Monthly Archives: March 2016

Does Anyone Appreciate All I Do?

Does Anyone Appreciate All I Do? by Glynnis Whitwer

“But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” Matthew 6:6 (NIV)

After finishing a big project at work, I was pretty proud of myself. Although most of my part had been behind the scenes, I hoped someone had noticed. The next few days, I checked and rechecked my emails and texts, waiting for an “atta girl” or “well done” message. But none came.

While I was slightly disappointed, I didn’t make a big deal of it … that was until another person in the organization completed one small task as part of my bigger project and was praised effusively.

Although I joined my thanks in the responses, my heart became very sad when my name wasn’t mentioned.

The lack of notice hurt more than it should have. And over the next few weeks, my feelings got hurt with increased intensity, and I began to wonder if anyone appreciated all I do for them. It started at work but spread to home.

When my kids left shoes in the living room I’d just picked up, or my husband didn’t say thank you for dinner, the hurt grew.

When I finally broke down in tears one afternoon, I realized something had gotten mixed up. Why did my heart get bent out of shape when I didn’t get the praise and acknowledgement I thought I deserved?

As I took some time to think this through, it seemed like somewhere over the previous months, my desire to serve my Savior was overshadowed by a desire for approval from others.

Jesus taught on this very topic in Matthew 5 and 6. He gathered His disciples for a lesson on life in His Kingdom, which was radically different from the dusty streets of Galilee they knew. In this world, we do look to others for approval. But it’s very different in the Kingdom of God.

Jesus wanted His disciples to understand an important truth: God is always watching. Whether our work is on a public stage or done in the quietness of our homes, God sees. And when we do things with a heart to serve Him, He rewards us with His pleasure.

However, when we work with impure motives or just to gain others’ approval, that is our reward … temporary and superficial.

It seems our heart motive makes the difference. Jesus cut right to the core issue in Matthew 6:1: “Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven” (NIV).

The Jews were all about parading their righteousness in public hoping to be noticed, including praying with great spectacle. Jesus addressed that specific issue in our key verse, “But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you” (Matthew 6:6).

Jesus wasn’t saying don’t ever pray out loud; He was giving us the key to break our desperate need for approval. According to Jesus, we receive God’s approval in the secret places, when no one else knows what we’ve done.

As I looked back over that time when my feelings were hurt consistently, I realized I hadn’t spent much time in secret places with God. I hadn’t sought His approval.

I managed to read a few Bible verses before bed and whisper a few prayers during the day. But the truth was I’d neglected time with my Heavenly Father. I’d exchanged His whispers of approval for the inconsistent and unfulfilling approval from people.

I needed to get alone with God, quiet the world’s feedback, so I could hear His voice.

And when I did, I realized that one word of approval from God is worth more than a hundred “atta-girl” comments.

The next time disappointment creeps up when I’m overlooked, or I think, “Why not me?” — I’ll see it as a little warning. It’s my reminder to go back to that secret place. To spend time with God alone.

That’s where I’ll get the acceptance my heart really wants.

Heavenly Father, thank You for seeing what I really need and want. The approval of people never satisfies. Help me to see it as a poor substitute for Your approval — which brings me true joy and meaning. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Galatians 1:10, “Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant.” (NLT)

1 Corinthians 3:13-14, “Their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward.” (NIV)

Why is the approval of people often more important than God’s approval?

What is one thing you can do in secret this week to try and break the addiction to approval from others?

© 2016 by Glynnis Whitwer. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries
630 Team Rd., Suite 100
Matthews, NC 28105

The Marriage Lies

The Marriage Lies by Lysa TerKeurst

“[Love] always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” 1 Corinthians 13:7-8a (NIV)

The first five years of my marriage were really hard. Two sinners coming together with loads of baggage, unrealistic expectations and extremely strong wills.

There was yelling. There was the silent treatment. There were doors slammed. There was bitterness. There was a contemplation of calling it quits. There was this sinking feeling that things would never, could never get better. That’s when I first started hearing the three lies:

  • I married the wrong person.
  • He should make me feel loved.
  • There is someone else better out there.

I believed those lies. They started to weave a tangled web of confusion in my heart. All I could see was all that was wrong with him. I became so blind to his good. I became so blind to my not-so-good.

And I wasn’t shy about sharing my frustrations about the whole situation with my friends.

