The Artist

The Artist
by Wemi Omotosho

Each blade of grass is a brushstroke on His canvas.
His fauna of diverse beauty of many colours embroidered.
Nature in full swing tells of Him.

The glory of the Divine in shades of greens and happy yellows,
new life springs with His Spirit surge
as flowers bloom and saplings emerge
awakened at the Creator’s command.

Stepping forth from springtime’s grandeur,
the blazing sun marches across firmament of cornflower-blue at the Morning Star’s behest.
Trees clad in verdant hues as clocks of dandelions and floral flags sway,
paying homage in the incalescence.

Vibrant crimson and maroon set trees aglow
as the annual cascade of orange and gold
bathe the land in the dappled leaves of time’s passage.
The autumnal reflection of His power as winter’s chill drifts in.

Dazzling frost of glacial white,
fall from iron grey in a deluge of His love
as trees mourn their loss and creatures slumber
through long nights and shorter days.

Creation is wonderfully perfect in complexity.
Designed by an Artist undiscovered,
nature in full swing tells of Him.
Our God transcendent but with us resident.



Wemi Omotosho, PhD wears many hats as a scientist, entrepreneur, and writer. Currently, she lives with her husband and two children in London, UK. Wemi is active in her local church as a vocalist in the worship team, a bible study writer, and a coordinator for the PR department. In her downtime, she can usually be found with her nose in a book or writing. Her writings have appeared in (in)courage, Iridescent and Anchored Voices. She is in constant awe of God’s love for her despite her mess. She shares her reflections and poems at Instagram: @reflectionsinthemess. Twitter: @WemiOmotosho

Grace in the Growing

Grace in the Growing
by Ashlyn McKayla Ohm

Flowers must be fashioned from forever.

I am a writer, not a gardener, preferring to cultivate sentences rather than seedlings.  So I still cannot understand what compelled me to visit a gardening shop this spring and return with an armful of tiny plants.  Perhaps it was the nagging need to see something, anything, thrive in a season of life that had been grittier than granite.  Regardless, I sank my seedlings in soil and trusted them to time.

But it wasn’t long before I began to see the lesson lettered on their leaves—the sacrament of slow.  It was miraculous, to watch the sprouts gently lengthen, the softly swelling buds open like a kiss, the flowers unfold with pure perfection—all following the tranquil timetable of nature.  After millennia of making, God still fashions each flower as if He has all eternity to do it—which He does.  These are only common garden flowers, brief blooms who won’t last past the summer swing.  Yet He takes His time, painting petals.  Unworried, unhurried, His hands caress as He creates.

I watched and I wondered and I wished that I too could let myself grow slow.

This year has not been easy.  There have been drab days when the sun slipped silent and nights too dark to see the stars.  The story has featured dreams drawn dry and chapters I never chose.  And through it all, I’ve wanted to fast-forward, to wave a wand and skip over the scars and cut to the close, where all was well and flowers fluttered full-bloom.

You see, God’s been growing me, and for me, growing walks hand-in-hand with groaning.

I used to believe that the call of God would immediately catapult me into the humming heart of action.  No delays, no disappointments, certainly no disasters.  My work would be recognized, my heart would be whole, and my wildest dreams would be realized—immediately.  Instead, I am continually readjusting my timetable as God guides me relentlessly past most of my milestones.

I also believed that growing would be gracious—delightful dance, not painful pull.  Is it true what I’ve heard—that the root word of patience means “to suffer”?  And all my fragile flesh shrinks from the scalpel of suffering—the eyes straining to see the hope on the horizon, the legs heavy from marching through monotony.

A few years removed from my nascent naivety, I wonder why I never thought to ask why Christ was called the Suffering Servant, or how I could escape that title if I longed—as indeed I did and still do—to follow Him.

Growing is not glamorous.  Life is a good deal sharper than I had envisioned.  Most weeks, I wrestle weary.  Yet through all my complaints and confusion and contumely, the Master Gardener is still fashioning me.

