Thursday, 6 December 2012

A Merry Little Christmas ~ Review

Fall in love with this cozy story about two people from different worlds.
Franny Martin is an Oklahoma farm girl who’s preparing to spend the holidays alone…again. Then Charlie Landau shows up one day, all wealth and polish, and offers to buy Franny’s farm. Franny has no money to speak of, but she is clever and spirited, and she’s more than happy to sell the farm and move to the city.
As Sinatra croons from the radio and Christmas descends upon her charming farm, Franny teaches Charlie the curious and sometimes comical ways of country life. In the process, they unearth some discoveries of the heart—that sometimes love comes when you’re least ready for it. Will the holidays bring their most impossible dreams within reach?

My Thoughts:

When I saw the main character was from Oklahoma, I KNEW I would LOVE this story! Guess what... ♥ I WAS RIGHT ♥

Franny is selling her farm and the last thing she is expecting to find is LOVE... wouldn't you know it, Charlie Landau arrives and falls in love with the farm, and well,
I can't spoil it for you! What I can tell you is that, you too, will fall in love with this couple. Franny is so witty and funny and together they are a hoot!

This is such a fun read! Grab some hot cocoa and your blanket and curl up on your couch by your Christmas tree and get lost in this feel good, heartwarming story!

Devotions for a Revolutionary Year

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card author is:

and the book:

Standard Publishing; First Edition, None edition (September 4, 2012)

***Special thanks to Blythe Daniel for sending me a review copy.***


Lynn Cowell is a Proverbs 31 Speaker and Author. Her passion is empowering women to become wise and in turn, raise wiser daughters. She does this through her website at, writing articles for publications such as Focus on the Family's Thriving Family and Susie Mag, and devotions for Proverbs 31 Ministries, which has over a half a million subscribers. She loves investing in teens and adults by speaking at conferences across the country.

Visit the author's website.


Devotions for a Revolutionary Year expands on the themes of Lynn Cowell’s first book, His Revolutionary Love. In short, easy-to-read daily devotions, Lynn chats to girls about the challenges of growing up as a girl: identity and acceptance, rejection and rebellion, and self-control and surrender. Through Scripture and stories any girl can relate to, Lynn Cowell encourages girls to remember that Jesus loves them and is pursuing them every day—and that knowing his love day by day can make for one revolutionary year.

Product Details:

List Price: $12.99

Reading level: Ages 13 and up

Paperback: 384 pages

Publisher: Standard Publishing; First Edition, None edition (September 4, 2012)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0784735700

ISBN-13: 978-0784735701


Devotions for a Revolutionary Year is an AWESOME Devotional! If you like to do quiet time just by yourself or maybe looking for a devotional to do as a family ~ This would be PERFECT! Also, it would make a GREAT gift for anyone, so when you are out getting this devotional, remember to pick up a few more to give! They will thank you for doing so!



Revolutionary Love

Infatuation is a powerful thing. It has the power to make your mind, body, and heart soar. Then, faster than you can say your ex-boyfriend’s name, it can drop you, leaving you sick to your stomach.

There is something more powerful—revolutionary love. Love that is perfect, unconditional, stable. Love that is not based on what you did for it yesterday or what you can do for it in the future. This love is unlike any you’ve encountered. This love forgives and forgets the past while promising an amazing future. This love is Jesus.

If you are a girl who wants more—more confidence, more security, more hope—this is the perfect book for you.

This book isn’t going to radically change you. Only one book can do that—the Bible. My book simply gives you a diving board to help spring you into the pool of God’s Word, where you can swim by yourself!

I hope you’ve already read His Revolutionary Love: Jesus’ Radical Pursuit of You—that’s what we’re building on. But even if you haven’t, you can dive in with us now. For the next 365 days, we’re going to dig deeper into Jesus’ love letters to us. Don’t just read the devotions—I want you to get out your Bible; read the key verse each day, and read the verses before and after it. Take some time to figure out exactly what God is saying to you.

This year, we’re going to let God start the revolution in our hearts, making us radical girls who can change our world for his honor.

So glad to be on this journey with you!

Jesus, thank you for choosing us. Your love is what our hearts have always craved—the only love that can fill them. Change us. Make us radical so we can share your love with others. In your powerful name, amen.

1: How Much?

This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life.

—John 3:16 (The Message)

What was at the top of your Christmas list last year? The newest boots? Apple’s hottest phone?

If you could ask for something that money can’t buy, what would that be? Your parents reunited? Your sister back home?

What extreme measures would you be willing to take to get your heart’s desire? Move to a new city and have your family start over? Sell everything to put your sister in rehab?

Would you die?

Would you die to see their lives changed?

Jesus’ answer was yes. He thought of you and what it would take for you to have new life in him. “Yes, I’ll die to make that happen,” was his response to his Father’s request.

Talk about love! Talk about a hero!

I responded to his yes by saying yes back. Yes to receiving forgiveness and choosing his way instead of mine. Yes to having him revolutionize the way I think, act, and live.

When he died, he proved how much he wants us—me and you. The real question now is, how much do you want him?

Show him you want him too. Take time this year to go after him. Learn how crazy Jesus is about you. And become crazy about him!

Start the Revolution

Read John 3:16.

Ask: Am I ready to say yes to God’s love for me?

Jesus, I am ready—ready to find out just how much you love me and to really love you in return. Help me

to come to you each day. I can’t wait to discover

more about you! Amen.

2: Absolutely Beautiful

Has anyone ever seen anything like this—dawn-fresh, moon-lovely, sun-radiant, ravishing as the night sky with its galaxies of stars?

—Song of Solomon 6:10 (The Message)

Have you ever heard of someone choosing his wife when he’s in sixth grade? Crazy, I know! That’s exactly what Greg did! He saw a girl singing a solo in church and wrote in his Bible, “I, Greg, will marry her—to be stopped by nobody!” If only he had known . . . she didn’t even know his name!

Sounds like the beginning of a long romance, right? Not! Greg found her number. Called a few times. After a bit, the crush burned out . . . for him. Not for her. Why? She didn’t even really know him. But she had wanted to be wanted, and he at one point wanted her. You know, it didn’t even have to be Greg. She just wanted to be wanted again.

That girl was me, and that crush crushed me. I asked myself, “What’s wrong with me? My body—my flat chest? My personality or faith?” Whatever it was, I felt ruined.

Have you ever been on the wrong end of a love equation? Guy + Me = Value?

The fact was, and still is, there was nothing wrong with me. There is nothing wrong with you.

Jesus tells me I am beautiful . . . every part of me. Maybe at that time I wasn’t Greg’s type. But in Song of Solomon, a book that is often used as a metaphor for God’s love for us, we read these words: “The feelings I get when I see the high mountain ranges . . .

remind me of you, and I’m spoiled for anyone else! Your beauty, within and without, is absolute, dear lover, close companion” (7:5, 6, The Message). Jesus loves my outsides and insides! (Sounds like Greg was the one missing out!)

Don’t let any guy define you. Don’t let his rejection or acceptance determine whether or not you think you are beautiful. The Perfect Love says you are absolutely beautiful; listen closely to that truth.

Start the Revolution

Look in the mirror and say: “Jesus thinks I’m beautiful.”

Jesus, you and your love are all I want

to define me. Amen.

3: Priceless

I paid a huge price for you. . . . That’s how much you mean to me!

That’s how much I love you! I’d sell off the whole world to

get you back, trade the creation just for you.