Most of them nodded their heads in agreement with me, making me feel ever‑so‑justified. But one didn’t. Instead she said, “I know what you think. But what does the Bible say?”

Ugghhhh. The Bible? I didn’t think her “religious suggestion” would help me. But over the next couple of days, her question about looking into the Bible replayed over and over in my mind.

Reluctantly and with great skepticism, I tried it one afternoon. I turned to a couple of verses she suggested, including 1 Corinthians 13. As I read the list of everything love is supposed to be, I got discouraged. My love didn’t feel kind, patient or persevering. The love in my marriage felt broken.

I closed the Bible. It didn’t seem to do anything but make me feel worse. So much for that.

Then a few days later, I heard an interview on a Christian radio station where a couple was talking about these same verses. I wanted to gag and turn the station. What do they know about how hard love can be? That’s when they said a statement that grabbed me, “Love isn’t a feeling; it’s a decision.”


I went home and flipped to 1 Corinthians 13 again. This time, instead of reading it like a list of what love should make me feel, I read it as if I could decide to make my love fit these qualities. My love will be kind. My love will be patient. My love will persevere. Not because I feel it — but because I choose it.

At the same time, God was working on my husband’s heart as well. We decided to make some 1 Corinthians 13 love decisions. Slowly, the cold stone wall between us started to come down.

It wasn’t easy. It wasn’t overnight. But slowly our attitudes and actions toward one another changed. And I stopped believing the marriage lies and replaced them with these three marriage truths:

  • Having a good marriage is more about being the right partner than having the right partner.
  • Love is a decision.
  • The grass isn’t greener on the other side. It’s greener where you water and fertilize it.

Maybe you’ve heard the marriage lies before. My heart aches for you if you are in a hard place in your marriage. And believe me, I know tough relationships are complicated and way beyond what a simple devotion can possibly untangle. But maybe something I’ve said today can help loosen one knot … or at least breathe a little hope into your life today.

Dear Lord, thank You for this truth, no matter how hard it is to read. Thank You for Your Holy Spirit, who gives me strength to turn from the lies and walk in Your truth. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8a, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self‑seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” (NIV)

Lift up an honest prayer to the Lord and ask Him how you can be the right partner for your spouse today. Also, try the 1 Corinthians 13 exercise Lysa mentioned in the devotion today and determine to fight against the marriage lies!

© 2016 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries
630 Team Rd., Suite 100
Matthews, NC 28105

Why Dreaming Small Might Be the Secret to Living Your Biggest Dream

Why Dreaming Small Might Be the Secret to Living Your Biggest Dream by Alicia Bruxvoort

“I have asked one thing from the LORD — it’s all I seek: to live in the LORD’s house all the days of my life, seeing the LORD’s beauty and constantly adoring his temple.” Psalm 27:4 (CEB)

I was curled up with my Bible by the window when I heard the pitter patter of slippered feet. My young son stumbled down the stairs with his blue blankie in one hand and his tattered stuffed dog in the other. I moved the Bible in my lap to the broad arm of the leather chair where I sat, and my littlest boy snuggled up beside me in the morning hush.

Joshua crawled on my lap, and I buried my nose in the soft nest of his tousled hair. I breathed in the subtle scent of little boy — a fragrant mix of yesterday’s backyard dirt and last night’s sleep. And together, we watched the sun’s pink fingers pierce the dark before dawn. We swapped sleepy chatter about school friends and soccer games, recess plans and superheroes.

Then when my son grew quiet, my eyes roamed back to the Bible still lying open beside me. My early bird rested his head on my shoulder, and I read King David’s ancient overture to the metronome of my son’s rhythmic breathing.

“I have asked one thing from the LORD … it’s all I seek:”

“What does it say?” my boy murmured as he pointed to the holy writ marked with a streak of yellow highlighter.

I put voice to the verse I’d just consumed in silence.

“I have asked one thing from the LORD … it’s all I seek:”

“Who wrote that?” Joshua asked.

“King David,” I replied.

“The one who killed the giant?”

“Yep,” I answered.

“The one who fought all those battles and lived in the palace and was a really really important king?” my little guy questioned, his sluggish posture now taut and alert.

“That’s the one,” I nodded, smirking at my son’s growing enthusiasm.

“Oh,” he said with a reverent sigh. “That David must have really loved God.”

“Why do you say that?” I asked.

“Cause he could’ve asked for anything … And all he asked for was more of God.”

