About the Author

Lisa Leonard is mom to two boys, David, 13 and Matthias, 12 and wife to Steve. In between school and work they spend their time playing outdoors on the central coast of California, eating chocolate chip pancakes, tapping tunes on the piano (David) and choreographing elaborate light saber duels (Matthias)....

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  1. Lisa,
    After being in a verbally and emotionally abusive marriage for 26 years I believed that I was unworthy of being loved. God has so blessed me with a wonderful man who loves me as unconditionally as is humanly possible. He cherishes me and is a true example of how Christ loves. He is my protector and for that I am exceedingly grateful. Thank you for encouraging me to put words to my feelings this morning…
    Blessings,
    Bev

  2. I can truly relate to David & his mother’s relationship. I understand why he was hesitant to meet new people, go to school, etc. You see, I am physically disabled from birth & mentally ill since 1989. I was born with one leg not fully formed.When I was small, I barely paid attention to my differences to others. At 7, my foot was amputated. I got around as well as any whole-bodied child, & better than some. But, I hated being stared at. My mother was so wonderful & encouraging to me. She made me feel special. In 7th grade, my self-consciousness overcame me. I had the doctor write a note for me to get out of gym. I loved gym, but didn’t want to wear the shorts. From that time until I was around 30, I only wore long pants, even in unbearable heat. I hated summer. I ended up in a support group for people with mental illnesses, & during group therapy, was encouraged to wear shorts. The day that I finally put on some shorts, I was so excited. I finally broke through the bondage of fear & shame. Now, I wear them whenever I can, & don’t even look at others to see if they’re looking at me. I have a life where I’m comfortable in my body, & don’t often worry about what others might think. God has been so good to me. I could write a book about all of my difficulties, dangerous situations, emotional problems. BUT, I haven’t had a depression or manic high for 4 years, which has helped me to be able to support my ex-husband/friend as he fights cancer. Thank you, God, that he is in remission…almost 5 years, for the 2nd time. God is good. God bless you all.

    • Thank you for sharing your encouraging story of God being glorified in your life. He truly uses broken vessels for His glory!

    • Wow, Debi, thank you for sharing a bit of your journey. What an incredibly unique and beautiful person you are. To break the bondage of fear and shame is to live fully. I often say that David wears his brokenness on the outside, but each of us is broken. Each of us is imperfect. Each of us is loved. Hugs to you!

    • Debi,

      What a brave and caring person you are, thank-you so much for sharing your remarkable journey with us.

      Blessings to you and to your ex husband in his remission..

      Penny

  3. Thank you for this post. I needed to read it exactly when I did. God’s timing is always perfect.

  4. Beautiful words. Filled with happy tears for the grace gift of David’s teacher who sees him, and the way your words help us all know that God sees us. Free but costly. I’m struggling with that second part today in a significant relationship in my life. But I know you are right. Love is always worth the investment…because He first loved us. Thank you, sweet Lisa.

    • Some relationships are more complicated than others and there are no easy answers. Sending you a big hug today Becky. Praying God Will give you insight into how to love this person well. xx

  5. Lisa,

    It was so sweet to hear how David is bonding with his teacher and how good she is to him.

    I am more than grateful to those in my life that are and have been with me unconditionally. And throughout I know that the Lord has been the biggest supporter of all.

    Thank-you for giving us the opportunity to share this,

    Penny

  6. Lisa you are beautiful and loved. I may never get to meet you but want you to know you make a difference in my life. Every morning I look forward to reading your blog. I love your style but more I love your wisdom. David has given you so much. He has made your heart overflow thank you for sharing your true heart. The good the bad the ugly. Bless your amazing family.

  7. I so needed this today (yea God’s timing). I have been struggling in relationships and this is the encouragement I was needing. Thank you!

  8. After a disastrous 2nd marriage, I shut my heart down. I told God that it hurt too much and I shut it down. And He showed me in a dream one night that if you shut down your heart to pain, you can’t feel the love either. And He opened the door and let me back in. I had shut the door and He opened it back up. Thank you God!

  9. What a wonderful story! What a blessing to my heart. Thank you! Yes, love is costly, but it is worth it. I am also very glad God loves me no matter what!

  10. So beautiful. Thank you for sharing. “Love requires time, energy, and honesty. It means giving when the other person doesn’t give back. Love pours out all it has to show others they matter.” Love this- thank you.

  11. “Love is free but also costly.” So very true. Love your stories of David. My son, Joshua, was born with Down Syndrome. He’s almost 29 years old. I can relate to many of the emotions you share, because I love him so much, I think my heart will burst…and I just want everyone to feel the same way about him! And I’ve also felt, at times, like my heart would break with the heaviness of it all. Thank you for your honest and vulnerable posts. You are such an encourager. 🙂

    Blessings. 🙂

  12. I have started a project called “The Valentine Card Challenge”…the purpose is to spread God’s love to the imprisoned orphans of Uganda. It has been beautiful to see God work!! My goal is 1400 cards by February 14th. Only two weeks into this, He has provided almost 1,000 cards.

    I can’t begin to think of a more joyous thing in the Christian walk than to be a vessel of God’s love!

  13. Dear Lisa,

    So many people have loved our family! And in a way, you have too — you’ve shared your story with so many who needed to hear it, and provided much-needed encouragement along the way. My son was born in July 2013 after a perfect pregnancy. He was born blind in his right eye. Getting the news the day after he was born was traumatic and unexpected, and wasn’t the introduction to parenthood that my husband or I anticipated. We were moving through a fog our first couple weeks home (even more than the usual newborn fog!). I remember so clearly that the first time I logged on to (in)courage later that week, your story about David’s birth and disability was at the top of the blog. I consumed your writing like it was water in a desert! The challenges your family faced scared me a bit but also gave me hope for what our family’s future would look like. I have no doubt that God led me to your writing when we needed it the most!

    Our son is doing well now, but it turned out that his vision problems were not the biggest issue. He’s 18 months now and still not walking or crawling, and has some intense sensory issues. But he is the sweetest, most special little guy. I’m waiting eagerly to see how God will use our son in his redemptive story, whether we learn that on this side of eternity or not. Lisa, thank you for courageously and transparently sharing your family’s story to give all of us hope!

  14. Thank you so much for sharing this post and truly said it costs time, energy and honesty. I am renewed and strengthened and thank Jesus for His unconditional love. We can relate ourself everyday to this posting and invest love in someone’s life who needs it for the dividend is bountiful.

    God Bless !!

  15. These are encouraging words, Lisa. We are preparing to foster and adopt and I am excited but so terrified to love these children…excited because Jesus loves these children so much and terrified because I am so completely selfish. But God, in His grace, is giving me continual reminders that loving is indeed the best investment. Thanks for providing one of those reminders.

  16. Lisa,
    What a heartfelt story! I am so glad David finally opened up and liked school!
    I feel like you do. I want the whole world to know of Christ’s love. I want to encourage the discouraged, cook meals for friends with family in hospital, send cards, etc. The world needs people to love them and shower them with God’s grace and mercy!!
    To many people are going through life with problems and you never know when a kind word or a smile will help lift someone’s spirit!
    Blessings 🙂

  17. Thank you for sharing everything you do, it truly fills my heart with goodness, joy & God. I pray for your family & especially David, I do not know him, yet I know I love him. Many blessings!