Friday, April 29, 2016

Words of Faith: How the Love of God breaks through darkness

A Song in the Darkness
A Words of Faith story written by Dineen Miller

Pain ripped through my shoulder in the darkness of night. And the pain medication my doctor had prescribed barely touched it. Weeks had past since my bone spur removal, I'd stopped progressing, and the pain had grown worse. I even dreaded saying the word…pain… but it had become my way of life. My world had shrunk from fullness to survival.

And fear joined the party and brought questions like, why wasn't I getting my range of movement back? Had something gone wrong? Would I be in this kind of pain for the rest of my life? How would I survive?

I sat on the edge of the bed, the room still dark and hours stretched before me until daybreak. I tried to keep my sobs from waking my husband. Weariness had given into fear and desperation, and the enemy used it to full advantage. Worst-case scenarios played through my mind.

Then the bigger questions came. Where was God? Why had this happened? I'd never imagine myself in such a place, suffering such intense pain with no progress. I'd noticed the concerned looks of my family and physical therapists. Even my doctor seemed surprised by what had happened, saying he’s never seen anything like it before. The words I'd feared, "frozen shoulder" had now become part of this challenging equation.

In the darkness of night, the diagnosis only brought more pain and fear. Lord, where are You? Please take this pain away. I didn't know how much more I could take.

Then I heard it. The words broke through the pain as clear as if they played from an external source, yet I knew I was the only one who could hear it. The song I'd sung everyday to my daughter on our hour-long drive home from her daily radiation treatments several years ago.

You are my sunshine, my only sunshine...

As she laid in the passenger seat, exhausted and weary—two brain surgeries, pain, steroids, radiation—I'd sung the words to her from a mother's heart desperate for her daughter to be whole and happy again. I don't know where the song had come from. Only that I sang it to lift her spirits, to encourage her, to let her know I was there and that I loved her.

That I’d never leaver her…

I'd trusted God then for her future without doubts or fears. Why couldn't I do that now for myself?

You are my sunshine, my only sunshine...

The words pushed my focus upward, away from the pain. Now the words were for me. From my Abba, Papa God, telling He was with me in the pain. I wasn't alone. I wanted so much to be free of the pain, but I wanted...needed to know He was with me even more. The song continued to wash over me and God’s presence reminded me of a verse I had recently memorized.

“The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the Lord holds them by the hand.” ~Psalm 37:23-24 (NLT)

He delights in every detail...every detail... Even pain? I investigated that word "delight" more and found a plethora of meanings including "to move" and "to bend down."

My God saw my pain, heard my pleas and moved to bend down in song to comfort my heart and body. He sang over me in the darkness of night and my life to show His presence and His love. It wasn't what I'd expected but very much what I needed, the reassurance that nothing would keep Him from me.

“No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”~Romans 8:39 (NLT)

Relief from the pain didn't come but relief came to my soul and spirit. I wasn't alone. I didn't need to be afraid. The enemy's lies lost their foothold. Even in this place I never imagined I could be, God was already there, holding His child by the hand.

He would lead me to my healing and He did. He never let go of me and He never will. For He is with us always, singing His love whether we hear it or not.

“The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.” ~Zephaniah 3:17 (NLT)

Author bio: 

Dineen Miller's favorite stories are the ones about our Great God and BIG faith, which fuel her desire to ignite the souls of others through words of truth and God's transforming love.

She is a mutli-published, award-winning author who has been featured on the Moody Radio Network, Focus on the Family Radio, Dr. James Dobson’s FamilyTalk, FamilyLife Today and INSIGHT on Miracle Channel.

For the last ten years, she's had the privilege of writing and ministering to the spiritually mismatched at, an amazing online community full of the light and love of Jesus. She is blessed every day to love her husband of 28 years, her two grown daughters and son-in-love, and two very energetic furry rescues.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Music Monday: Interview with Gospel singing sensation VIRTUE

Gospel group VIRTUE is composed of Karima Kibble, Heather Martin, and Ebony Holland. They are biological sisters who have taken the gospel music industry by storm with their beautiful voices, kind hearts and humble spirits. 