—Isaiah 43:3, 4 (The Message)

When Prince William and Kate got married, it was like watching a Disney fairytale movie in real life. Except, perhaps, for all the press. Reporters commented on the price tag of everything—Kate’s gown, shoes, ring, flowers, etc. Until they came to the tiara.


That’s how they described her gorgeous headpiece. Given to Queen Elizabeth as a gift for her eighteenth birthday, this diamond tiara was on loan to the princess-to-be. No price tag could be put on the brilliant crown; it was impossible to replace. If it should somehow disappear, Scotland Yard would be all over London in a heartbeat.

In the end though, the tiara is still just a super fancy hat. A thing that can be lost or stolen.

That’s so very different from you. Why? Because

Jesus gave his everything, his very life, to make you his.

The girl who understands just how much she is wanted is a girl who can be fully confident—empowered to make every decision a wise one, because she knows her decisions matter. A girl who knows that she is priceless is a girl who will never settle for anything short of the best from the one who loves her the most. A girl who is sure that she is cherished and adored is a girl who no longer worries about herself; her focus is on sharing this radical love with all those she comes in contact with. You can be that girl.

Start the Revolution

Look up the price of the biggest diamond. You’re worth more than that!

Jesus—help me to get this message. Help me to

appreciate the price you paid for me. Amen.

4: You Belong

And now you Gentiles have also heard the truth, the Good News

that God saves you. And when you believed in Christ, he identified you as his own by giving you the Holy Spirit, whom he promised long ago. The Spirit is God’s guarantee that he will give us the inheritance he promised and that he has purchased us to be his own people.

He did this so we would praise and glorify him.

—Ephesians 1:13, 14 (NLT )

I couldn’t care less if Greg’s ring on my finger looked ridiculous. It made the statement: “I belong to him.” That’s what mattered.

Have you ever wanted something that said you belonged? The softball team sweatshirt? The personalized chamber music folder? Your new dad’s last name?

You do belong. Just as Greg’s class ring was my identity marker, the Holy Spirit in you can be your identity marker. His presence says you belong to the one who is perfect and who loves perfectly too!

“How does the Holy Spirit do that?” you ask.

Here’s how I think it happens. Have you ever had a sense of the right thing to do? The Holy Spirit was leading. Ever had strength for something scary? The Holy Spirit brought his peace. Ever ready to explode, yet somehow you kept your cool? The Holy Spirit brought self-control.

Sometimes we don’t recognize him; we think it’s us. Just because we don’t recognize his voice and direction, that doesn’t make it any less him.

Most things in life we belong to come to an end. You and your boyfriend break up, cross-country season wraps up, and the curtains close on the play.

Not so with the Holy Spirit. He is one who never leaves, a season without end, and a play acted out eternally. Once you receive the Holy Spirit, you are forever his.

Start the Revolution

Design an infinity symbol sticker with the words “Holy Spirit” in it.

Holy Spirit, today I’ll need something: an answer, or hope, or direction. Help me look to you and see your presence as my identity marker. I belong to you. Amen.

5: Treasured

“On the day when I act,” says the Lord Almighty, “they will be my treasured possession. I will spare them, just as a father has compassion and spares his son who serves him.”

—Malachi 3:17

The tornado ruined everything. As Kim and Brenda approached the place that had once been their parents’ home, nothing was there. No front door. No furniture. . . . No parents. Everything was destroyed.

In the days ahead, possessions of their parents began to slowly surface. Papers in a field. A quilt in a tree. Each one was a treasure to my friends because each item represented what my friends no longer had.

I wonder if God ever feels that way about his creation. When he looks at the earth where selfishness and sin rule, does he ever feel brokenhearted over the destruction that lies where beauty once was?

On that day when Christ returns to the earth, we, his followers, will be his treasured possession. When he returns to the earth, the sight of us will bring him joy and comfort. The King James Version of Malachi 3:17 calls us God’s “jewels.”

Does your life reflect that you are God’s treasured possession? When God’s eyes roam the earth, does it bring his heart so much joy to see you—the jewel among the wreckage?

Once, I would have said no. A tornado of a broken relationship left a hole in my heart. I let my problems define who I was. Learning that God treasured me brought me hope, causing me to shine like the jewel he says I am.

You are his treasured possession. Today, look at your world through the eyes of someone who is deeply cherished.

Start the Revolution

Think of someone you treasure. Tell them about it today!

Spy on your life for the next twenty-four hours. How is God telling you “You are my treasured possession”? Make these revelations your prayer of thanks to him.

6: Real Peace

The tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven to shine on those living in darkness and

in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace.

—Luke 1:78, 79

Having just left my dying father’s hospital room, I searched in vain for my car in the parking deck. Twenty-four hours of visitation left me exhausted, both mentally and physically. It was my birthday, yet there wasn’t anything happy about it.

There is no way I could have prepared for that day; it’s a strange sensation to take care of your dad. Feelings of being robbed overwhelmed me. I was too young not to have a dad.

Climbing into my car, I felt tears streaming down my face. As soon as I turned the key, lyrics from the radio spoke of a day when going to Heaven would bring our new bodies—ultimate healing.

Jesus came into my car that day. He reached down into my pit of despair. He made it clear to me that he was real and Heaven is real too.

That peace stayed through the day Dad died, the day of his funeral, and every day since. His perfect love flowing down to imperfect me quiets the fear of the future and the pain of the past.

I know there are days when you feel that life is not fair, maybe even hopeless. At times like these, when we don’t feel Jesus’ love for us, our faith can be built stronger. We can learn to depend on him no matter how we feel.

Start the Revolution

What song brings you peace? Sing it today.

Jesus, no matter how I feel, help me to remember the peace you want to give me through your perfect love. Amen.

7: Eyes on You

But the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love.

—Psalm 33:18

Isn’t it a strange feeling when someone is staring at you? Sometimes you can’t tell why. Is there something in your hair or on your shirt? You start to wonder, What’s wrong with me?

Today, my friend was staring at my mouth. Finally she said, “You have something green in between your teeth.” Ugh! How embarrassing!

Jesus stares at me too, but not like my friend! He is looking at me as one who fears him and hopes in his unfailing love. Fear in today’s verse is a good thing; it means “worship.” He looks at me because I worship him.

Verse 19 of this Psalm says his eyes are on his people “to deliver them from death and keep them alive in famine.” His eyes are on me because he wants to take care of me and keep me from harm.

Jesus is looking at you today. He is fully aware of the situation you are in. He sees you feeling so alone in school. He knows you want so much to live for him.

He knows you struggle.

But even if you completely mess up today and make everyone mad and upset, his eyes are still on you. Not eyes of disgust at your shortcomings. Not eyes rolling as he thinks, She did it again?! His eyes are eyes of love. He wants to help you. He wants to keep you alive, not just in body, but in mind and spirit too.

Start the Revolution

Have a staring contest with a friend. Jesus can keep his eyes on you forever!

Let the truth that Jesus is looking at you with eyes of love give you strength. Thank him for having

his eyes on you.

8: Perfection

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

—1 John 4:18

“There is no way he could love me.” Allison had done a lot of stuff—bad stuff. Stuff she had grown up learning was wrong, and yet she had done it anyway.

Now her friend Lindsay was trying to tell her that Jesus loved her and still wanted a relationship with her. Allison just couldn’t believe that could be true. She knew what her parents would do if they found out; they’d kick her out. If her parents would respond that way, how could she expect anything else from a perfect God?

I’ll be the first to admit it: it’s hard to understand a love that loves no matter what. We fear coming to him in all of our mess. He is perfect and holy. We are not. It’s hard to fathom that no matter what we do, he will still love us and want to have a relationship with us.