My pensive one squirmed in my lap. Then, in a small, apologetic whisper he admitted, “I think I would’ve asked for something else.”

My stomach lurched at my son’s honesty, and I leaned low to tuck my words in his ear. “Me too,” I conceded. “Me, too.”

The morning sun was peaking above the treetops and the clock above the mantle ticked a steady warning that soon the big yellow bus would be chugging up the hill.

But before I climbed the stairs to wake the rest of my children for school, I cuddled my small son and wondered if I’d been dreaming in the wrong direction.

What if the secret to a large life isn’t found in dreaming big, but in dreaming small?

Inarguably, King David accomplished “big things” in his lifetime. He slew a giant, conquered nations and ruled a dynasty. In fact, the reality of this hero’s life probably far surpassed the dreams he’d entertained as a lowly shepherd boy caring for his father’s sheep.

However, if we read between the lines of his story, we see that the king’s colossal quest wasn’t for big fame or glory, but for a small gap between God’s heart and his.

“I have asked one thing from the LORD — it’s all I seek.”

When all was said and done, David’s burning desire was to enjoy the presence of His Lord. His greatest wish wasn’t for gain, but for loss. And when this mighty king chose to lose himself in the Lord, he found the secret to living the life of his dreams; a life large enough to be remembered for generations to come (Matthew 1:6-18).

“Hold me closer,” Joshua murmured as he twined his bony legs around mine. I pulled my son closer to my heart and diminished the space between us.

Then I closed my eyes and asked my Heavenly Father for one small thing.

Dear God, Shrink the gap between Your heart and mine and grow within me a giant love for You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Matthew 6:33, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (NIV)

Psalm 73:28a, “But as for me, how good it is to be near God!” (NLT)

What is one thing you could do today to shrink the gap between your heart and your Savior?

What “big dream” may be keeping you from dreaming small? Ask Jesus to show you how to make Him your chief desire.

© 2016 by Alicia Bruxvoort. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries
630 Team Rd., Suite 100
Matthews, NC 28105

What Is It About Small Children?

Have you noticed the super powers small children wield?

I was riding the NYC subway one morning, when the doors opened and into the car walked a little child.

She was maybe 2.

Instantly, all of us—these defended New Yorkers, all avoiding eye contact, all guarding our space—were transformed. We smiled at her. At her mother. At each other.

Her gentleness disarmed us. Barriers of race and age and status vanished.

She changed everything.

When people asked Jesus, “Who’s the greatest in your Kingdom?” Jesus showed them a little child and said, “Become like this little child.”

It’s not always all about what we teach children.

It’s about what they teach us.

I’ve learned that from writing for children. Writing for children keeps you honest. You have to dig deeper. Work harder. Understand it better. Your job is to distill—to take the profound and make it simple enough for a child to understand.

When I was writing THE JESUS STORYBOOK BIBLE, I couldn’t rely on jargon. A little child has no concept of what sin is, for instance. I had to find other ways to describe it. I wrote that: sin is not just about breaking the rules, it’s breaking God’s heart; it’s like poison that makes your heart sick and stops it from working properly; it’s like running away from God and hiding in the shadows.

Writing for children demands nothing short of excellence.

The funny thing is—if you write with the excellence that children deserve you reach everyone. C S Lewis said: “No book is really worth reading at the age of ten which is not equally – and often far more – worth reading at the age of fifty and beyond.”

Excellence, it turns out, is the most inclusive thing.

THE JESUS STORYBOOK BIBLE has broken out of the boundaries typical for a children’s bible storybook—read by college students, theologians, pastors, couples; read in schools, prisons, old people’s homes. (It’s so popular with adults that we have published their own edition: THE STORY OF GOD’S LOVE FOR YOU.)

I think it has something to do with that place inside of us all that remains a child still, the place God loves to speak to us—the place where we are undefended, humble, open to wonder. Open him. The place that tiny child spoke to us all, in that NYC subway car that morning.

In THE JESUS STORYBOOK BIBLE I captured the plotline of the Bible. As adults when do we ever hear that plotline? Even if we go to church regularly, we may never hear the whole story in one sitting.

But when you distill the story down so that you can read it in one sitting, immediately it is startling. Because most of us think we know what the Bible is about—and it’s not good. We think it’s a book of rules you follow so God will love you. Or a book of heroes you copy so God will love you.

