Lisa-Jo Baker
About the Author

Lisa-Jo is the best-selling author of Never Unfriended and Surprised by Motherhood. Her newest book, The Middle Matters: Why That (Extra)Ordinary Life Looks Really Good on You invites us to get a good look at our middles and gives us permission to embrace them.

(in)side DaySpring: things we love
& you will too!
Find more at
(in)side DaySpring:
things we love
& you will too!
Find more at
Recent Posts

Reader Interactions


  1. My pastor knew just what to say to me when I was wrestling with the need for discernment last month. She had been out of town for the worship service that started my questioning, but knew I was in doubt just by talking with others upon her return. I didn’t even realize how conflicted I felt until she pulled me aside and started talking. Then the tears began to flow. The next day I felt as though a weight had been lifted. She truly knew what to say and when to say it!

  2. I have no “blood” sisters, but have a small groups of “sistas” that take care of me, my heart, my kids, my life when it is in turmoil. They remind me how I am a child of God, and bring me back to that place of “knowing” . I thank God for them everyday 🙂

  3. I feel the need to sing praises about my parish and the wonderful community of people who work and serve there. An amazing priest. Fr. Zlock leads the parish, and there is a wonderful team of Gus, Mary, and Don, and others that I am not naming. As well, people who help like Mary Beth and Liz, etc. I am very thankful to God for this group. If we would be so fortunate to win, we could put the book crop in the rectory! 🙂 Blessings to you today. Thank you for letting me sing their praises.

  4. I have two people who especially minister to my heart. First is my friend BR. When I told her about my struggles with self-injury she loved me and encouraged me and refused to judge me. She showed me someone cared. The other is my friend KW. She is a mom of three but still had time for a LOOONG talk with me one day when I was struggling and going to hurt myself if I did not get help. She also bent the rules at church for me to be in her Sunday School class when she found out how excluded I was in mine. She almost always encourages me when I post things I shouldn’t on facebook, and is the best friend she knows how to be even when she tells me she has no idea how to be a friend to me.

  5. What a great idea! Wish I had known about it sooner so I could have put together a post, but alas, I have no time today. 🙁 I will say that I am beyond grateful for our pastor, Josh Moody. He came to us after a 3 1/2 year search (my husband sat on that committee) and truly is God’s man for us at this time. Each week brings such amazing insight to the Word of God, and his British humor doesn’t hurt either. Thanks for coming, Josh!

  6. Super fun idea! Can’t wait to read all the fun posts!

    I used to think heroes did big things…now I believe that heroes are ordinary people who do things for a Big God.

  7. I’m thinking of a couple in our church who teach Sunday school to two different groups of young people. They are Larry & Kay T. They are such a dedicated couple and taught my own children-now 25 & 27. They’ve been at it a few years! Larry is battling Multiple Myeloma, yet he never complains, is always there with a smile, and ready to do something for someone else. They are so giving of their time, energy, and themselves. We pray for healing for Larry and strength for both of them!

  8. I just wrote a blog about my dad this morning and his journey so far with cancer. It seems appropriate that I mention our pastor, Phil, and the part he has played in the journey. He has been there every step of the way. Taking time out of his day (he is a bi-vocational pastor) to come sit with us when Dad underwent a procedure. He was there when I went into labor 6 weeks early with my youngest son durning all of the cancer “stuff”. He is the definition of servant.
    Thank you Preacher Phil…love you

  9. I have two friends that are just wonderful to me…. They both know me and when I open my heart, they both know how to respond. Recently I found myself so full of hurt for so many reasons, and my friend sang to me… That moment, that act of kindness brought healing to my very soul. I am not sure my friend understands just how much that act meant to me, but it changed my heart, it made me understand how I was not alone… and this friend of mind, does this quite often. So since we honor those in ministry this month, I want to honor my friend…SA

  10. I love love love this, thanks so much for taking the time to “Share the Love”! As someone who is in ministry and is also married to a Pastor I have to tell you that ministry is tough…there is the emotional wear and tear as well as the “stuff” that comes along with it, but I could think of no greater thing that God could have wired me for than for ministry.

