About the Author

Anna is the author of A Moment of Christmas and Pumpkin Spice for Your Soul. She's worked at (in)courage since 2012, and lives in Minnesota with her husband and their four kids. Anna encourages others to look for and embrace the extraordinary moments found in their ordinary days.

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  1. Anna,
    How sweet is your son’s love of hearing you read the Bible to him! You are an awesome mom! It made me think of my times reading Bible stories to my son. For now, my son has chosen to live in the darkness. The one line you wrote really hit me…”Sometimes self-loathing, self-medicating and self-absorption can be far more comfortable than living loved.” I need the Light to break through in my son’s life. I pray for his heart to be softened, like it was as a child, and let the light of Jesus’ love enter in. Thank you for asking…what a wonderful and hope-filled post.
    Blessings,
    Bev

    • Hearing my little boy ask for his Bible really is the sweetest!

      Bev, I just prayed for your son. For his softened heart and for the light to break through.

    • Bev,

      Praying for you now and always! May God turn your son around and bring him back to Jesus!

      Father God,

      Please help Bev’s son see the light of the truth of Jesus! Soften his heart to be receptive to your word! AMEN!

  2. I need the light of compassion, mercy, and grace to break through in my heart. I need strength physically, emotionally, and spiritually to walk through a very difficult season. I ask that you pray for me to have wisdom and discernment and that I trust God and obey. Please pray for my family especially the salvation of my sons and that my daughter will truly seek God with her whole heart. She is a believer but has not been living for God and is really questioning her faith. She chose a very worldly path and is now 16 weeks pregnant and father lost and involved one day and not the next. I just need God’s illuminating love to shine through me and not the anger, disappointment, and depression that currently is.

    • I shall be praying for you. I’ve walked this path and it is not easy. After you have had a chance to grieve, process, and see Jesus, you will see hope. He will give you the love, compassion, His strength, what you need to walk like Him in obedience and wisdom. You will learn what is Jesus’ responsibility, and what is your responsibility. You will make mistakes, but Jesus also has compassion for you. I can look back after 7-1/2 years and can see Jesus’ hand and His face in this journey. I have three grandchildren, all of them unplanned by my daughter, but planned by Jesus. Jesus will change not only other people in your family, but just as importantly to you to give you hope, a future, a trust, a love for Jesus and other people that you would not have had you not had these experiences. But also you will have a heart for other people who are going through the same thing with their children because you have lived it. You will be able to hear with your heart.

      Love,

      Joanne

    • Oh sister, I just lifted you up to the Lord. Your heart sounds heavy, and I am asking the Lord to break through with His light, and that He may trade your heavy yoke for His light one. That your burdens would lift and that strength would be yours. So much love and light to you tonight.

    • Anonymous,

      I am sending prayers for you and your family now! May God bring people into your and their lives to come along side and be the comfort that you need right now.

  3. I continue to ask God to show me grace as well as give me compassion towards my husband who amadmantly told me in June that he no longer loves me and and wants a divorce. Satan is the great deceiver and he is trying to destroy my family. I am weary for the fight but know that God is walking with me in the midst of it.
    My dear sweet boys are struggling as am I.
    I am asking that God continues to give me a compassionate heart towards my husband who has sadly given the enemy a foothold. There are days that I feel anger rising and I need to let love and compassion quell the anger.

    • Trista, I am praying that you will believe that no matter what your husbands says or how he feels about you-you are the beloved daughter of God. God cherishes you and will never forsake you.

  4. Love this Anna! Love when God uses simple questions from little ones to inspire His Great Truths, to help US understand.
    Thanks for sharing!!

  5. I need God’s light to break through in my heart and emotions after divorce. I was both too much and not enough to my ex who had an affair and left me for the other woman. I struggle daily with the heartbreak and loneliness and desire healing, wholeness, and joy.

    • I have been where you are, Kerri, and I wondered if I would ever stop crying. Then one day I realized I had not cried for awhile. I have prayed for you to heal. I have prayed that God would not allow your pain to be for nothing – that it would be a place where you realized you are stronger than you realized because Christ in you strengthened you. And one day, He will turn your tears into a powerful testimony. Hang in there, Sister!

    • Oh Kerri, prayers of peace, and that joy will be yours again. Praying for exactly that – healing, wholeness and joy. That God would meet you exactly where you are tonight, in quiet tears or in a moment of being ok or in utter despair. That His love would calm your storm. So much love to you tonight, Kerri.