That is why his love is so revolutionary. Nothing can taint it, because it originates from the one who is perfect. Knowing he loves us this way, because of what he has done and in spite of what we have done, gives us the confidence to come to him, even when we are messed up.

It is here, living in his love, that we are forgiven, given another chance, and eventually perfected. Yes, you heard me—I said perfected. That is exactly what the Father wants to do with you. He doesn’t want to make you just OK. He wants to take away your sin—those things that drive you from him—and perfect you, drawing you to him.

Start the Revolution

Try to draw a perfect circle. Write in the circle what to do to get closer to Jesus.

Jesus, I want to be rid of __________.

(Name the thing that separates you from him.)

Please forgive me and perfect me! Amen.

9: Poor in Spirit, Rich in Love

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

—Matthew 5:3

Poor in spirit. That sure doesn’t sound like something I want to be! I want to be confident and have great self-esteem. I want to feel good about how I look, be proud of what I do, and be surrounded by people who like me. Doesn’t everybody?

Michelle shared with me on Facebook: “Society wants us to be flawless. We compare ourselves to models. Now I know that Jesus thinks I am flawless. He knows me very well. . . . I don’t need to try to be perfect for anybody here on earth, because my heavenly Father has an unconditional love that can forgive anything. That’s what I love about Jesus. He loves me no matter what. It’s hard to try to live without noticing my ‘imperfections’ . . . I want Jesus to be my everything.”

Michelle was “poor in spirit,” but this was a great place to be! Why? It caused her to reach out to Jesus. Now what does she have? Confidence and a positive outlook that cannot be taken from her. Her hope is not based on her appearance, accomplishments, or attributes. Her confidence is in Jesus’ view of her as flawless (Song of Solomon 4:7).

Let’s get this straight—we all have flaws. (Yes, even those supermodels in the magazines.) We all make mistakes. We all sin. But when Jesus looks at us with his kingdom perspective, he sees who we really are and what we can be—what we are made to be. And that is flawless.

When we are helpless to feel good about ourselves, that is the perfect time for Jesus to come in with his truth. We can move from being girls whose lives are based on this passing world to girls who are focused on what lasts forever, the kingdom of Heaven. We can go from being poor imitations to experiencing the richness Jesus has to offer. This is when we truly become radical girls!

Start the Revolution

Avoid looking in the mirror today. Just be confident in Jesus’ view of you!

Jesus, I struggle a lot with my self-esteem. I want to believe the truth—that you see me as flawless. Amen.

10: Near

But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been

brought near by the blood of Christ.

—Ephesians 2:13

Sad. No explanation. Just sad. There are times when I have wanted to climb back in bed, pull the covers up over my head, and just stay there. Because I have soaked my heart in God’s Word, it begins to talk to me: “Why are you sad? You have so much to be thankful for!” I know this is true. Yet sometimes it’s easier said than felt.

On hard days, I remind myself that although I change—my heart and mind swinging back and forth—Jesus’ love for me doesn’t. It is constant and stable.

Christ has already done all that needs to be done to draw me close to him. Whether my feelings tell me today that I am loved and Jesus is with me, or whether they lie and tell me I’m on my own and have no hope, it doesn’t change Jesus’ location. My feelings cannot move him away from me.

Paul told the Ephesians that all of us were “dead in transgressions” at one time. Another version puts it this way: “You filled your lungs with polluted unbelief, and then exhaled disobedience” (Ephesians 2:2, 3, The Message). But even when we were filled with sin, God took us in and, through Jesus’ death and resurrection, made us alive and drew us close to him again. We didn’t do anything to get God to do this for us, and nothing we do can change it. All we have to do is accept it. And if we do that, as Paul also wrote, then we are members of God’s household (2:19): “You’re no longer strangers or outsiders. You belong here, with as much right to the name Christian as anyone.”

So on the hard days, when my emotions threaten to rock my world, I can cling to Jesus who is near and tell my feelings to quit lying. I belong with him.

Start the Revolution

Use a dry-erase marker to write on your mirror: “People in this mirror may be closer to Jesus than they appear.”

Jesus, no matter how I feel, please remind me

that you are near. Amen.

11: What He Sees

You are altogether beautiful, my darling; there is no flaw in you.

—Song of Solomon 4:7

“Is it true that guys are only attracted to you because of your looks? If so, I don’t have a chance.” My heart breaks as I listen to Carly’s words. She wants so badly to have a boyfriend, to have someone she likes, like her back.

I don’t really know how to answer Carly. After all, I’m a girl too. Yes, it is common knowledge that a guy is attracted by what he sees. The question is, how’s his vision? That is, is he able to see the real value of things, or does he just see what’s on the surface? It takes some training and some maturity to be able to see properly.

There is a guy who sees with perfect vision. Maybe you have never thought of Jesus in this way before, but he is a guy who sees you as you are and knows your worth.

What does he see? We’re given a glimpse of this in Song of Solomon 4:7. “You are beautiful from head to toe, my dear love, beautiful beyond compare, absolutely flawless” (The Message). In another version, these words are “You are altogether beautiful, my darling, beautiful in every way” (NLT).

When he looks at you, Jesus sees the girl he created—his work of art! He sees the girl he died for—the girl he is passionate about! You may not feel perfect, but Jesus says you are to die for! Speak this truth every day! I know it may not help all the time (like when that guy you like walks right by you and asks someone else to dance), but if you get used to hearing the truth about yourself, you’ll believe it. And then you’ll act like a person who knows she is truly valuable—and that is attractive.

And while we’re on this topic, check your own vision. How do you look at guys? Can you see beyond face value? Practice looking at the world through Jesus’ eyes.

Start the Revolution

Check your eyes today. Are you seeing beyond the surface?

Jesus, thank you that you saw in me a beauty that

was to die for. Help me see that beauty too! Amen.

12: Let Him In

I slept but my heart was awake. Listen! My beloved is knocking:

“Open to me, my sister, my darling, my dove, my flawless one.”

—Song of Solomon 5:2

“I feel invisible. Like I’m walking down the hall every day, seeing all the people and potential in their lives, but does anyone see me?”

Can you relate to my friend? I know you want others to see you; you want to be wanted. I can’t promise you that, someday, the group of friends you long to be a part of will let you in. I don’t know if one day the guy you’re crushing on will see you and text you.

What I do know is there is one who is doing all he can to get your attention. He hasn’t passed you by—he’s calling you every day, sending you messages, knocking on your heart’s door.

You might wonder, Why doesn’t he just come in? He could barge right through—I mean, he’s God!

Unlike some guys you may know, Jesus is a gentleman. He doesn’t barge his way into anyone’s life. Forced love is not love at all. Love is only valuable when it is offered freely and accepted freely.

Revelation 3:20 says, “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him and he with me.” That’s pretty personal, at least at my house. We don’t let just any person come in and eat with us.

There is someone who sees you—someone who sees all your potential, all you were created to be. Say yes to his knocking. Stop wasting your time, thoughts, and talents worrying about people who haven’t noticed you. Focus your love energy on the one who loves perfectly in return.

Start the Revolution

Open the door to your room.

Imagine Jesus walking right in.

What do you do now?

Jesus, thank you for paying attention to me. Please come into my life and help me be all I can be. Amen.

13: For Us

What, then, shall we say in response to these things?

If God is for us, who can be against us?

—Romans 8:31

Math and I have always been archenemies. That’s no surprise; writers and numbers often don’t mix. The problem was, I had to have geometry to graduate. None of it made sense to me; I failed my first test. Handing me the paper with the red F, my teacher moved me to the back of the room. “Obviously you don’t get it, so that is where you belong.” I thought teachers were supposed to help you!

