God’s Love Letter

By Major Beth Desplancke

Back when my husband and I were dating, early on in our relationship, Frank had to go out of town for a conference and was gone for almost two weeks. In that time, I remember receiving a long love letter from him. In this letter he talked about his dreams for our future, including marriage, family, and our life as Officers together. It was several handwritten pages filled with messages of love.

I was surprised to receive something other than a bill in the mail. The fact that he had written his letter so neatly, which meant he took some time to make legible (I did not fall in love with him because of his penmanship), and he openly shared his heart with me was thrilling. At this time, we had only been dating a little more than 2 months (to be honest, we had dated without dating for a lot longer, but two months was us “officially dating”), so what he wrote was things I had never heard before. He is much more guarded with his words in person, but on paper he was so open and so free, and everything he wrote oozed with love for me.

What did I do with that letter after I read it? You know, I read it again and again and again. I absorbed every word that was lovingly written on the page. I laughed at some of his ideas, cried tears of joy that God had finally led me to the “one” whom I would spend the rest of my life. I carried that letter around with me for weeks (it was tucked in my Bible so I could read it during class since it was while I was a cadet at CFOT). I prayed over it. I dreamed about it. I shared tidbits from it with my close friends! I still have that letter in a special box of treasures 25 years later!

I didn’t treat it like it was junk mail. It was not thrown into the trash unread. It wasn’t casual correspondence that I read once and then moved on with my life. It wasn’t a bill that I dreaded receiving. It was a beautiful letter filled with words of love from someone who is very dear to me.

God did the same thing. He gave us a love letter – His Word! We have 66 books filled with messages from Him about His love for us, and His desire for us to have a relationship with Him. And just like the love letter my husband sent me 25 years ago (he has sent me more since then), I didn’t just look at it once and then discard it. I treasured it! I meditated on it! I cherished it!

Let me share with you just a few of my favorite love verses from our Heavenly Father, who loves us more than any human possibly could love us. Hopefully we will treasure these words, cherish them and meditate on them!

The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.” Jeremiah 31:3

For God so love the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. John 3:16

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are. 1 John 3:1a

Have you taken the time to read God’s love letter to you lately? May we be women who know God and His love, and love to be in a deeper relationship with Him through reading His love letter to us daily. May we read God’s Word, memorize it, think on it, chew on it, devour and digest it, and most importantly may we take what we read in God’s amazing love letter to us and live it out in our daily lives. May these words be true of each of us:

My passion and delight is in your word, for I love what you say to me! I long for more revelation of your truth, for I love the light of your word as I meditate on your decrees. (Psalm 119:47-48, The Passion Translation)

New Year Letter from Commissioner Rosalie Peddle

By Commissioner Rosalie Peddle
World President of Women’s Ministries

Dear Women of God,

Greetings to you all in the strong name of Jesus!

We are celebrating a new year, 2022 is upon us! We take time to reflect on the past year and many of us will continue to experience emotions beyond our understanding. The Covid-19 pandemic continues to grip the world with force, and our various losses cause us to carry deep pain and an overwhelming feeling of helplessness.

Yet through it all God remains faithful. His promised presence continues to surround us. His love is deep and full and wide, reaching into the very depths of our world and our hearts. His grace is indescribable, incomparable, and amazing. God still has the whole world in his hands and if we take time to rest and reflect, we can see evidence of his miracles all around us.

So, as daughters of the King, we lift our hearts and heads to God. We lift our eyes to the Creator who saw us while we were still being formed. We lift our eyes to the Sustainer, who knows when a single sparrow falls, clothes the flowers in the field and anticipates our needs and worries. We life our eyes to our Saviour, who invites us to be a part of his Kingdom work here and now. His word equips us to see our world through his perspective and recast all our days in light of eternity. We remember who God is, and in him we find renewal and confidence. He is the Resurrection. He is the life. The best part? This is all available to us if we take hold and believe!

