or the tadpole/froglet needs to learn how to use its legs, we learn to walk the Kingdom path, to grow spiritual muscle and become warriors. 

In the economy of God, however, there is no short cut to maturity, no instant transformation in character.

Jenny Sanders

New Christians and toddlers have some things in common: they fall over a lot, regularly make a mess and take time to develop skills and gain the expertise required to feed, clean and clothe themselves, to handle disappointment, to stand up again having tumbled and to keep going in the face of obstacles, challenges and loss. We learn how to forgive, how to resist temptation, how to press on, how to respond to the voice of our loving parent. There is a natural curve in our progress as we discard the old ways of life and put on the new ones.1 We learn to ‘take captive every thought2 so that we’re not bullied or ambushed by enemy schemes that seek to drag us away from the Father’s house. 

I’ve been feasting at God’s good, lavish table for over 45 years but perfection still eludes me! I carry a living history of the mercy, grace and provision of God through good times and bad, abundance and lack, buoyancy and bereavement, which I treasure, champion and share; but I still know that my tongue is all too quick with a cutting reply. I find it easier to see the down-side of any situation than the good; I am wired for task and achievement more than relationship and, clearly, God hasn’t finished with me yet. I have come through a season of breast cancer with blooming health and a renewed conviction of the faithfulness of God to walk with me through any valley or any sunlit meadow, and I’m sure there will be more twists and turns before my journey is done. 

Pace of change

While I am often frustrated with myself regarding the apparently glacial pace of change in some areas of my life, I am grateful beyond measure that the extraordinary love and grace of God continues to carry me onwards through every changing season. I know there is nothing I can do that will put me beyond His reach and that, as a good Father, He rejoices in me regardless of all this. 

For those who also look wistfully at the process of metamorphosis and long for more godly characteristics to grow (preferably much more quickly) in their lives, then let me finish with two important words of encouragement: 

  • Progress, not perfection, is what every parent wants to see in their child. Are you moving on, growing and being shaped like the clay in the hands of the potter?3 Even if the clay didn’t respond immediately under the craftsman’s hands, Jeremiah noted that he didn’t just throw it away and pick another piece. The artisan can remould the most recalcitrant clay into something beautiful; that keeps God – the divine potter – busy in my life every day. I pray that the water of the Holy Spirit will keep me malleable, sensitive and available for His skilled hands. 
  • While growing in character and Christlikeness is an ongoing journey, salvation is actually described in the Bible in terms of metamorphosis; a dramatic change of ownership and direction. Paul says that those who are ‘in Christ4 have moved from darkness to light,5 from death to life5; you can’t get much more transformed than that!  

Change is the only constant in life

The old Greek philosopher Heraclitus said: ‘Change is the only constant in life’. Whether you love or loathe it, change is an inevitable part of life as we pass through our allotted time here. Physically, the ageing process starts at birth, and we’re forcefully reminded of that every day when we look in the mirror. Spiritually, change is to be welcomed as evidence of God at work in us and through us as we embrace His abundant life and become the people we were designed and called to be. 

The spring blossom still reminds me of both the tissue paper artworks and the annual delight of observing metamorphosis in frogs and butterflies, which I enjoyed as a child. As an adult with a living relationship with their designer and creator, who shows His hand so powerfully in nature, I am content to trust Him to change me by increments as I choose to walk with Him, submit my will to Him, and keep my eyes fixed on Him each day. 

One of the advantages of getting older is that I enjoy a longer history of intimacy with Him; I have more stories to tell as I reflect on the path behind me. Sometimes it’s only by looking back that we can see how far we’ve come; try it. 

1 Ephesians 4:22-24
2 2 Corinthians 10:5
3Jeremiah 18:4  
4Romans 8:1 amongst others; it’s well worth doing a Bible study on this phrase in the New Testament.
5Ephesians 5:8
6Ephesians 2:5

Jenny Sanders no shortcut to maturity

Jenny Sanders is an international speaker, prophetic teacher and writer who has been involved in discipling and training Jesus-lovers across streams and denominations for over thirty years. Her passion is ‘to see the lights come on’ for people when they grasp the magnificence of God’s grace and the excitement of living life with Him at the helm. She is the author of Spiritual Feasting (Instant Apostle, May 2020). Jenny is married to Bernard with whom she adventures around the world. They have four fantastic grown & flown children.

iola bookazine change issue

Read more articles like this on beautiful paper in the iola change issue bookazine available here.