  6. “Sometimes self-loathing, self-medicating and self-absorption can be far more comfortable than living loved. ”

    I am feeling miserable and God has been convicting me about my weight issues for some time. This self medicating has taken a toll of my life with several chronic health conditions. I know God is calling me to live in a better place, and I am so ready to step into the light of all that he has for me, but my weight has been a lifelong issue. It is a daily struggle that I want to end. Food is a comfort to me, but so is God. I need to choose his light over my living in darkness. I’m ready for heaven to breakthrough and be all that He is calling me to be.

    • Oh Kim, these body image issues we women struggle with are deeply embedded into our souls, all twisted around with so many emotions. I too use food for comfort, and it’s one of the most difficult things in my life right now. I love that you said you’re ‘ready for heaven to break through and be all that He is calling me to be’ – GIRL. Praying you’re able to embrace that wholly, and that I will be ready to do the same soon.

  7. I am struggling with being enough for my two boys, school, etc. I am just plain tired out, and feeling burned out.

    • I so, so hear you Joanne. Those can be life-sucking feelings, and tonight I am praying that He would infuse you with a freshness of spirit and energy enough for one more day. A few verses that help when I am feeling empty are:

      Psalm 30:5 – Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning.

      Lamentations 3:23 – Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.

      Psalm 94:19 – When doubts filled my mind, your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer.

      May these bless you tonight, Joanne.

    • Pattie, I’m glad if it gave you food for thought. While I pray that you find peace in the struggle, I’m grateful to not be alone in my own struggle. Thanks for confirming that for me tonight.

  8. My son struggles with alcohol……..and the shame of it…..please pray and pray for us…..it is a devastating disease. But he is in God’s hands and He can heal him……again please pray

    • Clyda, I’ve lifted up you and your son tonight. You are right – it IS a devastating disease, one that requires such major support and healing and help. And you are also right in that God cares deeply for your son, and for you too. I’ll keep you and your son in my prayers faithfully.

  9. I’ve had a number of very difficult events happen over the past several years. Lost jobs, income, our dream home, the death of my father and best friends moving away. I would like to learn to be more vulnerable to those I trust and are close to. This is especially hard for me.

    • Robin, that is a HUGE thing to pray. Vulnerability can be terrifying, and at the same time the fruit of that risk can be so lifegiving. Praying for a smoothness in life for you, and that those that you choose to risk your vulnerability on would receive you gracefully and with such love.

  10. Thank you for this post. I’m not doing too well with seeing myself as beloved – too many details but the basis is personal failure since leaving a job over 5 months ago. I’m spending much time in the Word but it’s hard to absorb. I believe God is able. His timing is His and I wait for His help and direction…

    • Those things can be so hard to recover from, Caroline. You are so right – His word can be awfully hard to absorb, to truly believe. Hear this, love – no matter what, you are beloved. No matter where you work, if you work, or if you don’t work. No matter how you feel you’ve failed. No matter how you see yourself… you ARE beloved. You just ARE.

      I will keep you in prayer, Caroline.

  11. This is such a beautiful, heartfelt, timely post, Anna.

    “When we step into the light that is already in us, we can actually see, and the thought of that may strike quick-breathed fear into our hearts because not only can others see us when we’re lit up, but we can see ourselves.”

    Over the past few months, I have been working on being more vulnerable. Embracing it, instead of hiding it. Why do we as women feel the need to hide our true selves? We are the way God made us. He handcrafted us. Every single detail was carefully chosen – from our skin colour to our eye colour to our body type. Everything that makes us who we are, He purposefully gifted us – whether it be our compassionate heart, our wisdom, our ability to strike up a conversation with strangers everywhere we go. These are all gifts from God.

    I’ve had a number of things happen over the past year. I lost my job, had a huge argument with one of my oldest and dearest friends (things aren’t the same anymore), I’ve been struggling with financial problems. But God has been in the midst of these trials and He has used these to teach me so much. He has used these circumstances to bring me back to Him. I rely on Him and only Him now. Not on anyone else; not on myself.

    Thanks again for sharing,

    Donna

    • Thank you for your kind words, Donna. You are so right – He has carefully handcrafted each and every one of us, down to the tiniest detail! So glad you shared part of your story with us here today – thank you.

  12. These words were so encouraging to me, as I was feeling very sad about unmet expectations and then bought into words of discouragement from the enemy. I am going to stay in the light and let it fill me, so that I can shine on others who need the Light.