Today, they are visiting this blog to share news of their latest CD released this February. The CD is called Fearless and they want to give away one copy of it to the wianner of the CD giveaway contest hosted by Rafflecopter (see widget)! If you'd like to win a copy of their new CD, fill out the entry form on the Rafflecopter widget toward the end of the interview. 

Enjoy getting to know the ladies of VIRTUE as you read their interview today! 

*Words by Alexis are in bold and words by Virtue are not in bold.

Alexis: Fearless, your new album, is FIERCE! What was the inspiration behind the title song, “Fearless”?

Heather: Thank you! The song was written by an incredibly talented young man who goes by the name of Alvin Garrett. When we heard it, we immediately identified with it because we are three women who at this point in our lives are juggling our music career, side jobs, raising children, being wives, going to school, and a multitude of things at one time and to do it all, we’ve had to totally depend on God and be fearless!

What’s your favorite song on the album? Why?

Ebony: I’ll just say, for the record, I truly love every song. But today, “Worship You” is my favorite because I truly worship every time I hear this song! I go in, especially in my car on the way to work.

Give us a glimpse behind the scenes of making Fearless. How often were you in the studio producing this album? What were the challenges and pitfalls? What was the most rewarding aspect of making this album?

Karima: Going into signing a new deal, we and our label Mixed Bags Records, knew that this would be challenging because we all lead full time lives as mothers, and other numerous other roles. And we all live in 3 different states! So we decided to just take one summer to record. Ebony and I packed up our kids and moved in with Heather and her family in Birmingham, Alabama, to get the record done. It was a hardcore plan!

Heather has four kids, so we thought it would be easier for her that way. Personally, the studio is my favorite part because you get to be creative and you can fix your mistakes! At the end of the day, we made some sacrifices to do this project, but we are a close-knit family, so we really enjoy being around each other. It had been a long time, almost 10 years since we made a record together, so it was at times tough getting back in there. But overall, it was a very good experience for all of us. The most rewarding aspect is the finished product, the music and the emotions that came out of this process. We’re pretty proud of it!

In what ways do you hope your new album will impact listeners?

Heather: We hope that our listeners find Jesus through the messages of hope and inspiration that are found in our music. We pray that someone who is struggling with life will find these songs helpful in deciding to do the right thing. We hope that they are encouraged to be faithful and fearless.

What drew you to the music industry? Share your story about how you went from dreaming of performing to making that dream a reality?

Karima: I’ve always known that I wanted to be a singer. I didn’t want to go to college because I wanted to sing, but my Mom wasn’t having it! She sent me down to Oakwood College, where Ebony had already been attending for a year. Thank God I went! Shortly after I got there, someone asked me to put together a group to sing at AYS, a campus Friday night program. So I rounded up two other girls, and the chemistry and blend was great. From that point on, we sang on campus together all the time. In one of our regular rehearsals, we didn’t know that a person from a major record label was sitting in and falling in love with us! LOL! She offered us a deal, we were very young, but we signed. After a couple member changes, we’ve evolved to an all-sister group with Heather joining us a little later. And here we are today.

Who is your favorite musician? What makes them special to you?

Karima: I can’t say that I have a favorite, there’s just too many! One of them is Brandy, love her tone and her range is incredible! I would say she has that “thang.”

Heather: This is a tough question for me too. I will just name one of my favorites, I really love PJ Morton. He is a writer, singer, producer, musician all in one, and a native of New Orleans. Just a real talent! I can relate to his music and his voice is simple, but moving.

Ebony: Whitney Houston is my all time favorite! She was just a beautiful person to me, with a gorgeous voice that still gives me chills.

Do you only sing gospel music? Why or why not?