But it’s none of those things.

It’s most of all a Story.

The Story Of a God who breaks into History and comes down to rescue his children. A God who moves heaven and earth to be near them, to love them—though it would cost him everything.

The Story of a young Hero who comes from a far country to win back his lost treasure. The Story of a brave Prince who leaves his palace, his throne—everything—to rescue the one he loves.

The Bible is simply this: THE STORY OF GOD’S LOVE FOR YOU.

And I don’t know anyone—young or old—who doesn’t need to hear that story.

Sally Lloyd-Jones is a New York Times bestselling author whose books include: Thoughts To Make Your Heart Sing, a children’s devotional which won the ECPA Christian Book of The Year award in adult inspiration, and The Jesus Storybook Bible, now available in a format for adults with a new design and title, The Story of God’s Love for You. Sally also has a new picture book coming this spring, Baby Wren and the Great Gift.

God Thinks You’re Beautiful

God Thinks You’re Beautiful by Sheila Walsh

“Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life.” Psalm 143:8 (NIV)

I looked out of the window as our plane began its descent. The sky was a glorious collage of pink and gold as the sun began to set. I knew a 2‑hour drive awaited me, so it would be dark by the time I got to my hotel.

As I made my way to baggage claim I checked the information sheet I’d been given for the following morning’s event, to remind myself of the names of the couple who were kind enough to pick me up. I’ll call them Jean and Stan. They were waiting by carrousel 4 with big smiles and a sign with my name on it.

“It’s so kind of you to do this,” I said.

“Our pleasure,” Stan replied. “We love to drive and we love to make new friends!”

The baggage carrousel began to move and I watched for my bag. One by one the other passengers picked up their suitcases until all that was left was a lone sneaker going round and round, forlorn and unclaimed.

I took my baggage tag to the agent and asked her if she could see where my bag had gone.

“I’m afraid it’s still in Dallas,” she said. “We don’t have another flight due in tonight but we can get it to you in the morning.”

I had a problem.

The following morning, I was attending a church conference and all I had were the jeans I had travelled in. I knew the other ladies would have brought their prettiest outfits to wear and I didn’t want to look like I’d just climbed off my horse!

I asked Jean if we would pass a mall on the way to the hotel.

She said no, but we’d pass a large well-known chain store if I wanted to give that a try. I said, “Lets go for it, Jean!”

Well, apparently there had been several school proms, two weddings and a big sale at the store the previous week, so there was nothing left in my size. The only dress I could find was two sizes too big (better than too small) and made for a much taller woman, but I bought it anyway.

The following morning I got up, and before I stepped out of bed I reminded my heart, as I do every morning in life, of my favorite verse to begin the day, “Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life” (Psalm 143:8).

I treasure this verse. The psalmist speaks of God’s unfailing love, not ours — for we will fall and we will fail, but God never will.

I showered, put my dress on and surveyed myself in the full-length mirror.

“Well, Lord!” I said out loud. “What do you think?”

What I heard in my spirit was the gentle voice of my Father saying, “Beautiful!”

In that moment every chaotic emotion fell into place as I remembered whose I am and the undeserved privilege of being a child of the King, a partaker in His grace and mercy.

I didn’t hit a fashion home run that day, but I had a deeper sense of the value our Father places on us … on the days we like what we see in the mirror and the days we don’t. It was a gift to have some of the things I normally rely on stripped away to lean on Christ and Him alone.

I don’t know what you see when you look in the mirror.

I don’t know what you depend on to feel okay about yourself.

But I do know this … if every time you catch your reflection you would remind yourself that you are a beloved daughter of the King above all Kings, peace would flood over you like a river … even if your dress is two sizes too big!

Heavenly Father, thank You for thinking I’m beautiful no matter what reflection the mirror tosses back. Help me remember that You don’t see as the world sees, but You see with eyes of love. I want to see myself, and others, with those same eyes. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Romans 5:1-2, “Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory.” (NLT)

Is it hard for you to believe God’s opinion of you is good? If yes, why?

Write one of today’s verses on a slip of paper and meditate on it throughout the day. You will begin to realize God’s immense love for you.

© 2016 by Sheila Walsh. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries thanks Thomas Nelson for their sponsorship of today’s devotion.

Click here to view our policy on 3rd party links.