And perhaps here is where the grace enters the growth.  Perhaps I should pray not for cloudless skies, but for the warmth of nurturing rains.  Perhaps I should try not to thrust myself forward but to dig myself deep into the fertile soil of His Presence.  Perhaps I should concentrate not on how leafy and lush the other plants are but simply on how I can continue to stretch toward His sky.

In a world of waiting, only humans demand that things spring into being overnight.  And only stubborn self whines to skip this season.  Lord of all life, forgive this feeble flower.  Keep growing me in the space where my pain and Your purpose intersect—with the quiet patience that shines in the eyes of all eternity.


Ashlyn Ohm_author photo_cropped 2

A passionate follower of Jesus Christ, Ashlyn McKayla Ohm finds her writing calling where her heart for God and her love for His creation intersect. Born and raised in rural Arkansas on the shoulders of the Ouachita Mountains, she’s most at home where the streetlights die and the pavement ends.  She finds joy in weaving words into messages of hope and healing and is forever grateful that God has given her the gift of not only exploring His beautiful world but also using her words to prayerfully draw others to Him. Follow her adventures at or on Instagram and Facebook.

Through A Glass Darkly

Through A Glass Darkly
by Sue Fulmore

“For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.” I Corin. 13:12 KJV

We have a new mirror in our home. It is beautiful, round and gold-rimmed with some etching of leaves along one side.  The only problem is that it distorts what it reflects; in it I am not seeing myself clearly.  It’s not quite a fun-house level distortion, but untrue just the same.

Looking in a mirror, I wonder if it is possible to truly see ourselves or are we caught in the middle place of “seeing through a glass darkly”?  I notice the years are adding up, leaving their traces on my skin, in my hair. I observe that middle age has come upon me with a softening of my body. But I also recognize the essence of who I am cannot be seen in my reflection.  A mirror cannot show the love I hold in my heart, or the times this heart has been broken and mended.  My reflection cannot tell of my struggles to find who I am, the wrestles with doubt and insecurity.  This image in the mirror can never tell the stories I carry, the places I have been, the people I love.

Sometimes I catch a glimpse of myself reflected in a shop window, and do not recognize the person I see. This woman looks confident and sure of her purpose, sometimes she appears young even still.

I think of friends who have had health issues, and wonder how long it takes to recognize yourself again in a mirror once your hair is gone, or parts of your body are no longer with you.

When people meet us, do they see us as we see ourselves in a mirror or do they see someone else?  It is often surprising to hear other’s first impressions of us.  I wonder if they too do not see clearly, or if they, in fact, might see us more truly than we see ourselves.  In an unguarded encounter with other people, we might become a fuller version of ourselves than can be reflected in a flat sheet of glass.

Our friends and even strangers may be able to see a glimpse of the beauty that lies within us, that we are often blind to. They see the growth which we fail to recognize, they see gifts and talents which we are reluctant to own.  My friend can see the image of the Creator in me in ways I cannot.  When I see my smile with crooked teeth, she sees the smile that says, “I am so glad to see you” and her heart is gladdened.

Another is able to recall my faith when it seems to have slipped through my fingers, vanished in the mist. She can remind me of battles won, darkness penetrated, and days when my faith carried her. My friend recounts my faithfulness in mothering when all I see is failure and doubt.

Often, I find myself seeing only the missing parts, all that is lacking, and am blind to all that is good within. We suffer from negativity bias.  All the places we have found ourselves wanting, all the criticisms we have ever received get lodged in our hearts and cause us to see, not the magnificent creation we are, but one hidden under layers of shame and feelings of inferiority. Frederick Buechner asserts, “The original shimmering self gets buried so deep that most of us end up hardly living out of it at all. Instead, we live out all the other selves, which we are constantly putting on and taking off like coats and hats against the world’s weather.”[i]

We need one another to remind us of our original shimmering selves. Could it be this is why we are called into community with one another?  It is our job to look one another in the eyes and say, “you are fearfully and wonderfully made”?  It is the duty of love to spend time searching, underneath the disguises we wear, for a glimpse of God dwelling there in the deepest self.

