Tag Archives: Redemption



The sun was setting as Michael and I were walking to the edge of Mobile Bay to see the fireworks in Fairhope, Alabama. As my husband held my hand gently with his strong hand, it felt blissful to think back over nearly three decades of being married. For the first time in years, we had gotten away alone. The family-friendly and quaint city of Fairhope was the perfect way to celebrate the independence of our country and the beauty we’ve found in our marriage.


Looking back at the beginning of our relationship, I could’ve never dreamed of how incredibly beautiful our marriage would be after twenty-nine years of being married. My grandmother had prayed for my husband since I was an infant. She often told me that she was praying for the man I would marry. Because of her words, as a young girl I possessed a unique confidence in God to lead me to the special man who was somewhere in the world waiting to reveal his love for me.

Our Wedding Picture

Twelve days after my eighteenth birthday, my prince arrived. Within six weeks, I knew Michael was the man I would marry. I wrote about it in my journal with limited words in case someone got a hold of my diary, and I kept it a secret in my heart until four weeks later, when I received the surprise of my life.

Ten weeks after we met, Michael whisked me away to the breathtaking North Georgia Mountains. He planned a day of hiking for us, and led me to Helton Creek Falls tucked deep in the woods—a place he had discovered years before and had dreamed about proposing to his future wife. While I was sitting on a tree limb in front of the waterfalls, Michael got down on his knee and presented me with a magnificent diamond ring. In his knightly way, he asked, “Will you marry me?”

Even though I’d known in my heart, Michael was the one for me; the question caught me off guard. Words about marriage had never come out of either of our mouths. It had only been seven days since Michael had first told me he loved me. I didn’t know that he’d been having the same intuitive thoughts I was having about our destiny together. He knew if he waited much longer the element of surprise would be lost. His plan worked. I was taken by complete surprise. The word, “Yes!” popped out of my mouth quicker than my mind could fully comprehend what was happening.

I was overjoyed and utterly amused by the thought of being his bride. It was a dream come true—one I had replayed over and over in my head while pretending to be a princess when I was a young girl. Even now, it evokes emotions in me, remembering the beauty of the summer we first fell in love. It was everything screenplay writers and poets write about. It was magical. If I’d not been so young, we would’ve married the summer we met.

We got married twenty-two months later in April, 1985. We were two young people passionately in love, making a pledge to walk in oneness. Some of the memories are crystal clear to me, others are not as clear. I have a twenty-seven page memory book I wrote about our wedding and honeymoon that helps to fill in the gaps.

The one detail etched in my mind above all others is how the Spirit of God was so powerful the day we said our vows. While taking communion, I wept as I sensed the Holy Spirit so powerfully. It was truly a union ordained by God. In my memory book, I wrote about how many of our guests said our wedding was the most meaningful ceremony they had ever attended. I believe our guests were sensing the powerful presence of Christ Jesus that day.

After celebrating with our family and friends, we made our departure for our much awaited honeymoon. Within minutes of arriving at our destination, an enthusiastic, young man approached our car and introduced himself to us. With a huge smile, he said, “I’m Derek.” He told us that the Just Married decorations on our car had captured his attention. We were at the Quality Inn in Orlando, Florida and weren’t expecting to get special attention. But Derek helped us carry our luggage in. Then he prayed the sweetest prayer with us about our new marriage.

We never saw Derek around the hotel again, except for one other time. During our stay there, he came to our room, knocked on the door, and handed Michael a card. Inside the card he wrote what I believe was a message from God. It was as though the young man knew we would need the encouraging words for the road ahead of us. He filled the card with words of blessings. It ended with these words: “May you both be willing to forgive each other when difficulties arise even as Christ Jesus forgives you. Don’t let the sun go down on your anger, but always seek restitution promptly. May your marriage be built on the rock of Jesus who ensures stability in trying times.

At the top of the card, he drew a picture of us standing on a rock. Next to it were the words, “The Rock of Jesus.” Many times I have wondered who Derek really was. He couldn’t have been more than twenty-five years old. How could he have so much wisdom? Was he really an angel in disguise?

On the Rock

This card has remained sacred to me since that day in 1985. I have kept it in a place of honor with our marriage certificate. Through the years when we were fighting storms that threatened to destroy our marriage, and all I could see was darkness around me, the Lord reminded me of the words of wisdom written in that card. When I felt like giving up, I held onto those words and God’s promises, and trusted the Lord to carry us through.

In the past—especially when our children were small and we had very little time for each other, the pain and disappointment in our relationship seemed impossible to recover from. But Derek’s words proved to be true, and we saw for ourselves that a marriage built firmly with Christ as the foundation will never fail. God’s love prevails no matter how much pain there is when we forgive each other daily through the power of His Holy Spirit.

Our recent trip to the Mobile Bay area will be forever etched in my mind as a time of joy and victorious celebration. As our hearts are now truly woven together as one in Christ, we celebrated and will continue to revel in all that God has done in our marriage to teach us about His love and forgiveness.

My heart is rejoicing because we made it through the fierce storms, the sun is shining brightly on our marriage, and our love is stronger than it’s ever been.