  13. I need a break through of love in my heart…for my husband of almost 40 years. The last 10 plus years have been the worst of his anger, impatience, rudeness and downright mean words. He thinks he’s a ‘Christian’ but doesn’t read the word, go to church etc, although he grew up in church. We went to church faithfully, bringing up our 3 children to follow the Lord, until he quit going to church several years ago. I have known the Lord for over 48 years, and am waiting for my husband to finally ‘wake up’. The Lord and His word sustains me as does church and my women’s small group bible study that I help facilitate. Our adult daughter and our two grandkids came to live with us 3 years ago, after the kids’ father passed away at 37. We’ve been their support through these very hard days, but they all know the Lord and are doing so much better. We all get along well, and Praise God, there is enough room in our home for us all – they have the downstairs for their personal space as well as the use of the upstairs (kitchen and great room, laundry etc) and my husband and I have the upstairs to sleep in. There’s no communication with my husband right now – this has been going on for years – the off again, on again ‘pattern’. We just live in the same house and don’t talk – it makes for more peace. When I do try to talk to him about us or the way he acts, he’s says hes done talking and will leave the room. He would never go to a counselor as I wanted to within the first 20 years of marriage. What bothers me the most is not that he yells at me etc, but he doesn’t care now what he says in front of the kids or my daughter. The granchildren have been through enough and they need peace and love and encouragment, not discord.
    I’m trying to pray more for my husband, that the Lord and His Holy Spirit will get through to him. But mostly I need to show love, of which, I feel there is not much left for him. I know the Lord can do miracles, because we serve a miracle-working God. Nothing is impossible for Him! I just need others to pray for my love to grow and be the person God wants me to be, not to react and lose my witness. The Spirit is willing but the flesh is weak…
    Bless you for this post – and thanks for the prayers!
    God is good.

    • Wow, Susan. You are a fierce fighter, armed with truth and His spirit. Love this – ‘we serve a miracle-working God. ‘ Indeed we do, and I’m praying a miracle over your marriage. I’m also praying that YOU would be and feel loved, deeply and clearly. God is good, all the time, even in all the even in’s. Blessings to you tonight, Susan.

    • I read your post this morning and cried. I remember sitting in tears and telling God if I was to love my late husband and provide him with care, then it would have to come through God, because I could not do it on my own. God came through and I was able to continue to do what I needed to the end.
      Have you ever thought the silence is better than the shouting. Maybe in being silent he is keeping himself under control. I pray for both of you. The Serenity Prayer was a great help to me. Try to find the entire version and print it out and post it where you can read it. God is with you. You are not alone. Blessings.

    • Susan

      Prayers for God to soften your husband’s heart now! May he give you comfort and open your husband’s eyes to see the light and change his ways!!

  14. My kids have taught me more of God’s love and care…and His precepts…than I could ever have read and studied on my own. I guess that’s just how simple my mind is. Love this post!

  15. I need Heaven’s light to shine through the dark crevices in the life of my dear friend Mark.
    Thank you

  16. I loved your post. I can’t get to worship with my church family today but now I feel like I have been as I read this and am reminded of God’s light, waiting to shine through me as it has through you in this writing. I copied and pasted a couple quotes to my memory journal for looking back.
    Yes, I struggle with the enoughs. But I am learning God loves me and calls me His beloved and because HE loves me, then I can let His love shine through to others.
    Thank you for all you do to keep this site up and going! Enjoy that time with the little boy. It will be gone before you know it…

  17. Enjoyed your message. I need to let go of the past — what has been done to me and what I have done. I often feel like I’m not enough. While reading your message about the light that lives in me, I was struck with the idea that it doesn’t matter what I’ve experienced in the past — the light lives in me regardless! I don’t have to “figure it out” or solve any of it. (Like I could anyway!) I just need to get out of the way and let it shine!
    Thank you!

  18. wow. just these past few weeks, i have transitioned from living at home to living with 5 other girls, 19 hours from home, for a whole year. while it’s been such a huge gift, it’s also been one of the hardest months of my life. i have felt like “too much” and “not enough” all at the same time…and wondered if it was even possible! so thankful that i’m not the only one. i so desire to live in the TRUTH of who Jesus says i am…and when He is gently, but firmly showing me things that need to change, it gets hard because it takes intentional time to actually admit and confess those things and put into practice what Jesus calls me to. i guess i’m just feeling overwhelmed…but so eager to follow what Jesus is leading me into with Him.

    thank you for this truth and encouragement! <3

  19. I love this, and love “seeing” you here, my friend. I need heaven to break through my anxiety and fears and condemnation, especially in motherhood. I already feel like I’m failing too many days, and with #3 coming soon, I don’t know how I will do it. Thank you for this reminder that Jesus is here, and I can let go of my failures to shine in Him.

  20. I would like a breakthrough in my job. I have a decent job with good benefits. Just don’t feel like I fit in here anymore and would like to do something different.

    Praise God I did get a breakthrough with my aging father. He is doing much better now and all medication issues are fixed.