We know the image imprinted on us from the beginning of time is marred, we are not yet all we are designed to be.  But the Imago Dei is built into every cell of our being.  Every part lovingly stitched together to reflect the source of life and beauty. It is our sight that is faulty, the fog has become too thick, the image too obscured for us to see.  I need you to identity the family resemblances to our Father that I display.

This past year has highlighted ways we differ and community has become fraught with dissension and ideological rifts. We have allowed our differing views to tarnish the sacred in others.  Our ability to recognize the Divine in each other, and treat one another as such, is the only way forward.

Like a mirror, we can reflect back to one another the story of our true worth, clearing some of the darkness.  When I cannot find it within myself, you can look at me and retell the story of who I am. You can call to the deepest truest parts of myself to come to life.  Like Jesus calling to Lazarus to come out of the grave, we call each other to come forth, remove the grave clothes obscuring our faces, and move forward as a community of life-bringers to one another.

This side of the day when all will be made new, we gaze through the fog seeking to find a truer glimpse of ourselves. As we retell one another’s stories, we wipe the fog from the mirror.  We begin to “discover our true self and our calling within community”[ii].

I take the light I have to dispel the fog, and turn to you to light your candle and you turn to another and so on.  We light the way forward for one another until the day comes when all will be clear, then we shall know fully, even as we are fully known.

[i] Frederick Buechner, Telling Secrets

[ii] David Benner, The Gift of Being Yourself, pg 89



Sue Fulmore is a freelance writer and speaker, seeking to use words to awaken mind and soul to the realities of the present.  Some of her work has been published at Red Letter Christians, The Perennial Gen, Convivium Magazine, Joyful Life Blog, and Asbury Seminary Soul Care Community. Like a prospector panning for gold, she uses her pen to uncover beauty and truth hidden just below the surface of our lives. She is the mother of two adult daughters and lives in sunny Alberta, Canada with her retired husband. You can find her at Instagram and

The Faces in the Trees

The Faces in the Trees
by Diana Gruver

We walked over to meet her dogs. Our daughter heard them barking, and in response to her insistence, I nestled her in the wagon and we walked down the lane. It wasn’t the first time we’d met a neighbor because of her canine obsession.

We paused by the fence. An apple tree, dotted with the year’s last fading blossoms, spilled over the metal links.

As we talked with our newly acquainted neighbor, I couldn’t help but peer into the yard. It was edenic. Behind the small fenced garden in which she sat, lush grass spread to stone steps leading to the back of an old brick house. Towering over it all was an old maple tree, which cast an oasis of shade with its wide spread. I could hear the gurgle of a small fish pond near its base.

“What a beautiful old tree,” my husband commented.

Our neighbor grunted. “There’s a story behind that tree, you know,” she said. “There was a different tree there once. Back in those days, the couple who used to live here went through a nasty divorce.” She shook her head for emphasis. “She secretly bought the house out from under him at auction. He was so infuriated that he came back later that night and chopped the tree down—and the one in front of the house as well.”

I thought of the angry fury of his ax, of how naked the whole place would have been with a stumpy carnage at its heart.

She continued. “But you know, these trees are pretty resilient. After he cut down the original tree, this one sprouted from the stump.” She gestured over her shoulder. “And you can see what it grew into. It’s so big now, I don’t know how we’d cut it down even if we wanted to.”


After I graduated from college, I spend a year living in a group foster care home. My tiny apartment opened into the main hall of the sprawling house, and my kitchen was often full of children and teens in various states of cooking adventures, sewing projects, homework, and heart-to-heart chats. When I think back to my time there now, I am immediately transported back to that kitchen, with its small, slightly wobbly, wooden table. Some of my favorite memories happened there.