In Philippians 3:12-21, Paul shares that the future holds out hope, and we need to reach for it. We can reach out in hope because the future belongs to God, and we belong to Heaven, not earth! As women who serve Jesus faithfully, let us also be a forward-looking people. As we look upward to God for strength, courage, and hope, let us look forward to the new things that God is going to do in our lives and in the lives of others. The prospect of the new is what motivated Paul, and I trust it will motivate us today to aim for the highest when it comes to our mission and ministries. As we welcome in the New Year, I believe that God is calling us to a lifestyle of spiritual awakening. With a fresh faith and the help of the Holy Spirit, we can push through whatever obstacles stand in our way. We can penetrate the barriers Satan has built to bind us, breaking free and moving forward in faith and victory! Let us stop allowing our failures to cloud the glory of what God is doing in our lives and daily practice the presence of God, setting our hearts on Heaven.

Friends, I charge you to march forward into this new year with confidence, no matter what is ahead. Now is the time to make a difference in this world.

It’s time to love God more.
It’s time to love one another more.
It’s time to go the extra mile.
It’s time to reach the lost, least, and lowest.
It’s time to work harder for the Kingdom.
It’s time to worship the Lord.
Now is the time for us to be the Church.

We want the world to see Jesus in and through us, right now today! We pray that as we embrace others with love and compassion and as we fight the injustices that plague our world today, we influence others to seek the Lord. May God help us to be women of influence today.

I wish you a blessed and happy 2022! God is with us!

Shine for the Light Has Come

By Major Beth Desplancke

The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned. Isaiah 9:2

Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you. Isaiah 60:1

Satan filled the world with sin – a victory he thought he could win.
Heaven opened, the Son He did give, so that whosoever may live.
Immanuel – God with us- came; the world would never be the same.
Now those who have been walking in darkness, have seen a great light.
Eternal life is available – a future that is bright!

Shepherds disturbed in the night, by a bright, shining light.
Heavenly angels sang of this wondrous gift; the Savior has come to give the world a lift.
Interested they went, to encounter the Savior that had been sent.
Near to the Lord they came; they left, never the same.
Excited and eager to proclaim, their encounter with the Savior – Jesus is His name!

Seekers from afar, came searching, by following a star.
Having worshiped on bended knee, they knew who He would be.
In humanness He came, in order that the world would never be the same.
Not seeking fame or His own story, but did all for the Father’s glory.
Eternal life I give. Through Me you may live.’

Son of Man came to save the lost; not once did He consider what it would cost.
His needs and comfort He did not care; my sins He came to bear.
In agony and pain, never once a word did He complain.
Nailed on a cross, He suffered death and loss
Easter morning came!  The world would never be the same!

Satan was defeated; Christ’s work was completed.
Heaven’s door is open; salvation is available for everyone.
Invite Him into your heart and He’ll change you from the start.
Now go, and proclaim His love; share this amazing gift from above.
Exclaim Him!  Reflect Him!  And the world will never be the same.

In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.  Matthew 5:16

Thanksgiving Verses and Quotes

As we focus on the celebrating Thanksgiving, let’s remember that Thanksgiving isn’t just about one day where we join with family and friends for lots of delicious food, fellowship, and a good football game (or two). May these verses and quotes remind you about what true thanksgiving is.

“Be thankful. God has commanded it – for our good and His glory. God’s command to be thankful is not the threatening demand of a tyrant. Rather, it is the invitation of a lifetime – the opportunity to draw near to Him at any moment of the day.” Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. Colossians 4:2

“As a matter of fact, God isn’t asking you to be thankful. He’s asking you to give thanks. There’s a big difference. One response involves emotions, the other your choices, your decisions about a situation, your intent, your step of faith.” Joni Eareckson Tada

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever. Psalm 107:1

“The thankful heart sees the best part of every situation. It sees problems and weaknesses as opportunities, struggles as refining tools, and sinners as saints in progress.” Francis Frangipane

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

“A spirit of thankfulness is one of the most distinctive marks of a Christian whose heart is attuned to the Lord. Thank God in the midst of trials and every persecution.” Billy Graham

Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise him name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations. Psalm 100:4-5

“Grumbling and gratitude are, for the child of God, in conflict. Be grateful and you won’t grumble. Grumble and you won’t be grateful.” Billy Graham

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. Colossians 2:6-7

“It is one thing to be grateful. It’s another to give thanks. Gratitude is what you feel. Thanksgiving is what you do.” Tim Keller