Are there days when you feel like everyone is against you? Even when you’re trying your hardest?

Been there. I’ve felt like a Tilt-A-Whirl at the fair, always spinning, spinning, spinning—trying to make (or keep) everybody happy. It was so exhausting! And worst of all, I wasn’t even sure who was the real me.

Until . . . I really got that God was for me. He wanted me, mess-ups and all. You know what happened when I got that he was for me? I stopped caring so much what others thought of me! At first, it was weird. I was so used to the anxiety of pleasing people. It didn’t take long, though, for me to enjoy the new peace!

Now, when I sense those old feelings coming up, I remind myself, “If God is for me, who can be against me?” I focus on pleasing the one who loves me perfectly, and let the Lord figure out the rest!

Start the Revolution

Say this out loud:

“If God is for me, who can be against me?”

Thank you that YOU are for me, Jesus! Amen.

14: Ugly Words

Whoever touches you touches the apple of his eye.

—Zechariah 2:8

The words on Facebook glared back at her. “You are so ugly! You are fat, annoying, and I hate you!”

Lindsay just sat there, staring at the screen, baffled. What did I say? What did I do?

Maybe this has happened to you, or in some way you’ve faced this same type of painful rejection. I recently spotted a T-shirt at the mall that read, “You’re no one until someone talks about you.” How sad! In a world where gossip fuels most of the popular TV shows, it comes as no surprise that mean defines many girls today.

How can we guard our hearts when someone makes us feel ugly?

Feeling unaccepted is nothing new. If you read through the whole Bible, you’ll find several characters who felt unloved or rejected. Even Jesus was “despised and rejected by mankind” (Isaiah 53:3).

Remembering who we are in God’s eyes counteracts the poison of meanness. When I know that I am accepted by God, I can deal with insults. How do you know what God says about you? Read it in his Word:


“My beloved is mine and I am his” (Song of Solomon 2:16).


“You’re beautiful from head to toe, my dear love, beautiful beyond compare, absolutely flawless” (Song of Solomon 4:7, The Message).


“You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession” (1 Peter 2:9).

I put truth everywhere, so I can read it over and over again. When we feel rejected, these words remind us that we are accepted. But not just accepted—we are the “apple of his eye.”

Start the Revolution

Print out some of the verses mentioned here or save them in your phone. Put them where you can see and read them every day.

Thank you, Jesus, that you are mine and I am yours. Amen.

15: Crazy Love

“Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed,

yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant

of peace be removed,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you.

—Isaiah 54:10

“Hurry! Hurry! You’ll be too late!” I shouted at the screen. You’d think I’d never seen this movie before. In fact, I’ve watched it over and over. I know the hero will come right at the last second, risking his life to save hers.

Like the girl in the movie, we want to be desired, fought for, pursued. And we are.

Our Creator pursues us. He gave up his life, paying a great price to come and rescue us.

There were times in my life when I saw Jesus as my Savior, Shepherd, and friend. But it wasn’t until I read the following verses and realized the magnitude and depth of his love for me that I saw how valuable I am to him:

Don’t be afraid, I’ve redeemed you. I’ve called your name. You’re mine. When you’re in over your head, I’ll be there with you. When you’re in rough waters, you will not go down. When you’re between a rock and a hard place, it won’t be a dead end—Because I am God, your personal God, The Holy of Israel, your Savior. I paid a huge price for

you. . . . That’s how much you mean to me! That’s how much I love you! I’d sell off the whole world to get you back, trade the creation just for you. (Isaiah 43:1-4, The Message)

He’d give up everything just for me? The whole world? That’s crazy! This truth satisfied a deep longing in my heart, a longing I didn’t even know I had. This is the love that fills the love gaps in my wanting heart and answers the question: Am I valuable enough to be pursued?

Yes, I am. And so are you, my friend.

Start the Revolution

Watch your favorite romantic movie and remember that Jesus is pursuing you too!

Jesus, thank you for giving up everything for me! Amen.

16: Wild

Be here—the king is wild for you. Since he’s your lord, adore him.

—Psalm 45:11 (The Message)

“He loved me; but did he like me?” I grew up learning about salvation and Jesus dying for my sins, so I got that he loved me. Did he like me, though? When he looked at me, was he disappointed in me? What could I do to get him to like me more?

I wish I could understand where such warped thinking came from. Maybe it’s the fake society we live in. We have “friends” who “like” us in front of us, but behind us, they are quick to tell all the ways we annoy them. Could the same be true of Jesus?

Then I discovered the truth. Even knowing my deepest thoughts, my darkest deeds, and my disappointing attitudes didn’t change his loving thoughts toward me.

He didn’t die for me because he had to; he did it because he wanted to! He did it because he is wild about me! He was on the day he died; he is still today.

In the New International Version, our verse today says, “Let the king be enthralled by your beauty.” Enthralled means to be captivated or charmed. When he looks at you, not only does he like you, not only does he love you, he’s captivated by you! He can’t take his eyes off you. He’s crazy about you!

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How do you feel about your most favorite things in the whole world? Jesus loves you like that!

Think of one thing that you think Jesus likes about you. Now think of one thing you like about him.

Make these into your prayer today.

17: Chosen

For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will.

—Ephesians 1:4, 5

“If I had known she was going to tell my secrets, I would have never become friends with her!” “If I had known he was going to dump me, I would have never gone out with him!” “If I had known that this was the way it was going to turn out, I would have never ________ !” (Fill in the blank.) Ever have these thoughts?

Just think of this: God did know exactly the way

everything was going to turn out when it came to his relationship with us—and he still created us! He knew some would reject him: “I don’t want that!” He knew others would say “Not now. Maybe after college.” He knew some would break his heart.

He also knew some would love him deeply. This is why he still chooses to put his heart out there and risk rejection. He does it again and again because he wants close, intimate relationship with us. He is willing to go through the pain of rejection from some in order to experience the joy of chosen love from others.

Why would he go through this? Because love is only valuable when love is chosen.

Jesus doesn’t need love from us; he is already complete in the relationship he has with the Father and the Holy Spirit. He does, however, want a relationship with us.

Don’t take this invitation lightly, friend. The Creator of the universe wants to interact daily and relate with you. Don’t let this opportunity for real love pass you by. Choose his deep love.

Start the Revolution

Make an invitation from God to you. Be sure to spend some extra time with him this week.

Jesus, may I never say no, or later, to what you offer me. Today I am saying yes to you! Amen.

18: Lenses

For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror;

then we shall see face to face.

—1 Corinthians 13:12

Ever seen a girl who had no idea that a certain guy was crazy about her? Let me tell you about Abby and John.

Abby is an absolutely adorable girl. One of Abby’s best friends is John. Abby and John do everything together. One day when I was hanging out with their friend Megan, she said, “I wish I had a best friend like John.”

I thought, Best friends? No way. John has it bad for Abby.

Several months later, I was with Megan when she said, “Guess what? John told Abby he’s liked her this whole time!”

“Really?!” I replied with a grin.

Abby didn’t see herself as a girl who was wanted. When she looked in the mirror, she saw a skinny girl with braces. But that isn’t what John saw at all!

A lot of us are just like Abby. When we look at ourselves, we don’t see what Jesus sees. Mirrors can distort our vision. But someday when we see him face-to-face, we’ll see in his eyes a true reflection. Until then we need to remind ourselves of the truth that Jesus sees us as beautiful and is crazy about us. Then our confidence will be built on something that can never be taken from us.