Michael and Amy

For those of you battling in your marriage I pray that you don’t give up. If my broken marriage could be restored and renewed, anyone’s can. I am confident you will make it through the heavy rains and strong winds that may come as long as you are standing firmly on the rock of Jesus Christ.

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against the house; yet it did not fall, because it had it’s foundation on the rock.”

— Matthew 7:24-27 (NIV)



On a day of volunteering at a ministry that provides food to people in need, I was able to see clearly how God uses pain in our lives. As I stood next to a table that had a variety of delicious foods, I picked up a pie and handed it to a sweet, young mom. Tears came streaming down her face as she saw the abundance of food we were giving her family. The pie seemed to be the straw that broke the camel’s back, or to put it in better words: It was the pie that touched the mother’s heart. She was obviously deeply touched by the generosity of God through this ministry.

Through her tears, she began telling me that her small children had been without enough food to fill their tummies the previous week. While she was sharing her heart, I was overcome with weepy emotionsWith tears rolling down my cheeks, I embraced her tightly. Her story was taking my mind back to the time when I was experiencing a difficult circumstance similar to hers.

As I remembered my pain, I told her, “It will get better with God’s help; I promise.”

Memories flooded my mind as I hugged her. I thought about the years my husband’s home-based business was struggling and he delivered pizza for less than $7.00 an hour while I was home-schooling our children and working part-time. As I listened to her painful story, I remembered the day when our refrigerator was almost empty and my daughter asked me, “Are we going to starve, Mommy?”

Join me over at DaySpring’s (in)courage site to read the rest of the story. I’m super excited to be a guest contributor to one of the best women’s ministry websites online.


Beauty for Ashes - Isaiah 61

As I shut off my cell phone, I burst into a deep heartfelt cry. I’d just listened to someone spill their heart about a really tragic circumstance. I could feel the pain of another person’s heart entering into mine. It hurt me deeply to watch a loved one go through such an excruciatingly painful thing that seemed more like a nightmare than reality.

After I dried my tears, my mind filled with thoughts and questions. How can this be redeemed? How can anything good come out of this tragedy?

Within moments, the questions left my mind and I felt the warmth of Christ’s love wash over me. In my spirit, I could hear Him whispering, “I can make beauty out of anything.”

As the day went on, I felt God’s presence and peace so intensely, and I remembered the song, Beautiful Things, recorded by Gungor. I rushed to my computer and pulled up the video online. As I listened to the words, I began to weep again. This time it was different though. My tears were not filled with distress like earlier in the day. The tears were an expression of joy as I meditated on the fact that Jesus is the Beauty-maker.

If He could take a broken, messed up life like mine and turn it into a beautiful story of love, He can surely take my loved one’s or anyone’s life and turn the ugliness into something beautiful.

My life is proof that Jesus creates beauty out of messes. He healed my broken, painful marriage and turned my seeds of hatred into mountains of love. He turned my depression into unspeakable joy. He breathed life into my broken spirit and made me new.

Because of the way Christ has redeemed my past, I choose to have child-like faith for every person’s life—not just my own. No matter how big the mountain is in a person’s life, it’s not too big for Jesus. He is the healer of broken hearts and the mender of all things.

With my redeemed life, I’ve made it one of my life’s purposes to spread encouragement everywhere I go and to pray without ceasing for those who haven’t yet seen Christ’s beauty revealed in their lives.

For those experiencing anguish, you can be assured that Christ will replace the ashes of your past with a crown of beauty and give you a joyous blessing instead of despair. The Spirit of God holds a ray of light so intense that it will penetrate the darkest places of your soul and will fill you with an indescribable peace as you trust Christ to make beautiful things out of your pain.

 “To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the Lord has planted for his own glory.” — Isaiah 61:3 (NLT)

Five Minute Friday: Broken


It was after I became an adult that I realized how broken I was. My daddy had left our family when I was a thirteen-year-old, and the wounds were hidden deep in my soul.

After unsuccessfully searching to find comfort through acceptance of people and staying busy, I found healing through communing with Christ. An intimacy with God began growing that changed me eternally. I am no longer broken.

Christ reached into the depths of my soul and healed me wound by wound. Because of the undying, unwavering, perfect love of ChristI am whole. His love restored me.

“May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.” Ephesians 3:19 (New Living Translation)

I’m linking up for Five Minute Friday where Lisa Jo Baker and other awesome people write for five minutes flat with no self critiquing or no striving for perfection. This week’s prompt is: “Broken.”

Five Minute Friday

A Hope-filled Book



I recently read a book that holds the message of redemption at its core. The new book, Dear Dad, by Sundi Jo Graham will touch your soul deeply and make you want to run to Jesus to find the Living Waters that healed a young woman’s broken heart. It will have you rejoicing over all that a hurting addict was able to overcome through a divine connection with God.

Christ died so that we could live an abundant life on earth. He spilled His blood out so that we could be free from all our pain and past hurts. I see this book as one of the greatly needed resources for the hurting souls in our world. Sundi Jo’s life story stands as a powerful testament of the hope found in Christ to overcome anything—abuse, addictions, unhealthy relationships, or any other thing that keeps us from experiencing a beautiful and fulfilling life.

For more information, visit the Dear Dad website.  deardadthebook.com