Ebony: Yes we only sing gospel music because we believe that it is our purpose. We grew up singing in the church, so gospel music is just in us. We would not be true to ourselves, or authentic if we sang anything else. You have to sing what you are passionate about, and for us, it is sharing God’s love to people through song.

How did attending and graduating from Oakwood University prepare you for the real world? Did it help your music career dreams come true? Explain.

Heather: You know Oakwood has a reputation for being a training ground for amazing singers and musicians. It was a perfect place for us to begin our journey into the music industry because they can be a tough crowd! 

Sometimes singing at AY on Friday nights could feel sorta like the Apollo because if you couldn’t sing, you didn’t want to be in front! So this kind of standard made you rehearse harder and longer to make sure you sounded good and could deliver a powerful performance. Also, I think our spiritual experience there was amazing. Hearing and being taught by some of the greatest speakers and preachers was a real help in fostering our relationships with God.

What’s it like being an Adventist artist in the music industry spotlight? How do you share your unique faith?

Heather: We feel blessed that God finds us worthy enough to represent Him. But, I think it’s no different than being in any other career. You stand up for what you believe in and people respect you for it. Sometimes there are situations that you may not agree with or that you can’t do because it’s on Sabbath, so you explain your faith, then you don’t do it. Every time someone feed us, it’s an opportunity to share our faith because our diet is unique. We just stay open to the leading of the Holy Spirit and He always gives us an opportunity to let our lights shine.

What’s next for Virtue? Where do you see yourself in the next 5 to 10 years? 

We are currently working on a cookbook because we love to cook and it tastes great! Also, we feel that God is calling us to share our health message with the world in a doable tasty form. Our fans can also look forward to a devotional book that we’ve been working on for years now!!

Connect with Virtue:
Website -
Twitter -
Facebook -
Instagram -

WIN a copy of Fearless:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, April 22, 2016

Words of Faith: Laurie's story about God's unconditional love

All We Need
A Words of Faith story written by Laurie Tomlinson 

“Each time he said, ‘My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.’ So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.” 

For most of my upbringing, my people-pleasing, perfectionist nature permeated every aspect of life—including my faith. The strategy was to do all I could to please the Lord, and the only messages I believed said I could never do enough to be in right standing with God.

Just like I obsessed over studying to make good grades, I obsessed over doing all the things to be a good Christian. Reading my Bible, praying, going to church every time the doors were open, and practically running to answer every altar call so I could ask for forgiveness.

Now I know that God doesn’t work like that.

That false picture of God I had painted told a story of distance instead of intimacy. Of a love that was granted with disclaimers instead of no questions asked. And when I fell asleep praying, zoned out during a sermon, and couldn’t make sense of my Bible reading, I wondered: If I couldn’t be perfect, why try at all? I went through the motions—still concerned with appeasing the people in my life who would notice—but I didn’t value a connection with God.

In this Instagram-filtered culture that glorifies busy, I think it’s easy to miss the point. It’s easy to think that faith is a series of pics-or-it-didn’t-happen hoops to jump through. That God is a wish-granting genie in the sky who holds us to an unattainable standard of perfection.

But just like the adolescent version of me, we’re all giving ourselves too much credit.

I’m grateful for a high school teacher who helped me realize that righteousness, holiness—the ability to go to heaven, for that matter—don’t have anything to do with anything we do. The blood of Christ, the ultimate sacrifice made because of His great love, is the only thing that makes it possible.

Kind of takes the pressure off, doesn’t it?

Once I understood the depth of that love, it was a game-changer. It was inspiring. It was transforming. It turned faith from a series of rules to a relationship that never changed no matter how much I failed. And the amazing thing is, our human understanding can’t even begin to scratch the surface of that love.

Now my goal is not perfection but to live in a way that focuses less on what I do and more on the bridge between Christ and me, the perfect power that redeemed me. We don’t have to wait until everything’s lined up or certain parameters have been met to commune with God, because when do we ever have it all together? He sees our hearts and only cares that we show up. Even when life is crazy and all we have to pray is a single word, He meets us where we are.