Proverbs 31 Ministries
630 Team Rd., Suite 100
Matthews, NC 28105

Our Wants, God’s Will

Our Wants, God’s Will by Wendy Pope

“I will add fifteen years to your life, and I will rescue you and this city from the king of Assyria …” 2 Kings 20:6a (NLT)

Several years ago it seemed my mother’s time to meet the Lord face‑to‑face had come.

She had contracted an unidentifiable infection in her lungs following a routine gall bladder surgery. The doctors told us nothing else could be done to save her. As we sat in the Intensive Care Unit waiting room, my family prayed and wept. If only God would heal my mom and allow her to stay here on earth a while longer.

Listening to the machines whoosh and beep, my mind roamed to a familiar prayer request in the Old Testament. Difficulties and hardships are no respecters of time or position, and King Hezekiah was no exception.

The king had reached the prime of his life. Extreme wealth filled his coffers. He had achieved military success. Long-awaited peace rested over his kingdom, Jerusalem. You might say things were smooth sailing for him. Yet, without notice, a terminal illness struck the great king.

Hezekiah responded as any of us would if faced with such news. He prayed and wept. He reminded God of his faithful service and wholehearted devotion and begged for more time. This is how God answered him: “I will add fifteen years to your life, and I will rescue you and this city from the king of Assyria …” (2 Kings 20:6a)

My family took a page out of Hezekiah’s prayer book and reminded the Lord of my mother’s wholehearted devotion to Him. We begged for more time. Like Hezekiah, God sustained my mom’s life here on earth — over 20 years and counting!

I rejoice daily over God’s gift of life to my mother. Yet I’m aware that many of my prayers aren’t answered the way I desire. I have prayed for other faithful servants to recover from illnesses, yet they’ve passed away at an age that seemed too young to me.

I’ll be honest and tell you that I’ve wrestled with God over this. My rationalization goes something like this: “Lord, they could have done more good for Your kingdom. He should have been able to raise his children in a godly manner. She would have served others in Your Name. Now they can’t.”

Can you relate to my ponderings?

After losing a dear friend, I knew I had to work out my questions once and for all. There was only one place to take them — Scripture.

Studying prayer in the Bible, I found the answer I’d been searching for: When praying, I need to focus on God’s will, not solely my wants. Then I can expect Him to hear and know that no matter His answer, He will bring good out of even the hardest situation. This isn’t an easy thing to grasp when the answer is losing a loved one, but I am learning to lean on the Lord’s wisdom when circumstances feel hard.

Neither my heart nor my mind are equipped to handle or understand the big picture. But God sees the beginning from the end and gives what is good. Difficulties and hardships will strike each of us at different times in our lives. Our best response to them is to cry out to God in prayer, according to His will and rest in His trustworthy answer.

Lord, forgive me for the times I have focused more on my wants than Your will. I know in my head that Your will is perfect; please help me believe with my heart. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Psalm 145:9, “The LORD is good to everyone. He showers compassion on all his creation.” (NLT)

1 John 5:14, “And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us.” (ESV)

When circumstances are hard and have you tongue‑tied, you might pray this prayer for comfort and strength. You can follow the example Jesus gave when He taught His disciples how to pray in Matthew 6:9‑13:

“Pray like this:
Our Father in heaven,
may your name be kept holy.

May your Kingdom come soon.

May your will be done on earth,
as it is in heaven.

Give us today the food we need,
and forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us.

And don’t let us yield to temptation,
but rescue us from the evil one.” (NLT)

© 2016 by Wendy Pope. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries
630 Team Rd., Suite 100
Matthews, NC 28105

What’s Next For Widow Connection?

Previously, we shared with you how Widow Connection started and how Family Christian has partnered with them along the way.

Now, let’s take a look at what’s in store for 2016 and beyond.

Along with her daughter, Valerie Neff Hogan, Miriam Neff plans to launch a brand new radio show, called $tarting Over Financially, which will be several 20-minute features that address starting over when life has brought unwanted change.

“It’s primarily geared to widows but also addresses the same needs to people who have gone through divorce or whose spouse is incarcerated,” Valerie explained, adding that a few topics include assessing one’s financial situation, debt and surplus, document gathering to do a budget and building wealth and worth.

Miriam and Valerie

Miriam and Valerie.

In addition to working at Widow Connection, Valerie is also an attorney and offers Christian budgeting counseling and financial planning, so her financial experience paired with Miriam’s counseling experience make for a perfect way to offer sound advice to widows in a loving and caring way.