In the name of decor, I carefully wrote out the words of songs and Scriptures and taped them to the pale yellow walls. The one I got asked about most frequently hung in front of the kitchen sink, purposefully placed where I would see it throughout the day:

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the Lord
for the display of his splendor. (Isaiah 61:1-3)

I needed these words held continuously before me. They were the words I needed to hear each time I heard another story of abuse or loss. They were anchors of hope as I witnessed the effects of trauma—and when I sat at that table exhausted and numb with my own depression. I needed them because they reminded me of the explosive hope of the Gospel—that I follow a God who brings life out of dead things. I needed a continual reminder that my hope isn’t only about freedom from spiritual brokenness, darkness, and captivity. It is also one of the ultimate, tangible restoration, redemption, and remaking of all things, in which justice and wholeness and joy will endure. As I walked among the wreckage of families and innocence and dreams, I needed to believe that resurrection was still possible.

So many times, a pair of dark eyes would seriously scan the words. “What does it mean, Miss Di?” they’d ask. And I would tell them. They’d heard plenty of people tell them about Jesus—usually pale-skinned Americans like myself, visiting for a week, intent on “making a difference for Jesus.” Just ask Jesus into your heart, they were told, and then you’ll go to heaven. But they didn’t just need a message about a God only interested in whisking them away after death. They needed a message about a God who was present with them in suffering. They needed a God who hated the injustice and cruelty they’d suffered—and sent his own Son to set in motion a Kingdom that would finally and fully eradicate all evil. They needed to know their ashes were not the end of the story.

There were plenty of things I’m sure I did wrong during my time there. I was young. I didn’t know as much about trauma as I do now. There were things I should have seen that I was blind to. But I think that maybe, just maybe, this was one of the things I did right. I was staring at ruins, at stumpy carnage. But with every conversation about the Gospel, every time they shared their dreams and we talked about how they could move toward them, every time we talked about finding men who would love them and not abuse them, every time they opened up about something from their past—I could hear Isaiah’s words. I could envision the roots growing deeper, I could see the little sprouts of new growth forming. Oaks of righteous. Strong. Deeply rooted. Welcoming and refreshing others under their shade. A display of God’s redeeming glory.

So on that day, in my neighbor’s yard, I couldn’t stop staring at that tree—because I saw their faces there amidst its branches. And I prayed it might be so.



Diana Gruver headshot

Diana Gruver (MA, Gordon-Conwell) writes about discipleship and spiritual formation in the every day. She is the author of Companions in the Darkness: Seven Saints Who Struggled with Depression and Doubt. Diana lives in Pennsylvania, where she can often be found singing in the kitchen with her husband and ever-curious daughter. You can connect with her at, or on Facebook or Twitter.


by Vina Bermudez Mogg

I bought a Meyer lemon tree
last Mother’s day
in memory of my mother.

Meyer lemons favor
a taste sweeter than the ordinary.

I placed this petite seedling
into a clay pot.
A clay pot like the one
she placed geraniums
in the spring.

This tree
carried one lone fruit
into the summer
yellowed leaves
into the fall
withered limbs
into the winter.

I feared my memories of her
would crumble
like these limbs
like her own memory
beneath the brambles
of Alzheimer’s.

Sun warms the darkened
soil of grief.
From the pot of clay
not one, not two, but twelve blooms emerge!
Tender sprigs bend
toward light.

Hope flowers.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!
2 Corinthians 5:17


Vina Bermudez Mogg is restoring life through words on paper, paint on canvas and reclaimed wood in a century old cottage by the Puget Sound. Numerous stories about empty nesting, motherhood, Alzheimer’s and caregiving, and how it all relates to restoring a 1926 abode can be found on her website,

She has been published in an anthology of essays, The Wonder Years: 40 Women Over 40 on Aging, Faith, Beauty, and Strength, by Leslie Leyland Fields, Ruminate Magazine, and a variety of sites including, Grand Magazine,, and is a creative editor for

Vina’s loves are her husband and four children and three daughters-in-law, music, paddle boarding, and her cat, Bear.

