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When Breathing is Hard

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We love to share Hannah Fordice’s writings with you... she writes so beautifully, sharing her heart with her readers... I'd never seen someone die, so I guess I didn't know what to expect.In movies the family is told there isn't much time, they gather around the hospital bed and whisper their goodbyes. The passing itself a flutter of eyelids, a chest that stops moving and the soul is gone.Perhaps that is what death looks like in some cases, I can't really say. But it's not what it looked like for her.She went into an unresponsive state on a Monday morning in October. The leaves outside were turning flares of red and orange, like the trees had caught fire."There isn't much time"So we gathered around her bed and whispered our love, our goodbyes. They said we should tell her that it...
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Habakkuk: An Attitude Shift

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I have always loved the book of Habakkuk. Ever since I was introduced to it by Hannah Hurnard when I read her allegory, Hinds Feet on High Places, long years back. Habakkuk was a prophet to Judah, the last remaining vestige in the land of Israel. And he was struggling. He had watched as his people turned to corruption and idolatry. And he couldn't take it any longer. He had a meltdown. So, he cried out "How long must I call to you for help and yet you do not listen, God? Why do you make me look at injustice? Why do you tolerate wrongdoing? Destruction and violence are before me; there is strife, and conflict abounds. Therefore, the law is paralyzed, and justice never prevails." He doesn't just shout his consternation to the heavens. He does something most us of don't do. We're not pat...
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Josiah: A Boy King

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​We are not our family history. We are not our genetics. We are not our age.We always have a choice.King Josiah wrapped this truth around his life like the royal robes that adorned his body.God's Holy Word shows us that Josiah became king at the tender age of eight. This happened after his father, Amon, was murdered by the officials who worked for him. (2 Chronicles 33:24) What emotions and thoughts were swirling through young Josiah as they placed the crown of authority and responsibility on his small head? Was the weight of what it represented heavier to his soul than the weight of the crown to his head? Was his mind and heart still reeling with trauma from having his father murdered?Although having his father alive was maybe just as...
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Jonah: On Running

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If you grew up going to church, chances are that you are familiar with the story of Jonah being eaten by a big fish after trying to run away from God. As a kid, the story seemed straight forward: don't run away from God and everything will be fine. Now, studying it and digging deeper into the story I'm seeing how much more complicated it is and how many different elements are at play.Side note: am I the only one who wishes that life could be as simple and straight forward as it seemed as a kid? Everything is so much more complex as an adult. Most things are not black and white like they seemed as a child, there are more than two dimensions to every action and decision someone makes.In Chapter 1, Jonah is called by God to go to the city of Nineveh to preach against the wickedness of the peo...
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David: A Man after God's Heart

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As I have been pondering the life of David over the last few days I have been profoundly struck by the meaning of his name. It's actually where I always like to begin, finding out the meaning and etymology of a name that in turn becomes more of a verb that we get to learn and see from. It occurs to me that once we have these puzzle pieces in play, we can enter the sacred story being told which makes it bigger than the man or woman who walked the planet at a certain time, and offers us layers in which to find wonder, points of wrestle, and usually an opportunity to smile at God's fun play with words.David, in its most common form, in the English language, means "Beloved" but after some further investigations into the Hebrew roots, it is also interesting to discover that the verb, dawa, from...
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A Blessed Labor Day!

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​Praying that as you relax this Labor Day, you will remember that others are struggling across the globe... especially when the hurricane blasts the Bahama's, the East Coast of FL, GA and SC, NC. There will be horrific flooding, damaging winds and destruction. Keep them in your prayers and consider donating to the Red Cross or Samaritan's Purse!
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Swept by the Spirit

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Christ's love has moved me…—2nd Corinthians 5:14 Swept by the SpiritIt had been an exceptionally still afternoon. The quiet hush that hung in the air lured me out onto my porch.I stood motionless; fearing that I might break the spell that held the earth speechless. Then it happened. The slightest of breezes wisped around me and up into the treetops, delicately fluttering the leaves before disappearing as quickly as it had come. Once more everything became deathly still. Many moments passed in silence before I noticed the leaves move again ever so slightly; as if by a mere breathe. It was a marvel to watch how responsive the leaves were to even the gentlest of winds whispering under and around them.They never moved of their own accord, they only rustled when the wind compelled them.In our b...
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Tea Time