As the verse mentions above, His grace is all we need.

Author bio: 
Laurie Tomlinson is a wife and mom from Tulsa, Oklahoma, who is passionate about intentional living, all things color-coded, and stories of grace in the beautiful mess. Previously a full-time book publicist, she owns a freelance copywriting, editing, and PR consulting business called 1624 Communications

She's a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, a two-time Genesis Award winner, and the runner-up in the 2015 Lone Star Contest's Inspirational category. Her work is represented by Rachel Kent of Books & Such Literary.
Connect with Laurie:
Facebook - AuthorLaurieTomlinson
Twitter - @LaurieTomlinson
Website -

Friday, April 15, 2016

Words of Faith: Angela's story of restoration and a gift from God

Faith, Hope, and Romance
A Words of Faith story written by Angela Ruth Strong

I write Christian romance, and I’ve been ridiculed for it. “Christians shouldn’t read romance. Christians should read about things that matter—like politics.” I felt a little sorry for the guy’s wife, but I also considered the validity of his claim.

See, I’d sold my first novel only a few months before my ex-husband left me. I had to finish writing the love story as my own marriage fell apart. Romance seemed like a fairytale, a myth, a lie. I couldn’t write about it anymore. When my agent called to say she was changing agencies and would be specifically focusing on romance, I decided to part ways.

I decided to write a really fun middle-grade series. I published an edgy book about the daughter of a pastor who couldn’t forgive her dad for running off with the church secretary until she fell in love with her own pastor. I submitted a non-fiction proposal titled The Other Woman Never Wins.

But then I met Jim.

Jim told me I was a gift from God. I didn’t have the faith to say it in return at first.

See, I’d been at a writer’s conference the week my ex started his affair. I didn’t know about the affair at the time, but at the writer’s conference I’d been reading Psalms where David says, “God, you are my all.” So I wrote in my prayer journal, “God you are my all.” Then I thought, “Is that really true?” And I remembered where David said, “Test me.” So I cried and wrote, “Test me.” Later than night, I tried to renegotiate with God. “Hey, God. When I said test me, that doesn’t include my family. Please leave my family alone.” But I came home to a husband who wanted a divorce.

I don’t believe God was saying, “You want a test, I’ll give you a test.” He was preparing me by saying, “You know I’m your all, Angela. You know you can put your faith in me.”

But still. That was in my head when my divorce got as messy as divorce can get. There was a lot I didn’t handle well. I certainly didn’t feel like I’d passed any test.

So when Jim said, “You are a gift from God.” I was subconsciously believing, “I HOPE you’re a gift from God. But I don’t feel like I deserve you, and God might take you away from me, too, so I can’t get too attached.”

Until one day I was jogging and praying and suddenly remembered the verse, “Every good and perfect gift is from above" (James 1:17). And I thought about what a good man Jim was. And I thought about how gifts don’t have to be earned. They are just given.

I raced home to look up every verse I could that included the word “good.”

First verse: Taste and see that the Lord is good. ~Psalm 34:8 (NIV)

Last verse: Now you have tasted and seen that the Lord is good. ~1 Peter 2:3 (NIV)

I called Jim sobbing. “You’re a gift from God. You’re a gift from God.”

We got married. 

Angela and her husband Jim on their wedding day.
Most romantic proposal and wedding ever, but that’s another story. I’m not going to say we are living happily-ever-after because life is life, and we’ve got blended family issues and health issues and money issues and my dented minivan is at Les Schwab with a flat tire right now. But through it all, I AM happy. Because I have faith in a God who loved me enough to give me a second chance.

When I tell this story, people tear up. Because this is what we all want. It’s why Jesus came to earth. Why he died. It’s the whole faith message.

We love because He first loved us.

Now that’s romance. And there’s nothing else I would rather write about.

Love changed my life. This same love can change the world. And I’m going to shout it from the mountain tops. Or, you know, write about finding love for Mountain Brook Ink.

I write Christian romance, and I know from experience that it DOES matter.