No Forcing, No Holding Back

No Forcing, No Holding Back
by Ingrid Lochamire

The moment I opened my car door, I could hear the creek — a gurgling rush of water, spilling over rocks and roots. The sun-lit flash I had spotted as I pulled into the driveway cut through the center of our new homestead, laying down tracks to a destination unknown, yet pre-determined.

The bubbling welcome of that narrow flow of water on an early spring morning was a harbinger of what was to come. In the days, weeks and years ahead, my husband and I would claim this 100-acre patch of land as our home. We would raise a family, start a business and steward the acreage surrounding our century-old brick house, anchored by this artery that would become our family’s lifeline.

Shallow and sandy-bottomed, the creek is bone-chilling cold even in the middle of summer. It flows east from a cistern that captures water from a nearby spring-fed pond. The pond is still and murky, filled with vegetation that sustains wildlife. Turtles and frogs are visited seasonally by sleek silver muskrats. It welcomes Canadian geese temporarily nesting to hatch babies and the occasional curious heron who feeds on tadpoles. It’s a peaceful habitat, ringed by redbud trees, wildflowers and cat tails.

In contrast, the creek that spills from the cistern gateway sparkles with action and intent. Water escaping the pond is void of wildlife as it races toward a bigger stream that flows to a river that dumps into a fresh water lake 10 miles away.

The creek and the tall maple and walnut trees lining its shores became our sons’ playground. Shallow enough to be safe and brisk enough to provide chilling entertainment on hot summer days, the creek was their favorite setting for tiny boat races and GI Joe battles. Bare feet, damp shorts, abandoned sneakers, sunburned noses — small sacrifices for an afternoon by the creek.

As the boys grew, the creek was first a boundary line then a rite of passage. Crossing the creek’s homemade bridge to explore the banks of the pond under the watchful eye of an older brother was a privilege earned. In time, the churning water flowing beneath the bridge inspired young fellows testing their skills with guitars and with cameras, as the unassuming waterway showed up in songs and photographs.

And once the creek was abandoned by our boys for cars and music, friends, college and travel, it became my sanctuary. The shore guided my prayer-filled walks. The swirling stream served as a quiet background for recording a mother’s reflections. The calming steady flow of water brought music to the stillness of our empty nest.

In the year after our youngest went off to college, my husband placed a covered bridge upstream from the little handmade crossover. On a beautiful spring day, in a wedding ceremony by the pond, the wooden bridge served as a fitting pathway for a son’s crossover from bachelorhood to husband. Memories collided to the murmur of the bubbling creek. Past, present and future joined forces in a clear, life-giving flow of water that continues to mark the passage of time. Soon, another generation will build boats of twigs and leaves and launch them from the wooden bridge. Squeals will rise as tiny toes press into the sandy bottom, ankles numbed by the rush of cold water.

My husband was a farm boy. This country life is familiar to him. I grew up at the end of a street in a small town, miles from flowing waterways and silent ponds. Still, in the driveway of our future, I had recognized the creek for the gifts it held for our family and for me. A familiar craving surfaced 30 summers ago as I stood in it for the first time, bare feet tingling toward numbness, sand, tadpoles and leafy debris washing over my toes. My own childhood dreams of flowing water bumped up against memories of summer afternoons fishing from the pier on grandma’s lake and I knew. This is what I had longed for, this cleansing, stimulating rush that told me I was alive.

The poet Rainer Maria Rilke gives voice to my wish for myself and for my family:

“May what I do flow from me like a river, no forcing and no holding back, the way it is with children.”

Perhaps the poet stood on the banks of a little creek like mine as it flowed into a river and poured into a lake. No doubt he observed the way it is with children, who dangle their feet in shallow currents then step ashore and into life “no forcing and no holding back.”