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​Mary…sat at the Lord's feet listening to what He said.Luke 10:39In the Victorian days of Britain, when my favorite author, Jane Austen, lived, friends routinely gathered to share their lives over an unhurried cup of tea. According to Julie Loree Peterson's book, Treasuring the Gift of Teatime, Anna, the Duchess of Bedford, is credited with instituting the "ritual" of afternoon tea. She frequently experienced a "sinking feeling" in the late afternoon, so to "buoy" her hunger and state of mind, she began taking tea and cakes every day at five o'clock, inviting friends to join her.Back in the 1950's and 60's my mom's generation also gathered with friends at least a couple of times a week, calling their little daytime soirees "coffee clutches". Life was slower than; folks' schedules weren't s...
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There’s No Place Like Home

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They were longing for a better country… a heavenly one.—Hebrews 11:16Think for a moment about the word paradise, what comes to your mind? Do thoughts of a tropical retreat with white sandy beaches and swaying palm trees hit the mark? Or does a cabin up in snow-capped mountains with stunning views better fit your notion of the word? My idea of paradise would be a cottage with flower-filled gardens set in the Lake District of England.The mere thought of getting away to places such as these stirs our hearts with longing. There is something almost magical in the plotting and planning of a trip, whether it is to Boston or Barbados, Portland or Paris. Once we've settled on where we are going, the anticipation begins to build as the longed-for day of departure approaches, which to me is half the ...
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A Forest Fable

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 Two are better than one. If one falls, his friend can help him up. But pity the one who falls and has no one to help him up! A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.Ecclesiastes 4:9, 10 and 12There once were three young trees that grew up together in the forest. Two of the trees grew straight and tall. The other developed a crook in his back. But, all three of them had one goal. To stretch their branches heavenward as best they could until their leafy top touched the sky.As trees do, they loved when gentle breezes blew. Feeling the wind whisper through their leaves sent shivers up their trunks. Birdsong frequently set the woods alive with praises and, if they were lucky, one might even perch in their limbs and sing a secret song just for them. Squirrels gave chase, leaping and ...
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Caterpillars

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 …and He answered by setting me free. —Psalm 118:5bMy youngest son was a stop-and-smell-the-roses kind of kid. He always had a pocket full of rocks to show me at the end of the day, along with an explanation of why each one was such a treasure to him. On more than one occasion, he brought home a special little "friend," from a tiny toad to a fuzzy, black and orange caterpillar he discovered who knows where?Caterpillars were his favorite though. So, on one occasion we let Kyle keep his furry friend, making a little habitat for him so we could watch his activities up close and personal.Over time, the big glass jar we had filled with branches, morphed into the home of a brownish cocoon. Month after month we watched and waited. We even went to the library to check out books on caterpillar...
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Come Alive

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"Don't ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive" (Brené Brown). I love this. Brene Brown has been one of my favorite authors for a long time and her words continue to inspire and challenge me. What if we had a whole world full of people who felt alive and full of life? That would be a stark contrast to the stress and fatigue that is so often felt in the world today. How do we work toward a world that is alive? God created each of us as individuals. We each have a unique set of gifts, experiences, and interests. It is our privilege to be able to discover those gifts. To explore the heart that God gave us and how our experiences have played a role in shaping the personality that we were born with. It is t...
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Unfailing Love

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Isn't that what each of us is ultimately seeking? To be loved unconditionally and unfailingly? Our heart's cry at gut-level?To have our inner heart's yearnings and dreams understood. To have our ugliness exposed and received in love's care, with no worries of being shunned or discarded. We have sought this love in other people. And it fell short. Well below the mark of what books and movies promulgated, the fabrications spun.I want to know this unfailing love that the prophets and kings so often regale in the Bible. God's unfailing love. Our Creator. Our Father. David especially grasps this (NLT):I will be glad and rejoice in your unfailing love, for you have seen my troubles, and you care about the anguish of my soul. Psalm 31:7Let your unfailing love surround us, Lord, for...
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You love me this way

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It felt important to pick up the dead butterfly. I was out on my regular walk and much of my time on the path I am listening to a podcast or audio book, on this day I was listening to Falling Upward, a book by Father Richard Rohr. The other part of its title and the heart of the subject is "A Spirituality for the two halves of Life". Those words, this book, has come at such the season. A release, stopping, review and turning. A real life example to the phrase I was privy to a number of years ago, "It's a wise person who knows what time it is". I guess that's why it felt important to pick up the dead butterfly.My experience has been this. Fashioned upon the path that we all walk are the environments, stories, communities and sometimes painfully metaphorical and physical pictures that h...
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Dear Jesus, Do Something