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:17

“Genuine thankfulness is an act of the heart’s affections, not an act of the lips’ muscles.” John Piper

I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds. Psalm 9:1

“Thanksgiving with the mouth stirs up thankfulness in the heart.” Joh Piper

I will give thanks to the Lord because of his righteousness; I will sing the praises of the name of the Lord Most High. Psalm 7:17

“God doesn’t want us to just feel gratitude, but for us to show it by giving thanks to God with our lives.” R.C. Sproul

…Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Ephesians 5:19b-20

If there was ever a secret for unleashing God’s powerful peace in a situation, it’s developing a heart of true thanksgiving.” Lysa TerKeurst

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

Take It to the Lord in Prayer

By Major Beth Desplancke

This morning on the news I heard story after story about one crisis or another: the continuing COVID pandemic, the situation in Afghanistan, political fireworks regarding masks and vaccines… the list goes on. It sometimes feels dark and hopeless. But what do I do with the information? Yes, I am upset, but does it stir me to action? Does it lead me to my knees? To be honest, I might discuss it with others briefly, but after the initial shock of the news story, I go on, unaffected and untouched.

Nehemiah responded differently to a crisis in his time. He served as cupbearer to King Artaxerxes. On a visit from his brother, Nehemiah asked about his fellows Jews who had survived the exile and about the condition of Jerusalem. Nehemiah got news he probably wasn’t expecting. I am sure when he asked, he was hoping to receive a great report, but in Nehemiah 1:3, he is told some sad news, “Those who survived the exile and are back in the providence are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire.”

Nehemiah didn’t just say, “Oh, that’s too bad. I am so sorry to hear that,” and then quickly change the subject. No! It stopped him in his tracks! Verse 4 tells us that he sat down and wept and for some days, he mourned and fasted and prayed. The news he had heard touched his heart enough to take it to the Lord in prayer.

Notice, in a crisis moment Nehemiah didn’t panic. He didn’t talk to a lot of people about the situation. I had a Sunday school teacher that always said, “Before you go to the phone, go to the throne.” Instead of grabbing the phone and calling one of your friends to discuss your problem or situation, you should first go to the throne of heaven and talk to God about it.

Instead of talking about the problem, plotting and planning a way of action, fretting and stewing over it, or stress eating and shopping to deal with the feelings, he prayed about it. He turned to the One who could do something about the situation. He doesn’t focus on the problem in front of him; he chose to focus on the One who is big enough to handle this big problem. He begins his prayer with these words, “Lord, the God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments” (v. 5).

Nehemiah didn’t just pray once and move on, but it says he prayed for days. In verses 1 of chapter 1 the Bible tells us that it was the Jewish month of Kislev, which occurs in November-December on our calendars. In chapter 2, verses 1 we read that is now the month of Nisan, which is March-April. That is about 4 months that Nehemiah prayed over the situation and what was to be the God designed solution. Nehemiah didn’t simply pray one panicked prayer but had a pattern of prayer. He prayed continuously and consistently over the situation. I know I am guilty of praying a prayer once, and then moving on as if the situation no longer matters.

Nehemiah is often described as a great leader. He approached the king with a plan, and the king allowed him to go to Jerusalem and provided him with resources, and Nehemiah lead the people to rebuild the wall in 52 days. But Nehemiah’s leadership, plans and skills are secondary. The major thing needed was a deep commitment to prayer. Nehemiah viewed himself as a humble servant, and he was dependent on God for his direction and instruction.
Joseph Scriven penned these familiar words:

What a Friend we have in Jesus,
  All our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry
  Everything to God in prayer!
O what peace we often forfeit,
  O what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry
  Everything to God in prayer!

Have we trials and temptations?
  Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged,
  Take it to the Lord in prayer.
Can we find a friend so faithful
  Who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness,
  Take it to the Lord in prayer.

Are we weak and heavy-laden,
  Cumbered with a load of care?
Precious Savior, still our refuge—
  Take it to the Lord in prayer;
Do thy friends despise, forsake thee?
  Take it to the Lord in prayer;
In His arms He’ll take and shield thee,
  Thou wilt find a solace there.