Ingrid Lochamire is an author, speaker and former journalist. She’s also a “retired” home educator who graduated four sons before returning to her roots as a writer. She blogs regularly and recently began co-hosting the podcast On the Front Porch. Her reflections on rural life, faith and family have been published online in the literary journal Topology, at the website Perennial Gen and on The Redbud Post. Ingrid and her husband live on a farm in a beautiful glacial valley in northeast Indiana. Ingrid is on InstagramFacebook and Pinterest as Ingrid Lochamire.


by Jennie Cesario

I watched at a window, a twin winging each hip, as they hollowed you from the earth, careful as surgeons, a dozen work-booted men, each jumping on his own shovel. The man-in-charge, the one who’d driven by the week before and offered us the money, had a sixth-sense about margins: the reach of root systems and the profit-potential on mature Japanese maples. I remember how he studied you long before limning you wide on our lawn in two white Cs scarcely touching: the spray-painted circle of your excavation.

Afterward, once those white-tipped blades of grass met the metal-tip blades of shovels, there was no turning back, no running out onto the front porch to say, “Stop! Stop! We’ve changed our minds!” His men dug only at his gesture, paused only at his command, alert to his every precaution. He spoke to them in serviceable Spanish, to me in English. “There’s a buyer,” he said, “shopping for instant curb appeal for a new estate out in East Hampton.” Someone not in need, as we were, of fast cash for infant formula and double boxes of diapers.

I remember, still, the way they lifted you from the earth, the hulking forceps, the clods of dirt falling from your fibers like fat clots of blood, the clumpy clay trail you left all the way to the street. And I remember, too, your tall dignity, your shapely limbs when they set you on the flatbed, roots balled in burlap, boughs crisscrossed with rope, your florid buds rounded and swollen. It was early spring, and you hadn’t yet birthed your scores of seeds, each a rosy twin anchoring crepey wings, spiraling.

Afterward, the man-in-charge paid us the promised $550.

And you understood – maybe? House-poor, new mortgage, one paycheck, two babies. Didn’t that all pass between us the night before when I laid my palm on your bough, one mother to another? Those dozen men, too, they needed their day wages; as did the man-in-charge, the one who owned the truck they carted you away on. God made trees for beauty, but also for sustenance, and we were all of us a long, long way from the Garden of Eden.

Afterward, the light fell all wrong, just as I knew it would. And it still does: the shadeless walkway, the sun-drenched front porch, our dining room’s dusty corners; the south-facing front door my adult twins now come and go from: rosy seeds ripened into full-grown trees, their lengthened limbs once nourished by your hollow.




Jennie Cesario is a Christ-follower, a writer, and a teacher. Her words have appeared in the Perennial Gen, the Redbud Post, Fathom Magazine, and the Ginosko Literary Journal. Follow her writing journey at where she muses on life and literature in the lamplight of faith, or on social media: TwitterFacebookInstagram.


by Leslie A. McLeod

Feet that walk in Garden cool,
Stride atop tempestuous seas.   
Voice that speaks Creation’s all.
Hands smear clay:  a blind man sees.

Weary head on pillow stone,
Laughing eyes in knowing love,
Jordan’s droplets in his hair
Spirit-kissed by Heaven’s dove.

Borrowed flesh paid debts not owed:
Shattered torso, hands, and feet.
Sovereign.  Savior.  Servant.  Friend.
Your breath in me.  My soul complete.  


Living near Southern California coast, Leslie’s artistic leanings provide an alter ego to her role as co-owner of a tech company with her husband.  She picks up her pen again after a hiatus to raise their two children and develop a passion for painting.   After losing her parents a few years ago, she is writing a book to help other women walk through that painful season without the added burden of unresolved relational regret.   She emerges from 40 years wandering in her own see-saw wilderness,  elated to hear and share the voice of her soul’s Beloved.  Connect with her on Facebook and at

The Crumbling Mess of My Heart

The Crumbling Mess of My Heart
by Sharla Fritz

Ruins everywhere. As I walk the site of an ancient city in Israel, I sigh at the sight of destruction. I see nothing left but stacks of well-worn stone. Tumbled-down walls of rock. Debris from past lives. Remnants of greatness.