The idea for $tarting Over Financially came as a result of all the feedback they’ve received from listeners, who have often said they wanted to hear more advice surrounding money.

Widow Connection’s work will also continue overseas, where they’ve provided skill training to widows in Mozambique, Kenya, Malawi, Ghana and Albania.

In these countries, widows’ needs are different—compared with the U.S .—because these widows are truly in poverty. One example is the need for clothing. In the U.S., we have access to stores with inexpensive clothing—but these widows do not .

Widow Connection stepped in to assess these widows’ needs and developed a plan to help. They empower women to support themselves by offering sewing classes, which allows them to provide clothing for their families and earn money by selling the clothing.

These widows now have the means to earn a living for themselves. And many of them can afford to keep and feed their children, instead of having no other option than to put them in an orphanage.

We are very thankful for all the work Miriam does and look forward to continuing partnering with her in her mission to help and support widows in distress.

Join us in giving hope to widows around the world. Donate $10* to Widow Connection by texting FAMILY to 52000.


*Your one-time donation of $10 will be added to your mobile phone bill or deducted from your pre-paid balance. Message & data rates may apply.

Widow Connection: Lori’s Story

It’s difficult for anyone to understand the feeling of becoming a widow without having gone through the unfortunate experience themselves.

“The temperature in your home isn’t the same. The refrigerator isn’t the same. Sometimes your children don’t want to come to your home because it reminds them of the sadness from losing their dad, and you want them there all the time because you’re lonely,” Miriam said, describing what a widow’s life looks like after she becomes widowed.

In addition, upon becoming widows, women lose 75% of their friendship networks. That’s why Widow Connection has been a blessing to so many people, including Miriam.

Through her nonprofit ministry, she’s met and served many widows around the world. One such example is Lori Fox-Ritter, a widow with whom she has become very close.

Lori’s husband, Eric, lost his battle with ALS on April 21, 2010—four years to the day after Miriam’s husband. At the time, her two children were 7 and 13 years old.

It wasn’t an instant connection, though.

Through her friend, Lori found Miriam’s radio program, New Beginnings, about a month after her husband passed away. After listening to an archived version of the broadcast, she felt that Miriam knew her heart and everything that she was going through and wanted to learn more.

A few weeks later, Lori purchased Miriam’s book, From Widow to Another, and was surprised at what she learned on the first page: Miriam’s husband passed away four years prior to the day Eric did. Both of their “vehicles to Heaven” were ALS, and Lori figured God was telling her to read the book—and that night, she finished it.

Lori felt very connected to Miriam after reading the book, so she decided to reach out to her on After corresponding over email, they decided to meet in Chicago that December.

This would mark the beginning of a fresh start for Lori. After meeting Miriam, she was introduced to more widows with whom she could trust and relate to.

Lori Reading

Lori enjoying Miriam’s book, From One Widow to Another.

Following the death of a spouse, life is flipped upside down, but with the encouragement and love of God and others, widows can get back on their feet.

“That period of time afterwards we can decide to just stay under a rock and not get healthy and not figure it out, or we can say, ‘God gave me this body, and it needs to serve me,’” Miriam said. “One of the things we encourage each other to do is to listen to and take care of yourself, and God is going to love you and comfort you.”

Miriam noticed these positive changes Lori was making in her life.

“When I saw the way you were growing and loving your kids, kind of getting your body healthy again, I thought ‘this woman is going to encourage a bunch of other women with her journey. And it happened.”

Miriam invited Lori to be featured on her DVD series, One Widow to Another, and she graciously accepted.

“I was really excited when she asked me to be part of this. I wanted to be used to share the things that had helped me,” Lori said, when explaining the impact Miriam’s book, website and entire ministry had on her life.

And it wasn’t just widows that God put in Lori’s life.

Lori knew she had to be in a good place before entering the dating scene again. She prayed that God would prepare someone’s heart for her. She knew it had to be a Christian man and one with whom she would want to spend the rest of her life. And in 2011, God brought Lori and Todd together, and they’ve been happily married since 2012.

Today, Lori uses her accounting skills to help her church and her brother with their finances and is more than willing to help new widows the same way Miriam helped her back in 2011.

As for Widow Connection, they have plans to grow and continue helping widows all over the world. Continue reading to see more about their future.