What problems are you facing whether personally or corporately that has stirred your heart lately? How have your responded? May we be women who learn from Nehemiah’s example, and when problems arise, may we be women who pray instead of panic, who focus on the Problem-Solver rather than the problem, and who persistently bring the situation to the Lord until He provides an answer. Whatever burden or care that is on your heart today, take it to the Lord in prayer.

Happy Hopeful Fall

By Commissioner Colleen Riley

Happy Fall!! For some of us the colors of the trees are starting to change, and the mornings bring a fresh crispness as we take in the air outside. School is beginning again for our kids, a new program year is ahead of us, and the excitement is mounting! Or is it a little fear and trepidation mixed with the excitement?

I used to just want things to stay the same and predictable. Change was hard and I didn’t care for going out of my comfort zone. And then, for all of us, these past 18 or so months have happened; and we have all had everything become different and unpredictable, taking us far out of our comfortability in every way possible. Fear of today and for the future as well, has been foremost on our minds.

However, there is hope! Hope for today and for tomorrow. Hope for healing and well-being and that hope is found in our relationship with Jesus. I truly believe that God has something amazing right in front of us. He has used this time for a reset if you will. In speaking with others, they are seeing a new perspective on life and in how they relate to their family and friends. They are no longer taking advantage of the opportunities to spend time together and to tell each other that they love and care for one another.

For me, I see it is a new opportunity to grow in our relationship with Jesus. It is a chance for us to take that relationship, grow it and then help others to see the beauty in connecting with the Savior. And then out of all of that comes the ministry and discipleship opportunities in our Corps and in our communities.

Isaiah 43:19 says: “Behold, I am about to do something new; even now it is coming. Do you not see it? Indeed, I will make a way in the wilderness and streams in the desert. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. For I am about to do something new.”

Do you see it? He is doing a new thing in our lives and in our Church. He is making a way in and through the wilderness that we have been through and will give us Living Water! I believe that there is far more in front of us than what we are leaving behind. A hope, a future, and a life of fullness with Him.

As we head into a new season of the year, let’s go forward together in the promise of His unfailing love, that He will continue to raise us out of darkness and into His Holy light! He is doing a new and beautiful thing for us, if we can only see it and embrace it! He has already done it for us. And when we get nervous or anxious, be reminded of the promise in Deuteronomy 31:8 The Lord himself, goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.

BeeYOUtiful

By Colonel Donna Igleheart

Happy summer friends! I pray this note finds you well, blessed and enjoying the sunny side of life. Last summer I was still surrounded by the new, the strange, a never-ending mound of boxes and yet sweetly overwhelmed with the beauty around me here in Southern California. Maybe today you find yourself in a season of transition and can relate, if so, I am praying for an extra portion of grace, strength and sunshine as I share this note today. Hang in there, God sees YOU!

A year later and God continues to use seemingly ordinary things that helped me during those onboarding, settling in days to see and sense His presence. Such things as luscious flowering gardens, curious hummingbirds, rhythm of the ocean waves, the cool summer breeze, and the gift of meeting new friends. Most recently it was a child’s laugh! The laughter started at his little toes and gloriously worked its way up and spilled out into a bellowing sound of pure joy! The more I was around this sweet boy it became very clear that his joyous spirit was simply who God had created him to BE!

I recall when we first arrived my husband called me outside to look up into a beautiful eucalyptus tree at the entry of our home. He said, “Be still, listen and watch.” It didn’t take long to recognize the buzzing of hundreds of bees. The tree was full of swarming busy bees beautifully making a difference as they pollinate and effect the world around them. They were doing what they had been created to be and do.

I have a friend who often posts the same word not only my facebook post, but others. One word written with a little liberty, but so powerful. Bee YOU tiful! It always makes me smile because I know that this represents who he is and that he truly means it! I love how he emphasizes the word YOU in this lovely word. He makes each person feel seen.

What if we recognized that God created us to be exactly the way we are? What if we looked around us and recognized the beauty not only in the creation but in God’s most treasured, his people?

Psalm 139 is a powerful reminder of the weaving process and intricacy. Psalm 139:13, ‘For you created my inmost being, you knit me together in my mother’s womb’! The very One who created heaven and earth orchestrated all the delicate, inner parts of our body. He knit me together within my mother’s womb. I was made wonderfully complex. God knew me as He was so beautifully designing me to be me! The same for each of us!