Today, look at your life as the girl in the know, like I was in the know about John and Abby. Look through the lenses of a girl who is being pursued and fought over. What does your world really look like through the lenses of one who is wanted?

Start the Revolution

Look through a magnifying glass. Remember: Jesus’ vision magnifies all the best in you.

Give me your lenses, Jesus. Amen.

19: How You’re Made

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;

your words are wonderful, I know that full well.

—Psalm 139:14

I hate the number, the one staring back at me on the scale today. I try not to care, to not let that number have power over how I feel.

But it’s hard.

I feel pressure to fit into skinny jeans, to avoid at all costs having a muffin top or flabby legs. Some of the pressure comes from society: commercials, magazines, movies, and TV shows. Hollywood makes it hard on us girls! Perfect bodies, hair, and teeth—it’s exhausting to even think of keeping up with it all.

Other days, the pressure comes from within. I look in the mirror; I see the teeth that never had braces. Would that have made me feel more beautiful? Is it too late?

It’s not just the teeth; my chest could really use some help too. And so on and so on . . .

This is where our battles take place: on the scale, in front of the mirror, in the closet. And this is where we need to fight back!

Stand on your battleground and ask Jesus for help. Consider the beauty of our Lord and Savior, and let him define for you what true beauty is. Repeat today’s verse: “I am wonderfully made!”

Start the Revolution

Arm yourself for battle. Use the sword of the Spirit—God’s Word—as you face your battle today.

Jesus, I don’t want to offend you and criticize the way you made me, but I could really use some help here. Open my eyes to show me what you see. Amen.

20: Everlasting

The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with

an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.”

—Jeremiah 31:3

Name some things in your life that are eternal. Things that never end. Pretty short list, isn’t it?

One thing on your list should be the love of God. He’s been loving you and will love you forever: before he created you, in this short gap called life, and when you leave this earth. How incredible! You would think that, since we have this kind of unending love from God, it would be a no-brainer to invest in loving him back. Even though we receive this perfect love, though, sometimes we fail. We spend much of our efforts on things that are not eternal. And so little energy returning the love that is.

In most relationships, when we don’t call or reach out and show we care, those relationships falter or even fall apart. Ever have a best friend move away or go to a different school? Relationships that are not convenient are often hard to keep.

God’s love is not like that! He keeps reaching out to us with his everlasting love, no matter what! His is not a love we should take for granted; we need to meet with him, loving him back, every day!

It can be easy to forget God in the day-to-day details of our busy lives. We allow things, both good and bad, to crowd him out. But even then his response is to draw us back; he wants us so much!

Start the Revolution

What will you do today to put energy back into your relationship with him?

Thank you, Jesus, for such a perfect, everlasting love. Amen.

21: Lavish

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.

—1 John 3:1

Whenever I read my Bible and see the word love, I just have to start digging. I guess I must be one desperate girl, because I just can’t seem to get enough.

Today’s key verse tells us that the Father has lavished his great love on us.

Lavished isn’t a word in my everyday vocabulary. says it means: “to expend or give in great amounts or without limit.”

Have you ever been squeezing someone in a giant bear hug and they squeak out “Stop!”? Maybe their love language isn’t physical touch! Possibly you’ve had a friend wish you didn’t call so much, or a guy who thought you were spending too much time with each other.

Not so with God! There is no point at which God says “OK, that’s enough,” when it comes to his love. It’s impossible for him to spoil you, so he just keeps giving and giving.

One of the ways he expresses this crazy, luxurious love is by calling us his children. YOU are the child of God! You belong to the one who owns and created everything.

Start the Revolution

Are you proud of the name “Christian”?

What does it mean to you?

Thank you for calling me your child. Thank you for adopting me and making me your own. Amen.

22: Wanted

It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, he had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall

purpose he is working out in everything and everyone.

—Ephesians 1:11, 12 (The Message)

If you read His Revolutionary Love, you know I was a stalker-type girl at one point. I schemed and planned about how I could spend the rest of my life with Greg. Here’s an example of how over the top I was. In my sophomore year I didn’t buy my yearbook. I figured that, since Greg was a senior at the same school, we would already have his copy when we someday got married! Can you even believe me? (Seriously, I either needed help or I had really crazy faith! Maybe both?)

This type of thinking can really tank a girl in the pit of self-pity. Daydreaming to the point of obsession can end up being just another reminder that you aren’t wanted!

I am so glad that Jesus took care of all that! Talk about feeling wanted! Today’s verse says that before I even heard of Christ, he had chosen me. He already had a plan in place for us to be together. He worked out all the details for how he was going to bring my life and his incredible plan together!

When we focus on this reality, that Jesus wants us and has an amazing future for us, it builds confidence in our hearts. This kind of confidence empowers us to be joyful—with or without that guy we’ve been stalking!

Find out whose you are and what you’re living for. Become a Jesus stalker! You know all that time you spend (or waste) thinking about that guy, cruising his Facebook page, reading his tweets? Just think how much more amazing you would become if you took this same time and energy and stalked Jesus! That wouldn’t be time wasted; it would be time invested!

Start the Revolution

Be a Jesus stalker today. Read his messages over and over again. Find out where he’s working, and join him!

Jesus, help me to become a Jesus stalker! Amen.

23: Undeserved

It wasn’t so long ago that you were mired in that old stagnant life of sin. . . . It’s a wonder God didn’t lose his temper and do away with the whole lot of us. Instead, immense in mercy and with an incredible love, he embraced us. He took our sin-dead lives and made us alive in Christ. He did all this on his own, with no help from us!

—Ephesians 2:1-5 (The Message)

Ever have someone be kind to you when you deserved the worst? I was in a hurry. (Then again, when am I not? I think I was just born stuck in high gear.) I hopped into my little black car, shoved my gearshift into reverse, floored the gas—and slammed right into a huge mulch pile. There, for the entire world to see, shone a new crack in my bumper.

You know what worried me most? Not the cost of the repair. Not the expense of my newly increased insurance bill. What really concerned me was my husband’s reaction. I just knew that he was going to be sooooo mad. If not that, he’d be really disappointed in me. I hated to have to deliver the bad news!

But when I finally did tell Greg, do you know what he did? He forgave me. He looked at the crack and said, “I know you didn’t mean to.”

I really didn’t see that coming! I thought I’d get what I deserved—yelled at! Greg had every reason to lose his temper, but he didn’t. Instead, he totally demonstrated the love of Jesus.

I deserve to be yelled at—and a lot more—by God. For the sins I’ve committed, I deserve death. But instead, Jesus forgives me and gives me a new life. He shows me mercy—a gift of love I will never deserve.

Start the Revolution

Who in your life needs love they don’t deserve?

Spill out some mercy on those around you today.

Show me who needs your love today, Jesus,

and let it pour out through me. Amen.

24: Measuring Up

I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power,

together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

—Ephesians 3:17-19

What rattles your confidence and pushes your insecurity buttons? My thing is being around success. Somehow, I breathe in the lie that all people are created in the same way, so we should all be able to do the same things.

I can’t stand the insecurity coming up inside me. It’s like the last time I got the flu.

What does it for you? The look and giggle as you walk down the hall. Striking out—for the third time in a row? Having a teacher read test scores out loud? All these events have something in common: comparison. We feel as if our best is being compared to another’s, and we just don’t measure up.

This shifty thing called self-esteem can create trouble, even for the most secure. It’s a trial that won’t go away, no matter what your age. So what’s a girl to do?