    There are so many incredible people that I am blessed to serve with on the front lines of my church each and every weekend and even though they aren’t on “paid” staff with me they are the heart and soul of our church…our volunteers! That is one of my favorite things about ministry…the people!

    Each and every weekend they serve, bake, cook, make coffee, clean, tidy, rock babies, teach lessons, sing praise songs, run the tech booth, park the cars, stuff the bulletins, make copies, prepare crafts and sooooo much more. They love, care and serve the people of South Florida with all their heart. I couldn’t think of anyone more that I would like to do a shout out for more than the volunteers & team at West Pines Community Church in Pembroke Pines, FL.

    Thanks so much for taking the time to allow us to (in)courage others! I love my (in)courage sisters…you rock!

    Melissa ~ Mel’s World 🙂

  11. I feel I have to send out a HUGE THANK-YOU to our weekly ladies prayer meeting leader…although I havent known her long or havent been attending the prayer meeting for any great length of time, I feel that God has put her there to encourage, to help, to instruct but most importanly show us ladies that prayer is the main ingredient in our walk with God! I am truly blessed to have such an opportunity to attend and to be blessed each week. GOD’s not finished yet!!!!

  12. The people who encourages me most is my family:parents,brothers,sisters,brothers-in-law,sisters-in-law,even my nephews.I can talk to any one of them and they give me godly advice,they point me to the Word,which is the best ever and only real guide in all of life.:)
    I am exceedingly blessed to have my family,walk with Jesus,and who love each other so very much.
    “Thank You God for my family”

  13. I just linked up a post about my wonderful Grandpa Hollie. He’s almost 90 and is still making a difference in so many lives! He’s a greeter at church, active in the Gideons, visits juvenile delinquents and much more. I’m proud to have his name–and his legacy!

  14. I just thought about all the wonderful people that ministered to me growing up; my Sunday School teacher, my amazing godly friends, older women in my church. Now, I have an awesome mother-in-law who ministers to me through advice about life & teaching. I also have those same godly friends who, even though we are not close in distance anymore, we still keep contact pretty regularly through email or facebook. They are wonderful because I can just drop a short line or 2 about a prayer request, & they are immediately responding with prayer! I also think about the wonderful support staff I have as a teacher. The administrators here at my school are phenomenal about supporting me & encouraging me when I need it the most! I had a meltdown 2 weeks ago & they didn’t hesitate to let me know how wonderful I was & that they were praying for me. WOW! Not many people are blessed with that. Even though their job title is not necessarily about being a minister, they minister to me in ways that are unbelievable. 🙂

  15. Some might expect a wonderful mentor or spiritual leader to influence my daily walk with the Lord, but it is actually my children. Because I have a wonderful Heavenly Father, the things I learn about my relationship with Him are most closely tied to my relatioinships with my children. He has opened my eyes so many times through theirs. My pastor also does a wonderful job of stirring the Holy Spirit within me. He’s awesome, too!

  16. I just let the kids wild for a few minutes so I could celebrate in writing their (& my) wonderful Sunday School teachers! ~ This is a great idea. I have to go back to the 2 & 3 year old set, but I’ll be reading more later!

  17. I have been blessed with a Spiritual momma who is so encouraging and uplifting!! Ms. Beulah has taught me so much over the past six years. When I have not said a word, she always calls at the right time. When my husband and I have had a need she was quick to help in any way. When I am at my weakest she shows up!!!
    It is so amazing and always right on time when the LORD leads those to come to your aid. I am so thankful for Ms. Beulah, her love, her devoted life to to the LORD, her service to the kingdom…truly a blessing!!!

    To all of you spiritual momma’s…thank you for loving the younger women and being so encouraging!!! 🙂 🙂

  18. […] you! PS. I’ve also written about Audrey here (on my old blog) . This post is part of an (in)couragement Carnival hosted by (in)courage. Head over there to read more posts about people that bless others. […]

  19. I won’t be here if it won’t be for the many people that have be a part of my life … one person in particular is Audrey. She was my mentor during the toughest time of my life, so that’s why I did a post about her today — because she was Someone To Talk To.

  20. My best friend ministers to me. No judgement, no coddling….she loves me exactly as I am, but pushes me to be better. What more could I ask for?