Author bio: 

Angela Ruth Strong studied journalism at the University of Oregon and published her first novel, Love Finds You in Sun Valley, Idaho, in 2010. With movie producers interested in her book, she's decided to rerelease it and write sequels as a new series titled Resort to Love. 

This Idaho Top Author and Cascade Award winner also started IDAhope Writers to encourage other aspiring authors, and she's excited to announce the sale of her first romantic suspense novel to Love Inspired Suspense.

For the latest news or to contact Angela, visit

Friday, April 8, 2016

Words of Faith: God Is With Us

God Is With Us
A Words of Faith story written by Cara Putman

"When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you."~Isaiah 43:2 (NLT) 

I want to walk through life without fear. To walk with the sure knowledge that God is with me. He. Is. With. Me.

Much of my life, I have known this to the core of who I am. In fact, this knowledge is foundational to who I am. If you read my novels, you will see that ultimately they come back to this point. That God is with us.

My characters learn that in some way.

I’ve had to learn that in some deep, real way. The way that strips the candy coating from my faith and digs deeply into the bedrock of my beliefs.

Eight years ago I had a miscarriage. Prior to that I would have said life had challenges, but it was nothing God and I couldn’t handle. Much of it was the kind of thing I could handle on my own. I’d thank God for His provision, I’d ask for His leading and His direction, but there had been very few times where I had been pushed so far beyond what I could endure that I didn’t know how to find myself. 

Here, let my words from 2010, a few months after my second miscarriage, illustrate how shattering these events were:

I’m on a quest to restore my heart.

The miscarriages have caused a piece of my heart to break. And while I want to grieve fully and completely—and some would tell you a tad too much—I don’t want to live with heartbreak.

I want to live where the sight of a pregnant woman doesn’t remind me that I’m not 7 1/2 months pregnant right now. Where the learning that another relative or friend is pregnant doesn’t pierce through my heart with another reminder that I have another little one waiting for me. That there isn’t the pain of separation. Of what ifs. Of what might have beens.

Each day I think I get a bit closer.

Then there’s an anniversary of a loss or a due date.

Or I simply go to Chick-Fil-A and see a pregnant woman or someone with an infant. And I smile as my eyes fill with tears. So if you see me like that, know I am fighting back even while my heart breaks again.

That’s where I lived. But I wrestled it to the ground with God. I had to know that when I was curled up in the closet with so much pain that I didn’t know what to do, that God was there. I had to believe that He would somehow use the pain for His good. He has.

If you’re in the midst of your own pain right now (so many of my friends and loved ones are walking such hard journeys right now), know that God is there. He never leaves. He never forsakes us. Jesus endured that, so we wouldn’t have to.

So if you can’t feel Him, look up. Look out. You will find Him. And He can put your broken heart back together again.


Author bio:
Cara C. Putman, the award-winning author of 20 books and three repackages with more books on the way, is madly racing toward deadline with her first legal romantic suspense for Harper Collins Christian Fiction. 

She graduated high school at 16, college at 20, and completed her law degree at 27. First for Women Magazine called Shadowed by Grace “captivating” and a "novel with the works." It received the Christian Retailing BEST Award for Historical Fiction and the HOLT Award of Distinction. 

Cara is active at her church and a lecturer on business and employment law and communications to graduate students at Purdue University’s Krannert School of Management. Putman received her JD from George Mason School of Law and her Master’s in Business Administration at Krannert. 

She serves on the executive board of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), an organization she has served in various roles since 2007. Putman also practices law and is a second-generation homeschooling mom. She lives with her husband and four children in Indiana. 

Connect with Cara:

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Thankful Thursday: Serving A God Who I Can Trust

It's Thursday and I'm thankful that I serve a God who I can trust. There are a lot of things in my life right now that are uncertain and I'm facing a future that is unknown. BUT I take refuge and solace in God's Word (The Holy Bible). I know that I can trust my "unknown future to a known God" as Corrie Ten Boom so famously said.