Posted on

Heartbreaking changes can be the catapult – Katherine Smith

The aches of our most heartbreaking changes can be the catapult to our greatest epiphanies and relationships”. Changes can be the catapult – Katherine Smith in iola the change issue

Lying on the living room couch with my eyes closed, the once-forgotten sound of passing trucks teases traces of distant memories to the front of my mind. Thoughts of Saturday morning toast with fried eggs and honeycomb cereal start flowing. Has it been fifteen years since I last stayed the night here? Somehow, the sounds and smells make it feel like childhood was yesterday. My sister and I would pull out the box of toys and somehow, the noisemakers we loved so dearly would disappear as we played “I Spy” in this very room.

changes can be the catapult
Photo: Harriet Calfo

Differences stand out the most

While some things are the same, the differences stand out to me the most. There is now one recliner where there had been two. One bedroom has been unoccupied for six years. The piano looks as though it hasn’t made music in at least that long. The kitchen has new carpet, but the tablecloth with matching placemats is still around, tucked away in the hall’s linen closet. 

Walking back into the hall, I step into the room I occasionally slept in as a child. The scent reminds me of the nights my older sister and I would share the room. We’d argue over who got to sleep where on the bunk bed and were always wanting to get up long before we were supposed to. Deciding the clock was wrong, we’d sneak out to the kitchen to look at the clock in the corner over the cabinets. We must have been right once that our time was wrong, and we never trusted the clock again, causing us to get fussed at “go back to bed” by a voice I hear only in echoes as I recall those days.

Despite everything that has changed

The echoes grow louder as I carefully tread down the stairs. Despite everything that has changed, the calendar in his study stays the same, like a plaque commemorating the month and year the change occurred. The pile of Bibles with notes scrawled within them has a dust layer that grows thicker as time passes. A timepiece lies there, reminding us we ran out of time. It feels irreverent to move them; they’re a memorial to every-day holiness. 

Sometimes, you learn more about a person after they pass than you did before. The minuscule becomes essential as you realize people and relationships are more complex than you thought. Those wrinkled hands I knew as a child were once strong as they farmed the ground. They were steady as they gripped the steering wheel while transporting coal, gentle yet firm as they raised children and grandchildren, and delicate as they turned the pages of a Bible. 

I looked at him once and exclaimed, “You’re old!” not recognizing then that the lines on his face carried not only his age but also his wisdom. I prayed one day I’d find someone just like him. Someone with an ornery glimmer in his eye who could rework a tractor so the front was the back and leave a legacy of devotion to his Savior that makes others want that, too. 

Changes can be the catapult

Some change is uncomfortable; it is bittersweet. It can leave you wishing you could go back in time and play the piano once more for individual ears to hear and enjoy. Turn another somersault across the living room floor while you can and see the joy on a face you now see only in pictures and memories.

“The aches of our most heartbreaking changes can be the catapult to our greatest epiphanies and relationships.”

Katherine Smith

Physical things will pass away, but may we always remember that truth will not. “Hope = divine certainty” – words written in his Bible and spoken at his funeral. I learned I couldn’t know how many people he influenced and changed during his life. He changed my life. I mark the words in my Bible and build my outlook on them. The aches of our most heartbreaking changes can be the catapult to our greatest epiphanies and relationships. The best is yet to come.

Katherine Smith -Changes can be the catapult

Katherine Nadene is an old soul contained in a small body. She started writing after she realized her calling to encourage others who are also chronically ill and found healing herself through the words she writes. Her heart lives in the mountains, but her body lives in a small town in Pennsylvania with her husband, her twelve-year-old puppy, and never enough books. A worship leader and youth worker at one church and the administrative assistant at another, she enjoys writing, reading, and knitting in her spare time. www.purelyhoping.com  IG @purely_hoping

iola bookazine change issue

Heartbreaking changes can be the catapult” is just one from iola the change issue. Get your copy here.