  21. What an amazing idea. Even if people don’t leave comments, I think they will take a second a really think about who minsters to them and hopefully thank them for doing so.

    For me personally, it is my father-in-law. He is a pastor, who dedicated to reaching out to those who are seeking. He has been so patient in helping my find my faith and relationship with the Lord. I know that I am not the only one he has help guide. He is amazing and continues to reach out to other and building up churches throughout Northern Lower MI

  22. I didn’t have a chance to write up a post, however I have written about my Pastor in the past…I am eternally grateful for this man who was placed on my path during the darkest times of my life. He has guided me and encouraged me as well. By God’s grace he has been able to help me find my way. After living one way for so long and then being thrown into a brand new way, it is very very hard. I am now on my way to becoming a Pastor as well thanks to a calling I received so long ago, but now just listening to Him.

  23. I am so appreciative of the MOPS-Mothers of Preschoolers and MOMSnext ministries for mothers. The moms in my groups help to encourage and support me in my mothering journey. As a mom of twins, I need lots of that!

    I am also very appreciative of our church staff and all the people who step up to volunteer there and serve in every kind of capacity.

  24. inCourage is really blessing me right now. We’re in a season of just family – which is awesome. You all have been ministering to me, encouraging me, and healing me.

    I’m having a blast with Bonnie Gray and Faith Barista Jams and in November, Tuesdays Unwrapped with Emily Freeman starts again and it has me practicing gratefulness in my everyday.

  25. I am blessed every day by the fact that I am still in touch with my youth minister from junior high and high school. Her faith never ceases to amaze me. She no longer serves as youth minister but runs an inner city mission in OKC – Love Link Ministries. As busy as she stays, she still manages to keep in touch with almost all of us from the old group. I can feel her prayers and I know I can always go to her when there is anything I need.

  26. I am so thankful for my sweet friend GG, who loves me no matter and at the same time has no fear in calling me out when it’s time. She continually points me back to Jesus.

  27. I would like to submit Bill and Cindy Grandt of St Peter Lutheran Church in Schaumburg,
    They have lead our bible study since 1992 and we have been together ever since.We study the word of God together,share our lives together, Love Jesus together. We Hold
    Scripture Verses Close to our hearts and apply God’s Word in our lives each day. We are a Family together in Christ, we have laughed together,Cried together, Shared personal Joys
    together and Held each other up in The Lords Agape Love in the Challenges we faced ,but we knew we were never alone,Jesus was there first in our lives, and the Group second. We have all established our own per sonal relationship with Christ from our bible Based group and Bill and Cindy Grandt hold it together for us all, and We love them both with all our hearts. They are our leaders in our small group Ministry at
    St Peter’s and we thank God for the Both of them each day.

    Jan and Ken Belzer Schaumburg, Illinois

  28. I have to retract my entry on Mr. Linky – I had posted on Facebook about our worship leader. I had said that he was going through some “stuff” and still managed to bring us to the throne every Sunday morning and evening. Well, the “stuff” is his soon-to-be ex-wife saw it and apparently went ballistic on him. I’ve had to remove the post, but I do still want to nominate Rob for encouragement!

  29. Racham Ministries is a new outreach of God’s heart being started by my friend Gabi in Bugembe, Uganda. Since she was a small girl she’s had a desire in her heart to serve the littlest ones of Africa and as she’s grown to understand the needs, that heart has been broken so deeply that she CANNOT not pour out her life to love these children as Christ does, to show His limitless love in tangible ways. In January 2011, we go out to Uganda to start this Children’s Home. We could use all the prayers you have to offer on behalf of the area Racham will be reaching into, the logistics of the move and finances, and the precious, neglected Children of His heart we will hold in our arms! Thank you!

  30. I felt like a time traveler, as I recently received a gift from my Grandmother, although she has been gone from this world for several years now. Falling to my knees I reached out and clasped this Sword, as the palms of my hands were more than sensitive to the softness of the leather worn Bible, that I so tenderly clutched and brought to my chest. Tears flowed down my cheeks and upon this Book as my mind quickly pondered “oh, if only she could see me here, cradling this priceless gift, if she could only know that it is because of her love for Christ and bold walk of faith that I am who I am today. My heart for intercession and my gift of faith is God’s favor and blessing upon my life and my children’s lives, because of her passionate love for Him”. I thought about how her very hands had graced these pages, pondered the promises, and folded themselves upon this Book to cry out in love on behalf of her family and those lost in darkness.