I'd like to share this song by Lauren Daigle with you. It's about trusting God no matter what happens in life. I hope that it will encourage your heart.

God bless you!



P.S._ Here's the song:

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Movie Review: Hearts of Spring on The Hallmark Channel

My Review for Hearts of Spring, A Movie for The Hallmark Channel

Just in time for the warm weather season, Hearts of Spring is a delight and will bring a smile to full bloom on your face! It will also make you appreciate the beauty and special meaning of various flowers while restoring your hope in true love.

Lisa Whelchel leads the sweet story about a single mom (Carly Ashby) who is balancing the raising of her daughter Sadie (Clancy Cauble, who happens to be Lisa’s real-life daughter), with running her flower shop and blogging, which is her true passion. She blogs under the name, “Bestie Mom.”

Enter Dr. Andy Sommers (Michael Shanks), a pediatrician who’s popular with the ladies, and Lisa’s life is thrown off balance. Dr. Sommers moonlights online as “Jugglingdad.” He challenges Bestie Mom’s parenting advice to her readers with contrasting comments of his own. His challenging and at times, disparaging comments rile Lisa but at the same time, intrigue her and pique her interest. It is the back and forth banter and verbal brawl that drives more traffic to Lisa’s blog and makes the readers look forward to the next comment.

Lisa does not know that Andy is ‘Jugglingdad.’ When she first meets him, she falls in love with his personality and heart. He’s a good-looking guy but it’s their friendship and mutual respect for each other as parents that draws them close.

The tension between Andy and his son Troy is evident from the first few scenes of their interaction. It’s clear that Andy’s strict parenting style that he uses to raise his teenage son, is not working as well as he hoped. His son has moments where he resents his dad for keeping him on a short leash such as enforcing an early curfew on a school night. However, when Andy starts dating Carly, his rules begin to relax and he starts to listen to his son about his life instead of bossing him around and enforcing strict rules with no breathing room. It's clear from the start that Carly and Andy have their own unique challenges of raising their kids. It’s interesting how they end up helping each other better understand their kids. Andy’s advice to Carly about how to raise her daughter plays a significant role in this movie too.

The cinematography of this movie was colorful and well lit. I especially enjoyed the colors of Carly’s flower shop. The picture inside the store was vibrant and the flowers nearly come alive on the screen. The color scheme throughout the movie matched each scene and was the perfect hue. The lighting gently graced and enhanced the skin tones of the actors. The viewer of the movie truly saw the characters in their “best light.”

The tone of this movie is sweet and soft. There’s conflict but the tone remains calm despite the series of upsets. It gives the audience hope that the movie will end on an up note. However, there are moments that make you wonder how the story will pan out in the end, which is good because it keeps the viewer’s attention.

The instrumental music in the movie is used to whet the viewer’s appetite from the opening scene of the movie. It’s also used in strategic places in the movie to build tension. The music fits the movie like a tailored suit.

The acting is second to none. Each actor embodies their character and plays their role with ease and confidence. They truly make the viewer believe that Carly is a florist who’s not looking for love and that her daughter Sadie is a free spirit who wants to travel the world before going to college and that Dr. Andy Sommers needs a life outside of work and a wife.

I cannot share more without giving away the plot. I can say though, that this movie deserves a “thumbs up” for every point. It’s a beautiful story that’s relatable to real life.

Watch Hearts of Spring on The Hallmark Channel this Saturday night (April 9) at 9:00 p.m. (EST)

Friday, April 1, 2016

Words of Faith: Mytonia's story about truth and freedom

The Truth Will Set You Free
A Words of Faith story written by Mytonia Newman

How many times have we heard the saying, “The truth will set you free?”

Adults would use this phrase to coerce young children into full disclosure of their wrong-doing, and then turn around and deliver the worse punishments imaginable. What kind of “freedom” was that? 