He framed and fashioned each of us into a beautiful creation, not one of us just alike.

The hummingbirds don’t look at the bees and say I wish I were a bee. They are busy being who they were created to be. They are beautiful in their own way, making a difference as they were uniquely created. It’s often easier to see all the beautiful things around us but miss the Bee YOU tiful thing God is doing in us and through us. Psalm 139:14, “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” I never want to lose that be still, listen and watch posture…I might miss something Bee YOU tiful! Let’s see and praise each other’s Bee YOU tiful uniqueness!

Peace Despite the Chaos

By Major Beth Desplancke

When you think of the Fourth of July what comes to mind? For me, I instantly think fireworks. My in-laws live in a community near Los Angeles and in their city, safe and sane fireworks are legal. None of the neighboring communities allow fireworks of any kind. What that means is a lot of people converge on the community of Lawndale and bring their fireworks with them. We have been able to spend many Independence days there and enjoy the fireworks that explode literally over our heads.

Although Lawndale communicates what fireworks are allowed, most are not the legal fireworks. As we sit in the front yard and watch all that is taking place, it feels like a war zone. Along with the beautiful, colorful displays comes smoke, noise, explosions, and loud booms. You will also hear car alarms being triggered by the vibrations from the blasts. In addition, screeching sirens of various emergency vehicles fills the air. It really becomes chaotic and anything but peaceful.

But when I keep my eyes focused on the sky and get lost in the beautiful colors and patterns of the fireworks, I can almost tune out the noise and chaos around me. Instead of jumping with each loud blast, I am calm and mesmerized by the fireworks.

The same is true in our spiritual lives. We don’t need to have life around us be calm to experience peace. Peace is a person – Jesus Christ. Isaiah prophesied about who the Messiah would be. In Isaiah 9:6 he shared several names for Him, one of which is the Prince of Peace. When we know Jesus, we can experience peace despite the chaos that is all around us. How can we experience peace despite the craziness that surrounds us? Again, Isaiah tells us how.

You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all those whose thoughts are fixed on you! Trust in the Lord always, for the Lord God is the eternal Rock. Isaiah 26:3-4 NLT

Peace comes when we choose to fix our eyes and our thoughts on Him, and not on the circumstances that are around us. When I focus on the noise and the smoke of the fireworks, I miss the beauty that they bring. But when I choose to look up and direct my attention to just one thing, the chaos and noise fades into the background.

Remember when the disciples were caught in a boat in a storm and they panicked. They were afraid because the sea was raging, the waves were crashing, and the boat was filling with water. What was Jesus doing? He was asleep (see Mark 4:38)! Despite the lack of peace around Him, He was at peace.

We don’t have to have peaceful circumstances to experience peace. We simply must turn to the source of peace – Jesus. When life is anything but relaxing, and anxiety, worry, panic, or dread has our mind swirling, we need to keep our thoughts fixed on God. How? Paul gives us the answer.

Don’t worry about anything; instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7 NLT

My prayer for each of us as we enjoy the Fourth of July celebration (including BBQs, time with friends and family, and perhaps even fireworks) is that we remember that peace comes through Jesus Christ. Now may the Lord of peace himself give you his peace at all times and in every situation. The Lord be with you all. (2 Thessalonians 3:16 NLT)

Just Be… Adventurous

By Commissioner Colleen Riley

When I was younger, I was not very adventurous. I did not climb mountains or jump from cliffs into the waters below. As a matter of fact, I was quite timid. I was shy enough to even hide behind my dad in crowds. As I grew older, and after I met my husband, I was exposed to all kinds of adventures that I had never even considered doing. From camping and hiking to fishing and kayaking, not to mention sky diving, my life was full of adventure. My eyes were opened, and I found an adventurous spirit I did not know I had, which has helped me to explore all the beautiful creation that God had provided for you and I to savor.

When I came to know the Lord as my personal Savior, I was young. I knew in my heart what I had committed to, but I do not think I understood fully what the possibilities were for me as believer, a follower of Christ and a daughter of the King of Kings. As I have grown in my relationship with Christ, what an adventure it has been. I not only realized His calling on my life to be a minister of the Gospel, but I opened my heart to the world of that ministry, and He has taken me all over the world to see His hand at work. It has been quite a journey so far!