    See this very Word and life of prayer was her life connection to her Abba Father. It was because of this special love that testimonies and praise were found forever on her lips. For I believe that after losing her husband, the love of her life at a very young age, she knew she not only needed to read the Word but eat it as well! This began to show itself evident as it permeated her very countenance, speech and everyday life attitude. This belief has been more than confirmed in my spirit as I continue to scour the pages of my recent “love find” and gaze upon the numerous passages and verses in the Psalms highlighted by her very own precious hand. This legacy of love for Him is such a priceless gift and now it is my own families love story, for just like the promise of His Word – this love story it is still alive and active and continues to plant seeds, take up roots and grow from generation to generation.

  31. I am very thankful for many pastors who have preached the Word to me even when I am not in their congregation: Tim Keller and George Grant in particular. I am transformed by their ministry and their amazing way of speaking truth into my life.
    Then of course, legs go with truth so there are many here where I live . Friends who pray
    and hold me up to the Lord in times of need and in times of loving care.

  32. Our Pastors wives don’t receive nearly the credit that is due them. I think of our’s,
    who is a beautiful testimony of a sacrificial sister. She is homeschooling her 8 arrows this year, on top of being a helpmate to our Pastor.
    ALWAYS a quietness to her, and a humble concern for others. She is young and positive, & radiates God’s contentment . She schedules her days around her Heavenly Father, drawing her strength from first spending time with Him. I pray for Pastor’s families and
    the women behind them. And, I give hugs out to all the “Kristens” and THANKS~

  33. Bloggers are blessing me…Ann Voskamp whose links opened up a whole world: Monica Sharman, Bonnie Gray, Angie Smith, Holley and this whole (in)courage site.

    Also a homeschooling friend started a breakfast biblestudy where we ate and watched Beth Moore’s Wisdom videos and then prayed together before 8am! I’ve had to drop out as school started but it was great over the summer, and my friend is still encouraging.

    People, so many people God has everywhere. They just pop up!

  34. Many people have influenced my faith journey over the years. Some are friends, some are bible study leaders, some ministers. My friend Marilyn and I work together to do His service, each proposing an idea to involve the other’s assistance. Marilyn often goes the “extra mile” to bring that something special to a project or occasion, resulting in smiling, uplifted, individuals. As well, her work as a Sunday School teacher, encourages the children’s faith and makes learning fun.

    The minister at my church who, unfortunately, is on a leave due to health concerns, has many gifts that he shares with the congregation. His sermons are very thought provoking, his bible studies are extremely interesting and interactive and his counselling/palliative care skills help me when I’m struggling with an issue and provide new insight into biblical meaning. Having new passages to read at home that relate to my “problem” are soothing, calming and restful. This definitely, encourages my faith journey.

  35. Hi Holly,
    Just wanted to tell you that the story about your gradfather was so beautiful and touching. Praise God he is still here in your life!

  36. I am blessed to have a very loving caring Church Family and there are so many of
    them that minister to me and encourage me everyday it is hard to just talk about one. One women at our church I would like to appreciate is Linda Rohner.She serves in several different womens ministries with me as well as the nursery and teaches Sunday School is a great source of encouragement to me and is a true Friend. Linda always shares with me whenever the Lord lays something on her heart about me or calls and confirms what God has been speaking to my heart. She is always available and approachable for me and is always prepared with a biblical answer to any questions or concerns I have and she always has a hug for me and always prays with me about everything. She has helped me discover the gifts God has given me and how to use them for his glory. Her and I both have spouses who are unsaved and it is so encouraging to have a friend who understands that aspect of my life. She has taught me how to be a Godly wife, a Proverbs Woman and has inspired me to leave a beautiful Legacy of God’s love to my daughter and all those God has put on my path to minister to.

