By Kristin Bonham



I didn’t have a sister growing up but I met mine when she walked into my hospital room after I gave birth to my son 24 years ago.  I was 24 years old and that was a defining moment in my life. Like when you need something but you don’t know what?  My need was answered that day before I even knew the depth of it.


Lynn and I were not related but we considered each other sisters.  We were 10 years minus 1 day apart and I’m not sure what made her pick me but I am forever thankful she did.  This October marks the 10-year anniversary of her death which has caused me to reflect more on our relationship and how much she influenced me.


lynnLynn taught me the importance of having other women in my corner. She was in my corner, even when she was smacking me upside the head.  She helped me learn how to mother my children and made me slow down and enjoy the moments. She invited me to go look for my new house in my new town two hours away when I wasn’t motivated to do anything. We did Bible studies together, picked strawberries, took our kids to every out of the way field trip in Florida, redecorated rooms and played scrabble in many laundry mats across the country.


Her friendship shaped me.  She helped me discover my gifts and talents and didn’t let our differences come between us.  Well, maybe that one time we got in a fight in the middle of Washington D.C! She was not perfect but there was a rhythm to our relationship that was noticeably different and full of grace.


When she died, our kids were in the teen/college years.  Now they are in the wedding/baby years. I remember panicking that she would miss the weddings and the babies and that was not ok.  She is missing a lot of moments that matter but I have great comfort that she is not missing any moments that are eternal.  She is one of those people who showed me the things of God I needed so desperately and pursued them beautifully.


chloeLynn would have become a grandmother this year. Her daughter Chloe and I spent a Sunday morning together a few weeks ago and I got to cuddle baby Emery Amelia.  It was a sweet gift and very emotional visit.  We laughed and cried and rehearsed that terrible day ten years ago. In the end we decided that we will be ok. While no one can ever replace her in our lives, we have each other and more who we learn from and pour into.  Our lives and other relationships are richer for having known her.


I am thankful for the women in my life that I can share the victories and challenges with.  The ones who will laugh and cry with me and most of all, tell me the hard truth in love when I need it. Who are those women in your life?


“Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God.  Whenever I pray, I make my requests for all of you with joy,…  And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.”  Philippians 1:3-4,6

By Julie Jaunese



On April 30, 1789 the first President of the United States was sworn in at the capital of our nation at the time, New York City, at Federal Hall.  In George Washington’s address he said, “No people can be bound to acknowledge and adore the Invisible Hand which conducts the affairs of men more than those of the United States. Every step by which they have advanced to the character of an independent nation seems to have been distinguished by some token of providential agency.” He went on to say “It would be peculiarly improper to omit in this first official act my fervent supplications to that Almighty Being who rules over the universe, who presides in the councils of nations, and whose providential aids can supply every human defect, that His benediction may consecrate to the liberties and happiness of the people of the United States a Government instituted by themselves for these essential purposes.” George Washington then walked with his newly sworn-in Senate, House of Representatives and his cabinet to a small church in New York, St. Paul’s Chapel, to kneel and pray and dedicate this nation to God. There was a proclamation in force for that day as well for the people of the United States of America, compelling each person to go to their house of worship at 9:00 a.m. and pray for the nation.


This is only one example of the long history of Christian faith and values that our nation was founded upon.  We are soon faced with an important presidential election and there are four candidates who are asking for our vote. This year seems a more difficult choice than ever.  These men and women are not perfect, but then, neither are we. I can testify to the mercy and forgiveness of God in my own life.  It is only by God’s grace that any of us stand.


So how can we choose? We all have the Word of God in our hands and God gave us Ten Commandments. We also have the power of prayer.


“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place. I have chosen and consecrated this temple so that my Name may be there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be there.”  II Chronicles 7:14-16


We need to pray…for ourselves, for our candidates, for our still great nation, and for the world that our children and grandchildren will inherit. And we need to look at what each candidate stands for and against, and compare it to what God is for and against.  There are so many issues facing our nation and world, but who most aligns with a Biblical world view? As hard as it may be to tell sometimes… this should still be our greatest standard as a Christian.  In any office, who will most lead towards values that are taught in the Bible?


i-votedYou probably thought I would tell you who you should vote for, didn’t you? Nope. When I stand before God, I don’t want to answer for anyone but myself. And I am thankful that while I have a responsibility and privilege to cast my vote, I also have faith to believe that in the end, God is still in control!



One more thing, where will you be on inauguration day? No matter who wins, we should take action and be on our knees in prayer thanking God for all he has given us and asking for His protection for our nation and wisdom for all of those leading us.