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​"Dear Jesus, do something." ― Vladimir NabokovOne of my hubby's favorite movies is Bruce Almighty. Bruce is a down-on-his-luck TV reporter who complains to God that he is not doing his job correctly. But, then God offers him the chance to try being God himself for one week. His first response was to answer all the prayers of the people with a simple yes. However, he soon learned it was not that simple after all. He thought if he answered yes to everyone's prayers it would all go smoothly. But instead it made a huge mess of things…fast. Sometimes we believe God isn't doing his job correctly either. Especially when he doesn't answer our cries for help in the way that we think he should. Or when it drags on for weeks, months or even years.Have you ever felt as if your prayers were bouncing o...
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Tomorrow

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This blog was originally written on Sally's personal blog, Feathers and Whirlwinds which can be found on her website www.sallycranham.com. She wrote this blog as the end of Fall was upon us last year. Although the seasons are not the same the sentiment and message of the moment remains. The imagery, poem and call to personal creative action is still speaking to this moment and holds an aspect of the season of the soul that feels a little out of the ordinary. Here are the words she wrote back then, for now. ​TomorrowFor a number of days I have been saying in my head, "tomorrow, tomorrow, I will write again tomorrow." There have been no "the sun will come out tomorrow" moments or even that great line from that fantastic movie Bugsy Malone "Come back tomorrow" moments. It's just bee...
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Two Four-Letter Words

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​Don't give up before the miracle happens.  ― Fannie FlaggThere are two four-letter words that tripped up folks in Jesus' day and they continue to trip up a good many of us today. Oh, I'm not talking about swear words, I'm talking about two little words that can literally change the course of one's life. The first word is can't and just saying this word suggests to us limitations, defeat and resignation. The second word is ​won't​, and it can render us unapproachable and unbendable.When Jesus stepped into the lame man's world, he found not only a broken body lying there by the pool, he found a broken soul. Although the man lies by that pool in Bethesda looking for a miracle, he believed in his heart that it would never happen to him.Because he felt that no one cared about him, he assu...
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Balance

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Today when the sky stopped its flow of tears, several people in a white boat decided to take advantage of the lake's unexpected quiet demeanor. The water was smooth as bamboo linen and most people, like me, were still huddled behind their walls.I was drawn to look out my windows and then walk out onto my deck by sounds of cheers and clapping. I watched as the lean white boat carved gently to just the right distance away as the man in the water adjusted his rope, body and board. I quickly realized it was a newbie trying to figure out the whole wakeboard thing.At first he broke at the waist, leaning his torso too far forward, and the boat pulled him right up and over; head first into the water he plunged. Then again. And again. The people in the boat would cheer as the boat pulled him u...
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Wonder Woman?

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We all have a Wonder Woman inside us. —Diane Von FurstenburgI used to be a Wonder Woman. I used to juggle leadership roles, writing, working, being a mom and wife well. Somewhere along the way, I seemed to have lost her. And I've been struggling to find her ever since. I don't know if it's hitting the 60's that's doing it. Or if it's the medication I'm on. But I can hardly juggle a single ball well.I know women who have gone back to school at my age. Maybe I just need to stimulate my mind a bit more.I know that winter has a chilling effect on me. I kind of do what the bears do… hibernate. Now that it is spring perhaps, I can find that rhythm again. I've come to the prayer cabin to rediscover that person that's down deep inside of me. A time to be alone with God and hear his heart for me.I'...
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A Most Courageous Prayer

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It was a simple but maybe the most courageous prayer and it went something like this, "Yes". Quite frankly it's all I had left in me. After a week of doubting all the things and wrestling with God over the directions my heart was being pulled, I had to believe that a miraculous moment was close, because things felt impossible. I knew that deep in my belly God was leading me to a moment in time that went beyond my own pain, emotions and plans. I knew that somehow there would be an answer and it would come soon.I was faced with a decision to make and was wrestling with moving States or going back to the UK after spending a year and a half in Minnesota working for a non-profit. The winter had been long but it offered me this experience of solitude, stopping and healing, a hidden gift to the t...
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Come, All Who Are Weary

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The month of May is such an important month. It is mental health awareness month which has led me to think about differing views/ways of addressing mental health in the church. It has also led me to reflect about my own mental health journey.I think some churches/people do a great job at making mental health and struggling part of the discussion, helping everyone know that they are not alone in struggling. Every single person has mental health, whether there is a diagnosable "mental illness" or not, and I believe that to some extent everyone struggles to cope with the pressures of life. Unfortunately, there are also churches/people who contribute to the stigma, shame, and isolation that can accompany mental illness or even struggling in general. Being open with struggle and open to hearing...
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Wrestling with Evil and Redemption