    P.S. I would just like to share about 2 outstanding women who are no longer present with me in the flesh. I recentlly lost 2 women my Mom in January 2009 & my precious Sister-in-Christ Karen in August of this year. My Mom ministered to me on so many different levels, she was a Christlike example of how to persevere & endure under the worse painful circumstances as she fought a long battle with Lupus,R.A. Osteoporosis,Congested heart Failure and every morning greeted me with a smile and a hug and she had taught me the how to love others unconditionally. My Friend Karen fought a 3 year battle with Cancer an up until a week before her death she would volunteer with Hospice while going to chemo treatments. Karen always had a smile and a encouraging word for me, she taught me how to serve through my painful afflictions(fibriomyalgia,Osteoarthritis,Neuropathy and a few others.) They both left me a Legacy of Compassion and Godly Love.

  37. I wasn’t able to post a blog yesterday or today. But I do want to share that my Faith has been greatly increased by a beautiful person named Pattie , from work , who has known me for almost 3 yrs but we only became friends last November, just before my Total Knee Replacement. She called me up while I was in the hospital then and all during my recovery. She has a husband who has liver problems. I thank God for her . Today she called me while I was in Bible Study to tell me that she collected $1,000. for me to put towards my dogs needed Bladder Cancer surgery. Oh how I cried when I found that out! Strill need more but I can’t believe that she did this for me! She is also praying for us.

  38. Oh, there are too many! It’s hard to pick just one, so it’s going to have to be four, though there’s plenty more behind the scenes.

    1. Fr. Bechard (or Fr. Mike as he’s known in the King’s community): He’s a (relatively) young Catholic priest from a small town outside of Windsor and he’s the priest/chaplain at King’s. Where do I start with him? Without a doubt I wouldn’t be here as a Catholic without him. During Daily Mass many years ago (I went to King’s, an affiliated college of University of Western Ontario) I started crying a lot during the intercessions. He could tell I was really struggling internally with something. He came up to me afterward and we had a little talk. In hindsight, he was very Christ-like and that started the discernment for me becoming Catholic. We’ve been through a lot together, and when I moved out west, we both took it very hard. He’s a real touchy-feely kind of priest (in a very chaste way) and what I miss most out here is those hugs and the gentleness. I know he prays for me at least daily now, but it really is not the same. He taught me a lot, but most of all regardless of my past or present he loves me as close to unconditionally as a mortal can get in this life. We have a connection that nothing or nobody can break.
    2. Erin and Andrew Jardine, my sponsors for reception into the Catholic Church. Though we’re far apart Erin and Andrew have been incredible in their love, compassion, and sensitivity towards me through everything that has gone on. No matter what they have been so good tome. Equally in this is Andrew’s family. His family have welcomed me into their family with open arms (9 kids including Andrew, plus plenty of nieces and nephews) and the love expressed towards me within that family has more than made up for my own, which can be pretty dysfunctional at times. They’re originally from Newfoundland, which explains a lot.
    3. Sarah Paiement, a CCO missionary whom I met through CCO Impact this past summer. Through her friendship, I’ve grown to a better understanding of my own family dynamic but also of my status as the adopted daughter of the King of kings. She has been absolutely incredible and instrumental in supporting me and loving me through a lot this past summer. She may be small (she’s shorter than me and I’m 5’3″), but she’s been a prayer powerhouse on my behalf. She sees what other people (esp my parents) fail to see and loves me nonetheless and sees my soul for what it is.
    4. Lyse, Kyle, and others at CCO Impact. Lyse has been an absolute sweetheart tome this past summer and has let me talk about things that previously haven’t been brought out into the open. Kyle was the witness to my prayer of commitment to Christ this past summer. He has prayed for me from that very night and has been a support when things have gone awry. CCO Impact has been incredible as a whole as well. They see me as I am and not as a lable.

  39. Morning,
    Didn’t read all my mail yesterday and missed this but wanted to sing the praises of 16 wonderful co-laborers. (100% volunteer)
    For the past 10 years each has given their time, talents and love to the single mothers in our community. They amaze me…encourage me….and humble me by their sacrificial service.
    Thank you Lord for -Lucy, Cindy, Susan, Linda, George, Dana, Danielle, Pat, Gale, Iraida, Sue, Jill, Sharon, Karen, Bev, and Margaret .
    Thank you for in-couraging us!!!!!