Saturday, April 27, 2024

April Book Recommendations

Happy April! Here are this month’s favorite book recommendations. I hope you’ll enjoy reading these! Please share in the comments about some of your favorites as well.


Fiction – 

Paige Torn by Erynn Mangum

This novel about a young woman trying to find her way after college is heart-warming and hilarious. I laughed out loud in several places, (especially the scenes with the youth pastor’s antics, which are very realistic based on the youth pastors I’ve known, lol!) I liked the main character and appreciated that she lived out a daily relationship with Jesus, even when she was too busy and had a lot to learn. I’ve read this book more than once, and it gets better each time. If you like light-hearted but substantive Christian fiction, give it a try! 


Non-Fiction – 

A Pair of Miracles by Karla Akins

For anyone with autistic kids in their family, this is an invaluable resource! It starts out reading like a memoir, then it transitions into more of a guidebook. The author includes stories from her own experiences (raising adopted twins with autism) that show her difficult journey, her relationship with God through it all, and her empathy for others. She also includes practical tips and tools, lists of resources, and biblical wisdom about how to handle some of the unique challenges of raising autistic kids. I think readers will feel seen, understood, encouraged and equipped by this book. I highly recommend it!  


Devotional – 

Unshakeable by Christine Caine

This 365-day devotional contains a Scripture passage, a short reading, and a brief closing prayer for each day of the year. These quick, easy to read devotions are still encouraging and challenging. Christine encourages readers to find unwavering strength in God’s Word each day. 


Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Weaving A Good Plan

One of the promises we hear often and cling to in trials and suffering is Romans 8:28. 

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his promise.”

Sometimes we see evidence of this promise clearly. Other times we wonder how in the world God will ever bring good out of the pain we’re experiencing. 

Lately I was reminded again that God is like a master weaver. He uses every thread – good, painful, ordinary, excruciating – to weave a beautiful masterpiece in our lives. Everything we go through matters to God. Everything is used for His purposes somehow.

That astounds me. But it’s true. 

I can give you two specific examples from my life that I observed recently. 

Last week I was not doing well physically. We had horrible air quality, and the coughing was so bad, I could barely talk. Then my phone rang. When I saw who it was, I answered, not because I felt like talking, but because I knew it was God sending me some much-needed encouragement. My ‘adopted’ mom spent the next ten minutes praying for me and building up my faith once again. 

Here’s the thing…I would never have met her if not for some interesting threads God wove together. Seven years ago, I followed an impulse to ask for information about a Christmas banquet held by a local ministry. By God’s grace, they gave me two tickets for free. The day of the banquet, I started feeling sick. I didn’t think I could possibly go, but I felt in my heart that I was supposed to be there. So I prayed, and I got dressed, and I went, still feeling awful. When I arrived, I was seated next to an older couple. Before the night was over, I had a new friend. And that precious lady soon ‘adopted’ me as a spiritual daughter. She has been a blessing to me ever since!

I had no idea seven years ago what was coming in my future. But God knew. And He wove those threads together to give me the precious blessing of a godly woman to encourage me on my journey through all these years. 

The second example is that I currently have a tutoring student who I’ve been able to help in such rewarding ways that I thank God after each session. Then I saw the threads. 

Four years ago, I had a very close call with my breathing. I actually thought I might die. Thanks to the help of the staff at the Christian camp where I was staying in the mountains of Colorado, I survived. That dear couple not only helped me through the crisis, they also introduced me to some of their friends. Those friends then introduced me to one of their friends, who happened to own a tutoring business. And once my breathing crisis had passed, I ended up getting hired as a tutor. 

God used a life-threatening crisis to bless me with new friendships and a new job, and now, four years later, with the opportunity to bless a young life (as well as the other students I’ve tutored). 

How does God do it? It boggles my mind, honestly. And it gives me hope for today. 

I’m so grateful He is GOD! He is the master weaver, working everything in our lives for our good and the good of others – bringing beauty from brokenness. 

I wrote the following poem years ago. (It’s in my book Seeing God Through The Storm –

Empowering Truths from the Book of Job.) I hope it encourages you today that God is always working, always weaving His good plans for you. 



Broken To Beautiful


Broken, shattered,

Pieces scattered.

Is this my life?

Dreams have crumbled,

Idols tumbled.

Nothing left.


Nail-scarred hands,

Heart that understands,

You hold my life.

Healer of the broken,

Truth you’ve spoken,

You are all I need.


My pieces repairing,

While broken, preparing,

A new life for me.

The best plan you weave,

Help me receive,

Your will for me.


Transformed through the pain,

No longer the same,

You are my life.

Your grace shining through,

You change broken to



by Joanna K. Harris