If I had only realized a little earlier in my life, the adventure I would take, maybe I would have been a little bolder sooner. But, no regrets, God has called me, and I am holding on to His hand for this incredible journey and taking in every moment and opportunity He gives me. Psalm 16:11 says: “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of JOY; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” There is adventure and joy and peace in the journey of faith. I choose to be bold for Christ, to reach new heights in my walk with God. I pray that each of you who read this will seize the opportunity to just be open and available to serve Him boldly, heading into the bright future He has for you. Adventure with Christ awaits!

Thanks Mom!

By Major Beth Desplancke

It is May – the month that we celebrate Mother’s Day. I am blessed to be called mom by three amazing kids (Ryan, Emily and Sam), and I am even more blessed to be able to call two women mom: My mom, Major Glenda Berko and my mother-in-love, Cathy Desplancke. I need to say thank you to the two moms in my life, because both women have helped shape me into the woman I am today.

My mom, Glenda, instilled in me at a very young age the importance of being in God’s Word daily. As a little girl, even before I could read or truly understand the Bible, my mom made sure that God’s Word was part of our daily lives. As a young child, we always had a “Daily Bread” box on the dining room table – it was shaped like a loaf of bread, and inside where pieces of paper with different verses printed on them. Every night before we prayed for dinner, we would take the time to read one of the verses.

Besides daily verses at dinner, every night she would have devotions with each of us three kids. As a little girl, she would read to me a Bible story book, but when I started to learn to read, mom would use little booklets called “Precious Promises” to do our daily devotions before going to bed. These little booklets had a verse each day, and a short little devotional. I remember those booklets because they had Precious Moment drawings on every page.

At first my mom read to me, and then I slowly sounded out the words and eventually I read them to my mom. After I had reading under my belt, every month in the mail we would each get a copy of “Keys for Kids” a short devotional magazine with a half-page devotion each day, with Scripture, and sometimes there were fun games to do as well. Soon my mom wasn’t there to be with me for by bedtime devotions because she knew I would do them on my own.

One of the practices my mom taught me was instead of making resolutions for a New Year, choose a yearly verse, which was to be my theme for the year. In the front of one of my Bibles, I have the yearly verse I have chosen for myself since 1991 (the year I graduated high school). It is so amazing to see how God used the verse or short passage to guide and direct me through the coming year.

Psalm 119:15-16 says, “I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways. I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word.” My mom not only lived these verses but taught me to do the same.

I met my mother-in law, Cathy, in 1995. From the minute I met her, I just felt like she was a friend. She was so sweet and kind. Even before I started dating her son, I felt a kinship with her. My husband is 10 years older than me, but from the time my husband was born, Cathy has been praying for the woman that he would marry. That just thrills me to think that 10 years before I was even born, my mother-in-law prayed for me. She is a faithful woman of prayer.

Besides being a prayer warrior, in all these years that I have known and loved my mother-in-law I can honestly say I have never heard her say a hurtful word about anyone. I truly believe she genuinely loves everyone.

Eleven years ago, she fought through breast cancer, and although cancer is no longer in her body, she is left with chronic pain. Despite all she has been through, she never wallows in her situation, doesn’t complain, and doesn’t seem to ever question God with, “Why me, Lord?” She smiles through and endures. Through it all, her faith remains strong and she continues to be a woman of prayer and praise.

Paul writes in Ephesians 4:29, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” These words describe Cathy. Her words are always encouraging, kind and beneficial to those listening. She challenges me to be a woman with gracious words.

There are so many other women who have had impact in my life, but I want to say thanks to my two moms. Mom, thank you for teaching me to be a wise woman of the Word. Cathy, thank you for teaching me to be a wise woman with my words. I pray not only that these two grandmas will similarly impact my three kids’ lives, but that I too will influence my children for eternity.

Whether you are a mom or not, how has your mom or mother-in-law impacted your life? What other women have had an influence on you throughout your life? What women have served as spiritual mothers in your life? How are you spiritually mothering others? Whose lives can you inspire and encourage today? If there are women in your life that have made a difference, perhaps this month take the time to tell them “thank you.”