But the truth of the matter is that the freedom of truth telling is more mental then physical. Telling the truth removes feelings of guilt, shame and anxiety and replaces them with an opportunity for repentance and forgiveness. While telling the truth has proven to be therapeutic and freeing for yourself, it can also free someone else.

I was recently afforded an opportunity to facilitate a seminar at a Women’s Ministry Retreat. My session was on finding your purpose and I used my own life experience to convey my thoughts on the topic. In preparing my remarks for the seminar, it was evident to me that a certain level of transparency, honesty and self disclosure would be necessary to convey my message effectively. I was so passionate about ensuring the authenticity of my story and working to make it relatable, that I never struggled with sharing personal details about my life. It was my truth; I had accepted it and I was willing to share.

At the end of the session and to this day, I have had numerous women approach me and thank me for my honesty about my life. Many expressed that it was exactly the message they needed to hear. Others stated that it was the best they had heard on the topic and others tearfully thanked me for sharing my story, which had now encouraged them to share their own. I was not an authority on the topic of purpose. There are thousands of people who could have done it better then me. But what I do know for sure is that people can be inspired, encouraged, restored, and drawn to Christ if we would only share our truth.

When the Bible talks about people getting over by the word of a testimony, this is what it’s talking about. Your testimony is your TRUTH about what God has done for you. There are people who are struggling and praying for clarity, answers and a break through that your testimony could offer.

We live in a society where everyone wants to put their best foot forward. We want things to be perfect or at least appear perfect. We use filters and perfect lighting to get the best “selfie” picture. We love to share pictures of happy times with our loved ones, amazingly plated food, our kids all dressed up and of course the breathtaking “current situation” vacation pictures.

But the truth is that while others are “liking” our selfies, we don’t like ourselves. Our families see more sad days than happy ones, our kids are nicely clothed on the outside but empty on the inside, and the real “current situation” is that was probably your last vacation together. That is the real truth and the unfortunate reality for many people. Very seldom do we find people brave enough people to admit these realities and acknowledge the faith they have that God has or will turn their situation around in their favor. We are “okay” with sharing our truth once God steps in. But what did it look before He did?

When Christ walked the Earth, one of his main requests was that people would go and spread the word of what he had done for them. His whole ministry of healing is what gave legitimacy to His message that he was our Savior. It has become vital that believers feel compelled to tell their story of what God has done for them. These firsthand accounts of God’s grace, mercy and forgiveness in spite of ourselves, can reach more people than a church sermon ever could. You don’t have to invite everyone you meet to church. Just tell them the truth: This is who I was and this is what I had done. But look at what He has done for me… Boom!

Yes, telling the truth and owning your stuff publically is hard. It is embarrassing and it is uncomfortable. I’m not saying to take out a newspaper advertisement and air your dirty laundry. I’m simply saying that every time you are willing to share with someone and tell the truth about what God has brought you through, it plants a seed of hope that God can do the same for them. Challenge yourself to be intentional about planting a seed of hope in someone today. Go ahead and tell your truth, and watch God set them free!

Author bio: 
Mytonia Newman was born and raised in Huntsville, Ala. 

She was educated in the Seventh-day Adventist school system from Kindergarten through college. She graduated from Oakwood University with a B.A. in International Relations and Political Science. She continued her education at Loma Linda University in California, where she received her Masters of Public Health.

Over the past 10 years Mytonia has worked in various sectors of state and local government as well as the private sector. And whether she is writing Women’s Health legislation, reducing the number of non emergent 911 calls, or increasing awareness of preventable traumatic injuries, she has undoubtedly left her mark in the Nation’s Capital and served her community well.

Although quite accomplished professionally, Mytonia believes that her greatest accomplishment was marrying Dr. Naeem Newman and giving birth to their two children: Mya, age 11 and Deuce, age 6.

Mytonia’s love for cooking and entertaining led her recently to launch a catering business. Mytonia believes that her new venture has become more about inspiration and empowerment and less about cooking and serving. She knows God has a specific purpose for her life and commits each day to walking in it.