Base your esteem on the one constant: Christ’s love for and in you. His perfect love never changes. Here, rooted in this solid love, we can rest secure. The more we understand how endless his love truly is, the more stable we will be—inside and out.

When bad things happen—and they will, over and over again—we can keep going back to his unshakable devotion. We can return to the truth of his radical love and have it fill our aching hearts again and again.

Start the Revolution

Read today’s passage again.

Allow the truth of the depth of his love to fill your heart’s gap.

Jesus, help me remember that whatever happens today, it isn’t anything that your powerful love and I

cannot handle together! Amen.

25: Sing It

By day the Lord directs his love, at night his song is with me—

a prayer to the God of my life.

—Psalm 42:8

Don’t you love when you feel strong? There have been different seasons in my life when I have been very fit. When I was fifteen, I ran my first half marathon. I loved the ability to go out and just run and run and run. It made me feel powerful—free.

There is another time when I feel strong: in the morning. During my favorite time of the day, I spend quiet moments with Jesus. Filling my heart and mind with just what I need to make it through the day—love and hope. Seriously, sometimes I actually giggle when I’m gathering my Bible and journal. I just love it.

Nighttime, though, can be really hard. As I lie in bed, my mind swirls, pulling me into a spiral focus on my troubles. Inside my heart, a war goes on between faith and fear.

Do you ever struggle at night? Maybe you have thoughts like these: “Nobody else is home alone. Other people are out together, having fun, while I’m here alone.”

We can take a cue from David. During the day, he allowed the Lord’s love for him to give him direction. Knowing he was loved gave him the strength to make the hard choices that were the best choices. Then at night he put away all the words and hard thinking and just sang praise to God.

Start the Revolution

Choose a song to sing—a song that thanks him for his deep love for you! Sing this song tonight as you lie in bed.

Today, make your prayer a song to him—

even if it isn’t night.

26: Make a List

How beautiful you are, my darling! Oh, how beautiful!

Your eyes behind your veil are doves. Your hair is like a flock of goats descending from the hills of Gilead.

—Song of Solomon 4:1

“I am in love!” she tells you. Then she begins to tell you everything that is so wonderful about her guy:

• His smile when I walk into the room.

• His manners. He even opens my door!

• He only has eyes for me.

• He’s a guy’s guy, totally manly!

• I feel beautiful when I am with him.

At this point, you’ve probably heard enough and are trying to figure out some way to get her to stop.

There is one who does the same about you; he goes on and on. Throughout the Bible, God expresses his love for us. And one book in particular is said to reflect the love of God for his creation: Song of Solomon. It’s not hard to see just how wild about you he is. Here are some descriptions from Song of Solomon 4 (The Message):

• You’re so beautiful.

• Your smile is generous and full.

• You’ve captured my heart, dear friend.

• How beautiful your love, dear, dear friend.

He goes on and on, saying: “You’re beautiful from head to toe, my dear love, beautiful beyond compare, absolutely flawless” (v. 7).

Radical girl, if he has filled a whole book on how crazy he is about you, how about starting a journal about why you are wild about him? You’ll need a lot of pages to describe your amazing Lord.

Start the Revolution

Start a journal. Here’s a first line: I’m crazy about him because he’s crazy about me!

Jesus, I can’t wait to dive into your Word and learn just how amazing you are! Amen.

27: Hopefully in Love

You’ve captured my heart, dear friend. You looked at me, and I fell in love. One look my way and I was hopelessly in love!”

—Song of Solomon 4:9 (The Message)

Maybe you’re still having a hard time believing that Jesus is in love with you. Does your mind think Why? What’s so great about me? Possibly a lack of a boyfriend is what makes it hard for you to believe that you could capture the heart of anyone!

But you have. The picture painted in Song of Solomon is one of a King utterly in love with the object of his devotion. Let’s consider the image of two guys. First, there’s the typical guy at your school: young, immature, still trying to figure life out, insecure, selfish . . . need we go on? Contrast him to Jesus: perfect, all-knowing, and unconditionally loving—the very definition of unselfish.

Now who are you going to believe when it comes to your lovability level? That crush who is crushing you or the one who is flipped-out, madly in love with you?

Since you can see and hear your crush, it makes it easier to believe him. Seeing all the couples at school holding hands, going out, texting, tweeting . . . it makes it hard not to view that picture as the only kind of love. But if you’ll take some time to look a little deeper, you can see the shallowness of this type of relationship. Often it is filled with the “what can you do for me” mentality. Rarely is it unselfish and about the benefit of the other person.

The love that loves no matter what you do, the love that only wants to know you—that is real love.

Start the Revolution

If you’re stuck thinking you are unlovable—look again, through the eyes of Jesus.

Jesus, please fill that gap in my heart that wants a crush I can touch. You are all I need! Amen.

28: Unselfish Love

I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them

and that I myself may be in them.

—John 17:26

Jesus, speaking to his Father God in this verse, says he is going to continue what he started: sharing with everyone he can about his Father. Jesus wants us to get the depth of love that exists between himself and God.

It’s unfortunate that in the English language we have only one word for love. Love can have so many different meanings! You can love your parents, love the beach, and love going to church—all completely different kinds of love.

In the study notes of my Bible, it says that the word for love in this verse is agape. Agape love is so different from the types of love we usually live out. Agape isn’t just a feeling; it’s a choice that is made to value and treat as precious the one it loves. It’s isn’t about what’s in it for me; it’s all about how the one loving can benefit the one loved.

This is the perfect love that Jesus has for us. It’s rooted in unselfishness and is pure. Agape love is the love that Jesus wants us to have in us, so that his love can live out of us.

Start the Revolution

Choose to show love today—especially to someone not easy for you to love.

Jesus, the “love” I know depends on feelings. Fill me with your perfect agape love and give me the strength

to pour out your love on others. Amen.

29: He Fought for You

My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all;

no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.

—John 10:29

I have never been fought over. Never. Not for a team on the playground. Not between two girls who wanted to be my best friend. For sure not between two guys. Unless you count that dream I had after watching the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie. Seriously though, I don’t think that counts.

There was a side of me, like Elizabeth in that movie, that wanted to be fought over! Part of me just wanted to know that someone was so crazy about me, he’d do anything for me.

When I read today’s verse, I heard Jesus saying, “That’s me, Lynn!” Nothing is going to take me away from him, and he will always rescue me. His love compels him to do anything and everything to protect me.

Read today’s verse out loud. When I read it, I picture Jesus, on the day I gave him my life, standing up and shouting for all to hear: “This one is mine!”

I don’t have to wish that someone would fight over me, and neither do you. Jesus already did, on the cross. This was more than just a few thrown punches. Jesus fought to the death and beat Satan by a long shot!

Start the Revolution

Read today’s verse out loud, shouting it out!

Put your name in place of “them.”

Jesus, you are my rescuer! Thank you for fighting

for me then, and every day since! Amen.

30: He Got There First

We love because he first loved us.

—1 John 4:19

There is something very powerful about our first crush. I should know; mine lasted seven years . . . and then I married him!

You know, when I first fell for Greg, it was kind of weird. I mean, I didn’t even know him. That first time he called, I couldn’t put his face and name together in my mind. One thing I did know. Someone—a boy someone—was calling me, and I liked it!

I hate to admit that being wanted was my reason for letting this crush even begin. But it’s the truth. There is something almost riveting about having someone like you first.

I’m sure that is what first got me about Jesus too. As embarrassed as I am to admit that, it helps knowing that I am not the only one! When John wrote a letter to the churches in Asia, he made this statement: “We love because he first loved us.”