These disintegrating leftovers of a town provide a picture of all I don’t want my life to be. I hope for strength, for power, for influence. I’m ashamed to admit my drive for recognition. Although the desires for both success and servanthood compete in my heart, ambition usually wins. The quest for greatness often pushes the yearning for Christ-like humility right out of my soul.

Yet, as I look at the decaying walls, I remember—greatness never lasts. Here, what once thrived now disintegrates into unrecognizable mounds of dirt and rock.

Then, I stop.

I see signs of life even in the wreckage. On top of a pile of rubble, bright-red anemones spring up, green stems swaying in the chilly spring breeze. Traces of beauty dancing on top of a crumbling foundation.

And I think—isn’t that just like God? He takes the ruins of my life—my pride in my work that often deteriorates into failure. The mess my selfishness has made of my relationships. The tumbled-down state of my sinful heart.

Somehow God uses that crumbling foundation to sow seeds of His relentless love in my heart. He breaks up the pride just enough so that His affection takes root. He rains down His righteousness to water the knowledge of His passion for me.

And I begin to realize—accomplishments may draw the attention of the world for a season. I can continue to work to pile up stones of impressive achievements. But the striving will wear down my soul and for what? Time will also erode any signs of my success.

But when I allow the seeds of God’s love to take root in my soul, I begin to trust that He accepts me just as I am. His love begins to bloom and the need to pile up more stones of accomplishments starts to fade. As His love fills my heart, I can offer beauty and grace to the world—qualities much more needed than any wall of greatness I might construct for myself.

Turning to leave the ruins, I offer the crumbling mess of my heart as a place for God’s unconditional love to grow and bloom.


Sharla Fritz is a Christian author and speaker who weaves honest and humorous stories into life-changing Bible study. Author of the new book God’s Relentless Love: A Study of Hosea, Sharla writes about God’s transforming grace and unfailing love. Sharla lives in the Chicago suburbs with her amusing pastor husband. Learn more about living in God’s love at:

Connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

The Women Heard

The Women Heard
by Michelle Henrichs

”Very early in the morning on the first day of the week, the women went to the tomb, bringing the fragrant spices they had prepared.” (Luke 24:1, CEB)

The women heard
that something happened in the garden after dinner.
The men were overcome by exhaustion
unable to keep watch.
There was a kiss of betrayal
swords were drawn
and a final miracle occurred
because violence is not what Jesus sought.

The women heard
that in the wee hours of the morning
when all should have been sleeping
a trial took place
shuttling between the houses of power.
Betrayal continued.
The men fled
and Jesus was left alone.

The women heard
how Jesus was beaten and mocked
how blood was shed
until rivers of red crossed the earth.
Until finally he was led
like a criminal
carrying the heavy crosspiece
to the place determined for his death.

The women saw
Jesus nailed to the cross.
How he agonized.
How he thirsted.
How he forgave.
How he died
obedient to love even unto death.

The women went
to the tomb
to see where his body laid.
To try and understand
how all this could be.
How the one who had raised the dead
now lay dead in a rock tomb.

The women went
home to prepare the sabbath meal
to honor the Lord
despite his death.
They recounted God’s faithfulness
and the promise of the Messiah.

And the women wondered
about what would happen


Classically trained as a Certified Public Accountant, Michelle Henrichs is a second-career pastor in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). She loves Jesus and the Bible and seeks to help others do so as well. Pastor to Heritage Presbyterian Church, a real-estate free congregation that now worships in a senior living community, Michelle lives in Wisconsin with her husband and two sons. Author of Prayers for the People: Scripturally Based Prayers for Worship and Come to the Table: Communion Liturgies of Invitation to Celebrate and Experience the Love of God you can find out more about her on her blog, Life in the Labyrinth. Connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.