By Pam Otto




When driving in your car, have you ever chuckled at other drivers around you who may be singing to themselves or chatting away on their phones, often talking to seemingly no one? Well, I realized the other day that I have slowly turned into “That” lady…the car talker, or in my case, the car pray-er!



I’ve been spending large amounts of time in my car these days as my three teenagers are involved in numerous activities and my driving skills are requested on a regular basis. I’m learning to embrace this time with God and find myself talking to Him regularly and pouring out my heart as run from one thing to the next.



tumblrMy prayer time in the car has become one of the regular places that God has met me in very real, intimate ways. I continue to stand amazed at how often God will speak to me, encourage me and direct me while I’m inviting Him into the highs and lows of my life, even while driving.



Just recently I was reflecting and praying during one of my driving adventures. I was talking out loud and poured out my heart, surrendered my burdens and laid out the concerns overwhelming me. I got to a place of expectancy, desiring God to connect with me, to show up, to reveal more, to speak clearly, to meet me in the middle of each and every request.



I paused and waited. After a bit of quietness, I turned on the radio and a song that I’ve heard countless times all of a sudden became life-giving, new and fresh to me. Don’t you just love when that happens?



The song Keep Walkin’ by Toby Mac confirmed to me that God hears my prayers, knows my needs and is eager to show up and meet with me, offering more of his knowledge, power and presence in my life.


I know your heart been broke again

I know your prayers ain’t been answered yet

I know you’re feeling like you got nothing left

Well, lift your head, it ain’t over yet, ain’t over yet so


Move, keep walkin’ soldier keep movin’ on

Move, keep walkin’ until the mornin’ comes

Move, keep walkin’ soldier keep movin’ on

And lift your head, it ain’t over yet, ain’t over yet



I should have seen it coming, but once again, God wowed me with His ability to enter into my heart and head, soul and spirit, whether in a cozy chair in my home or in the drivers seat of my car.



He is omnipresent ~ everywhere, always with us, always seeing, hearing and ready to walk with us into the everyday struggles of our lives. We have this wonderful freedom to pray wherever and whenever and know that He is delighted to connect with us as we invite Him into our days.



James 4:8 says “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you”, anytime, anyplace. No limitations or structures are needed for talking to God. He just wants to hear from us and then enter into our messy, full lives and offer more love, more power, more of Himself.


In the middle of your busyness, where do you meet with God?




By Robin Walls



Dear Fear,
We have been spending too much time together. You make me think less confidently. You make me act less bold. You make me feel anxious. The time I spend focusing on you is exhausting. It makes me angry when I realize I have let you creep in. I will not let you rule me because my God is bigger than anything that can cause me to feel what you are.


Dear Doubt,
You swoop in just when I’m feeling good about myself or when I’m proud of how I’m handling my current challenges. You make me second guess myself. A lot. That is a waste of time and I can never get those minutes, hours, days, etc back. You make me feel like I am not deserving of all the blessings that a life in Christ brings. And that is just not true!


woman-journalingDear Low Self Worth,
You have failed me again and again when you tell me that I am not enough or that I’m not worthy of love or of good things. Jesus died on the cross for me because I AM ENOUGH! So stop lying to me!


Dear Discouragement,
You sometimes cause me to back away from what I know God is calling me to do. You make me feel apprehensive and intimidated. When you are around, you make it hard for me to have the courage to speak Jesus’ love and truth to others. That is what I’m called to do and that is what I will do.


Dear Disappointment,
Because of you, when things don’t turn out the way I want them to, I turn to anger or sadness instead of turning to God. He knows my path and He knows the exact timing that is best for my life. When my path does not go as I planned, I will rely on Him to get me through and not you!


Dear Devil,
There is no room for you in my life, my home, my heart. You are not welcome near me or my family. Try all you want to break me down but I won’t let you. Jesus lives in my heart. He has all of the power and you have none. Go away and leave us alone.


Dear Jesus,
Thank you for saving me! Please help me to be strong and bold in who I am in You. Please give me courage to fight off all attacks from the devil. I will not let any negative words said to me or about me be my truth. You and Your love for me are the only truth I need. Because of Your love for me, I am redeemed. Everyday I will use the tools You have given me to fight against the enemy. I will be in Your Word. I will listen to worship music that praises You. And I will kneel at Your feet in prayer. Anytime I feel the devil hovering around searching for my weaknesses, anytime I hear his conniving whispers in my ear, I will surrender all to You because I know where my help comes from!