I guess it’s just human nature: when we are loved, we find it a lot easier to return love.

So now that you know he loves you, and loves you greatly, it’s time to spread it around. Spread it first back to Jesus and then on to all those around you. Let this love fill your heart until it can’t help but spill out. Get so full with his love, there is nothing that can hold it back. Love because he first loved you.

Start the Revolution

Love someone today, because Jesus loved you first.

Jesus, you loved me before I even knew about you.

Fill me up so I can pour you out! Amen.

31: Refuge

The Lord is good, a strong refuge when trouble comes.

He is close to those who trust in him.

—Nahum 1:7 (NLT)

There’s not a ton of hugs or snuggling going on around here; I live in a house of people whose love language is not physical touch. In fact, we just might ask you to move over if you get too close on the couch. We all love each other; we just don’t show it with slobbery kisses and bear crushes.

One of the many things I love about God is that every language is his love language. Words of affirmation, quality time, gifts, acts of service—he loves them all. And it is absolutely impossible to get too close to this one who loves you so much.

Love is vulnerable; love is open. In fact, those qualities are exactly what it takes to let this radical love of Jesus revolutionize your life. Today’s verse says he is close to those who trust in him. When you know that you are loved, it is not hard to trust. You know that the person has your best at heart each time, every time.

When we make a choice to depend on his love in our hard situations, it will cause us to draw closer to him than we were before, and he wants that! The confidence we gain from giving our troubles to the one who can be trusted will be a confidence we can rely on again and again.

Start the Revolution

Memorize Nahum 1:7.

I want you close to me, Jesus! I want to run to your strength and love again and again! Amen.

32: Rescue

Who is this, robed in splendor, striding forward in the greatness of his strength? “It is I, proclaiming victory, mighty to save.”

—Isaiah 63:1

Anyone who knows me knows I am crazy about movies set back in time, such as A Little Princess and Braveheart. Throw a little romance in there, and I am hooked!

Today’s verse reminds me of a time gone by. I picture Aragorn from Lord of the Rings, riding on a horse, rescuing those he loved from evil.

There are some days when I need someone who loves me to come to my rescue. Pressures around me threaten to pull me under. My own dumb mistakes leave my relationships in a mess. My own thoughts make me feel sad and dejected.

We don’t have to wish that we lived in a different time, with knights coming to our rescue. We live in a time when a Prince has come to our rescue, and his name is Jesus. There is no reason for us to try to pull ourselves out of our sticky situations we can’t repair. Jesus, who has all power and strength, is ready to come to our rescue. It is so simple; it just takes calling one word: Jesus.

Simply saying his name brings power into our lives. I really don’t understand it. I just know that when I feel like I can’t take any more, whispering his name brings his peace.

Start the Revolution

Say his name: Jesus.

Experience the peace of the one who rescues you.

Jesus, I can’t ever repay you for rescuing me.

Thank you for giving me your strength. Amen.

33: He Bends

I led them with cords of human kindness, with ties of love.

To them I was like one who lifts a little child to the cheek,

and I bent down to feed them.

—Hosea 11:4

How could I have messed up . . . again? Falling for that same old trap? I didn’t mean to. It wasn’t like I was purposefully trying to make her look bad.

I feel awful; the weight of sin is pulling me under. I’ll just never be who I want to be. Seeking relief, I begin to pray.

Truth comes to my rescue. Coming alongside the mud pit of discouragement that I have thrown myself into, Jesus leads me. He picks me up, whispering, “I forgive you.” He opens his arms of love wide, inviting me to come and accept his forgiveness. Yes, his heart for me is obedience, but right now, he just reminds me his care isn’t based on my being perfect.

Even as we are learning just how crazy Jesus is about us, some days our own inability to get things right drags us under. God stoops to us, loving us in a way we can understand and receive. He bends down to meet me so I can accept his perfect love.

Can you picture it? Ever see a father swing his little girl up high? In Daddy’s arms she feels both thrilled with and safe in his strength. Ever watch a father feed his child, bending to give her one bite at a time? She depends on him for food, and she trusts that what he gives her will be good. We have a perfect Father, who wants to protect and nourish us, just as we are. We don’t have to become lovable; we just have to let his love in. Jesus takes care of the changing.

Start the Revolution

When you are feeling down, run to him. Tell him how you feel, then rest quietly, allowing him to tell you how much he adores you.

Jesus, I need to know your love, especially on the days when I feel down about myself. I just can’t get enough of you or your love. Amen.

34: Different

You will be a crown of splendor in the Lord’s hand,

a royal diadem in the hand of your God.

—Isaiah 62:3

“I can’t stop thinking about my weight,” Mandy confessed. “Every time I eat, I feel guilty. Even the parts of my body that I know I shouldn’t worry about, I do. I feel trapped. I wish I had long skinny legs like other girls at school.”

My friend Mandy is slipping down the mountain of comparison and is about to hit bottom. If you looked at her, this conversation would make no sense. She is a gorgeous girl, but that is not what Mandy sees. She sees different. Different from the girls at school. Different from the girls on TV. She doesn’t like different.

I, too, have gotten caught by comparison. Friendships. Outfits. Success. I know that feeling of being trapped; maybe you do too.

I’ve found only one escape from the comparison prison: looking to Jesus. When I stop my mind from comparing myself to others and instead look to my Jesus, I am set free from jealousy jail.

God calls his people a crown of splendor in his hand. When I read this verse, I picture a royal crown, like the one worn by Princess Kate at the royal wedding. Full of diamonds, brilliant and gorgeous. defines splendor as: grandeur, glory, and brilliant distinction. How’s that for different?

Friend, God does want you to see yourself as different—a brilliant distinction from every other girl on the earth. It’s up to you to replace the lies in your mind with the truth of who you are.

Start the Revolution

Today, remind yourself: “I am a crown of splendor in God’s hand.”

Lord, thank you for making me different.

Help me to see my value as you see it. Amen.

35: Between Us

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? . . . I am convinced

that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the

present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth,

nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us

from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

—Romans 8:35, 38, 39

Why didn’t she like me? I had only dated her son a couple of times. But she let him know often how she felt—he told me! Maybe it was one of those “no one is good enough for my boy” deals. I would analyze myself. When I was around her, I tried not to be loud, used my best manners, and made conversation politely.

None of it worked. Her dislike of me caused us to break up. (That’s probably what she was hoping for!)

I am so glad Jesus’ love for us is so powerful—nothing can come between us—nothing! No trouble or hardship can separate us from his love. No mother, or any other person, for that matter!

There may be times when you don’t feel his love; in fact, you may feel just the opposite. Make up your mind today that you will believe this truth: nothing can separate you from Jesus’ love. When the time comes that you feel he’s as far away as he can be, you can go back to this day, when you planted deep in your heart this seed of truth.

Start the Revolution

Your bond with God is not like other relationships—nothing can separate you from his love.

Jesus, there are so many things I can’t count on. Thank you that you and your love can be counted on. Amen.

36: Surprises

It is the glory of God to conceal a matter;

to search out a matter is the glory of kings.

—Proverbs 25:2

Have you ever had someone completely surprise you with a gift? One year for my birthday, Greg planned the perfect surprise! Without my knowing, he had my best friends flown to our town, hid them in a hotel, and then had them sit at our table in a restaurant before we arrived for dinner. When the restaurant hostess asked us if we would mind sharing a table with another couple, I was so mad! This was my birthday! I didn’t want to share this special day with people I didn’t know.