Join us in giving hope to widows around the world. Donate $10* to Widow Connection by texting FAMILY to 52000.


*Your one-time donation of $10 will be added to your mobile phone bill or deducted from your pre-paid balance. Message & data rates may apply.

Widow Connection Teams Up With Family Christian

“Family Christian has been a partner that has literally helped put us on the map,” Miriam said. “They’ve been so important in what Widow Connection is doing today.”

Miriam Talking Into A Microphone

New Beginnings is a 60-second radio spot where Miriam offers wisdom, humor, and insights for widows.

In our previous post, we introduced Widow Connection, a nonprofit ministry that equips, informs and educates widows in the U.S. and around the world—and all with a biblical basis. They also encourage people in widows’ lives to know how to care for them.

The ministry was launched in 2007 by Miriam Neff, who only a year prior became a widow herself. After launching and authoring her book, From One Widow to Another, she began to think of ways she could reach even more widows.

In 2009, Miriam’s next goal for Widow Connection was a feature on the radio. Through her research, she learned that stations would carry a one-minute program at no charge. But she still needed funds to record it—and that’s when she reached out to us.

Soon after Miriam laid out her plan to us, we were on board and New Beginnings was born. The one-minute feature focuses on starting over, whether from a loss of any kind, divorce or financial turmoil—and is an encouraging word to those who listen.

Once New Beginnings took off, more stations took notice and picked up the show, drawing more people to The website is not only an excellent resource for widows to read other widows’ stories, they but can also email Miriam, who takes time to individually respond to every one of them.

From a simple 60-second radio spot, many widows were reached and many of their lives were changed.

Today, New Beginnings is broadcasted on more than 1,000 stations in the U.S.

Continue reading to discover one widow who was dramatically impacted by Widow Connection, and more specifically, Miriam.

Join us in giving hope to widows around the world. Donate $10* to Widow Connection by texting FAMILY to 52000.


*Your one-time donation of $10 will be added to your mobile phone bill or deducted from your pre-paid balance. Message & data rates may apply.

Widow Connection: A History

Six years ago, Miriam Neff walked into a Family Christian store with her daughter, Valerie, and three adopted grandsons, who were in foster care at the time. Our store was hosting an orphan care event, and while the boys enjoyed a craft and snack, Miriam struck up a conversation with a store manager, expressing how impressed she was with the event for orphans and adopted children.

Miriam with Picture of Grandsons

Miriam proudly showing us her grandsons.

She was thrilled to learn about our commitment to supporting orphans and widows in need through James 1:27, which says, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” (NIV)

“That’s awesome! Most people don’t get it. They may do the orphan piece, but they don’t understand that it also says widows,” Miriam said, reflecting on that day.

In 2006, Miriam became a widow after her husband, Bob, lost his battle with ALS, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Immediately she felt ripped apart—feeling as if she was no longer whole—since when people marry, they become one, and Bob was taken away from her.

Unfortunately, before his passing, Miriam had scheduled her retirement for that same year. So halfway through 2006, she was without her husband and a job.

It left a large void in her life—one that she was unsure how to fill.

At first, she tried to find resources that would provide her with guidance financially, emotionally AND spiritually, but what she found was very limited.

Then she sought to find fulfillment by spending time with Bob’s friends and trying to connect with memories she struggled to hold onto.

One of these trips led her to Burkina Faso, Africa, where she was asked to teach a group of widows about the Bible. The widows enjoyed it so much they asked her to come back at the same time the next day.

That night, which also happened to be the seven-month anniversary of Bob’s death, Miriam was sitting in her hotel room when she realized God was calling her to serve widows.

“I’d never had a calling before,” Miriam said, adding that God asked, “‘Miriam, if you’re not finding these resources, what are you going to do about it?’”

That was the birth of Widow Connection.

Miriam began by launching the website,, which has grown substantially into a place where widows can seek comfort by reading shared stories from other widows and find resources for their own current situation.

Next , Miriam wrote her book, From One Widow to Another, and then began thinking about how she could further spread the word about her ministry and serve more widows—that’s when she asked us about our widow outreach, and our partnership would begin.

Continue reading about how Family Christian and Widow Connection work together today.

Join us in giving hope to widows around the world. Donate $10* to Widow Connection by texting FAMILY to 52000.


*Your one-time donation of $10 will be added to your mobile phone bill or deducted from your pre-paid balance. Message & data rates may apply.