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Sometimes my hand with the pointing finger is stronger than my hand that holds a mirror. I extend grace and excuses to myself while my pointing finger pronounces judgement on others. How could they? Who would do that? What are they thinking? As the Bible describes it, pointing to the speck in another's eyes while ignoring the plank in my own. (Matthew 7:3-5; Luke 6:41-42)Other days, the mirror reflects with too great a clarity my human state and yells loudly. How come you did that? What were you thinking? Why did you say that? And the accuser lying around my neck like a noose tightens and turns up the volume in my ear, calling me unflattering, unseemly names. (Revelation 12:10) Where do I find the stable walkway across this swamp? Of accurately recognizing and naming the evil I see in...
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Guilty

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Whenever the Lord raised up a judge...he was with the judge. The Spirit of the Lord came on them. — Judges 2:18 and 3:10I was downtown St. Paul the other day and drove past the courthouse.Although it's been over a couple of decades since I was selected to sit on a jury for the murder trial of a sixteen-year-old, just driving by the place brought memories flooding back as if it were yesterday. I had been selected by the defense because I had a sixteen-year-old son at the time. It was one of the most surreal experiences I've ever had. We handled the gun that was used in the shooting. We saw horrific pictures and videos of the victim sprawled out on the ground. Heard stories from both sides. It was nauseating. I felt torn in two. And I couldn't share anything with anyone. Yet, during the proc...
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An Easy Resurrection

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Part of my journey with community and how my inner spiritual walk participates in this season of Spring is to pay attention to both the Biblical feast of Passover and the Good Friday to Resurrection experience of Jesus, whose name literally means Salvation. This year Good Friday and the First night of Passover were on the same night. It was a full few days of spiritual practice, ritual, remembrance and community. The life force of our own stories entwined with God's story and glimpses of freedom and Salvation became tangible and marking moments for another year.So much of me was ready for the walk from slavery, the opening empty tomb and Jesus being the hero of faith, death defeated, slaves set free. It had been a long dark winter and this was the moment we had been waiting for, the saving...
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Woman, why are you weeping?

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Many of you are familiar with our guest writer, Hannah Fordice, if you've been reading us for the past year or two. She has had a difficult journey through grief and loss. Yet, this precious devotional is so full of hope. The last time I went home was in early spring. It had become increasingly obvious that it wasn't feasible for us to keep the property any longer. After all, there was nothing on it anymore.My husband and I drove down the familiar dirt road in silence until we came to the mailbox I had passed a million times throughout my life. But that's where the familiarity ended. When we turned in the driveway, I was met with… nothing. That place where the log house my dad built stood nestled in pines like a postcard was now empty. It looked like a hockey player's mouth where the ...
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We Heart Matters Publishing gals care about women. Their joys. Their struggles. Their everyday, ordinary lives. We write from those very same places hoping to uplift, challenge and encourage your soul and deepen your faith.

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The Heart Matters Gals

  • Julie

    Julie

    I’m turning 62 this year. I can hardly believe it myself. But, I’ve decided that I no longer want to live comfortably. I want to live with a spirit of adventure like I had in the past. To be unafraid of what’s new or different. I want to remain so open to the Spirit of the living God that his love compels me to go wherever he leads me.
  • LuAnn

    LuAnn

    I am passionate about people leaning into all that Jesus is. You. Me. Us. Journeying together with God. This is my greatest blessing. And now that my kiddos are out on their own, I’m learning to navigate my new normal. And I am finding there is life after little ones and teens after all!
  • Emilie

    Emilie

    I am currently finishing my degree in relational communications and plan to graduate in the spring of 2020!! I am thankful I have had time to grow, heal, appreciate a slower pace of living, and to invest more time into relationships with family, friends, and God. Through this process I am learning what I want to prioritize in my life and figuring out ways to make that happen. Most of all, I am figuring out that life is all about process, taking steps closer to where I want to be and celebrating the little victories but also accepting that there will be setbacks and disappointments along the way.
  • Sally

    Sally

    Sally Cranham is a singer and writer from the UK. She uses biblical narrative and her own experience to write deeply into the heart of the human condition. She currently works as a volunteer for SourceMN as their Arts Outreach Coordinator and has lived as a Residential Volunteer at Source’s anti-trafficking transitional annex alongside women who have come out of the life of prostitution.
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