As we approached the table, the couple’s backs were to us. I was still fuming. When I turned to sit down, I was completely blown away! There were two of the people who meant the most to me! The fact that Greg would work so hard to surprise me was really the best gift of all! It was no easy task to keep this a secret from me. He really wanted me to know that he loved me so much!

Sometimes I feel like God does the same thing; he creates surprises just to tell me how much he loves me. Since I am a nature freak, that is where I’ve discovered a lot of my surprises. A purple and peach sunset. Fog-cloaked mountains. A turquoise-covered ocean. The first time I went snorkeling I was blown away by the gorgeous treasures hidden under the ocean’s surface. Talk about God hiding a surprise!

He wants to show you just how much he loves you too! Today, keep your eyes open for God to love on you in the most unexpected ways. Remember, nothing is a coincidence! God is speaking his love to you.

Start the Revolution

Look out for God’s surprises in your day today.

Lord, I’ve got my eyes open. Show me your love! Amen.

37: No Accident

We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. For we know, brothers and sisters loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not simply with words but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and deep conviction.

—1 Thessalonians 1:3-5

I hated Valentine’s Day. Most of all, I hated the annual flower fund-raiser. When that day started though, I was hopeful. Maybe there was someone who would use this day to express how he really felt about me. First block of classes, second block, lunch. Nothing. Fourth block. . . . Then the “flower girl” glided into our room.

She called my name! I saw it—the pink flower. My heart began to flutter. Then I saw who it was from. Really? Him?

For a brief second, I allowed myself to get excited.

Then reality kicked in. There’s no way this can be true. He was popular; I was not. There’s no way he would want me. I shoved the flower down in my backpack. I feared it wasn’t real, so I acted like it never happened. Never knowing the truth was better than finding out it was a joke.

Since then I have discovered Jesus has chosen me—chosen a life for me. He has work for me to do, through faith and love and endurance. You too are chosen! You are not an accident, nor a mistake. You are a person of worth and purpose created by God, and through him you can have power and conviction.

Start the Revolution

Find out more about God’s chosen people in the Bible.

Lord, I’m trying to get it: you have chosen me and my value comes from you. Thank you! Amen.

38: Return to Me

“Return to me, and I will return to you,” says the Lord Almighty.

—Malachi 3:7

Your weekend with the girls got out of control, and you found yourself in the center of the gossip storm. The small disagreement with your parents escalated, ending in a grounding because you became disrespectful. That peck on the cheek became so much more, and now you feel shame.

Sin. It leaves us feeling awful—embarrassed and shameful.

When you sin, does God say “I can’t believe you! I’m so disappointed”? Does he turn away from us? His Word doesn’t lead me to believe that. In fact, he tells us exactly what to do when we are in this place: “Return to me, and I will return to you.”

In this passage, God’s people had been ripping him off. He was blessing them, and they were keeping it all to themselves, not giving any back to him. He instructs them on how to get back to serving him. “Return to me and I’ll return to you. Start bringing your tithe into the temple; do what is right. You take the first step toward me, and I’ll take the next step toward you.”

If you need to return to him, start by asking for forgiveness. Then do the right thing. Admit to your friends you were wrong to gossip. Ask your parents to forgive your disrespect. Break up with the boy. Return to Jesus. You’ll find he is right there, ready to have you back.

Start the Revolution

Have you turned away from God?

What steps do you need to take now?

Jesus, it is so easy to mess up. Thank you for making it simple, through forgiveness, to come back. Amen.

39: On Fire

Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm;

for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave.

It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame. Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot sweep it away. If one were to give all the wealth of one’s house for love, it would be utterly scorned.

—Song of Solomon 8:6, 7

Love is very powerful. Wars have been started for love. Families have been betrayed for love. People have died for love. That’s the power of human love.

Multiply that by a number bigger than we can conceive, and that would represent the power of God’s love for us. Love of this kind is not hot today and moved on to somewhere else by tomorrow. It has the ability to stay no matter what comes; there is no trouble that can cause God to run.

When his love becomes the thing we live for, it creates a fire in our lives—a passion that gives our lives purpose and meaning. He becomes the reason for the decisions we make.

Radical girl, you need more to live for than the next boyfriend, the next party, or the next weekend. Jesus is that thing.

Start the Revolution

Look at the images of God’s love in these verses. Paint your own word pictures. How do you describe his love?

Jesus, set your love for me as a seal over my heart. May you be the one thing I live for. Amen.

40: His Ideas

No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.

—1 Corinthians 2:9 (NLT )

Have you ever prepared a surprise for someone you loved? Weren’t you just so excited to see them completely blown away by your gift?

I knew she would love it! Her favorite band was in America—all the way from England. It might possibly be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity; so I bought her the concert tickets.

It was all I could do to keep it a secret! I told her sister, making her take a vow of silence. (I had to tell at least one person!)

Her birthday finally came. When she opened her gift, she let out a scream! She was completely shocked! (You know, it’s possible to get someone something they want, and it’s possible to get someone a surprise, but to surprise them with something they want is a huge feat!)

Those concert tickets were nothing compared to what God says he has conceived for you! The God who has access to the best of the best prepared a plan for you, and he is just waiting to bring it all together. Our lives are like puzzle pieces, and at just the right time, God brings another piece in to create the whole picture. Our part? Just keep loving and obeying him.

Start the Revolution

Give a small gift to someone just because. Think about the joy God has in store for each of us.

Jesus, all I can say is, bring it on! I can’t wait to

see the amazing love you have prepared for me.

Empower me to stay close to you so that you can bring all the puzzle pieces together. Amen.

41: Because

But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—

it is by grace you have been saved.

—Ephesians 2:4, 5

Because. There’s a word we use all the time. “I can’t pick up my bedroom, because I am doing my homework!” “I ate the last piece of cake because I wanted to!” Because.

A lot of the time when we use that word, it’s pretty empty. It’s a signal of an excuse coming up—and usually an illegitimate excuse. Or maybe just a reason without any explanation: “Because I said so.”

But in this verse, because isn’t empty. It’s full of purpose, of meaning, and of love.

Because of love. Because of love, when God looked at us, he chose to make us alive. Because of love, he chose to send Jesus. Because of love, he gave us new life. Even though there was no reason in us to do it.

It’s your turn now. Your turn to say because. Because he first loved me, I live my life for him. Because he first loved me, I choose to honor him. Because he first loved me, I choose his way and not my own.

Start the Revolution

How do you use the word because?

What will you do because of God’s love for you?

Jesus, you offer me everything.

Help me to give you my everything in return. Amen.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

The Way of Grace ~ review

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card author is:

and the book:

WordVessel Press (September 25, 2012)

***Special thanks to Cathy Bryant for sending me a review copy.***


 Cathy Bryant is the author of the Miller’s Creek Novels—Texas Roads, A Path Less Traveled, and The Way of Grace. Her desire is to write heart-stirring stories about God’s life-changing grace. Though Texas-born, she currently resides in the beautiful Ozark mountains of northwest Arkansas with her husband of thirty years and near the world’s cutest grandson.

You can learn more about her and her books at and


In pursuit of justice, in need of grace . . .

A justice-seeking perfectionist pursues her dream of a perfect life in her hometown of Miller’s Creek, Texas. Sidetracked by the desire to be a prosecuting attorney, Grace Soldano launches into uncharted waters, making herself over to please her boss and mentor. Then a disheveled free spirit turns her perfectly ordered world upside down, challenging the concept of personal goodness. A fall from perfection leaves Grace teetering between vengeance and grace, caught in a deadly crossfire that leaves her dreams in a heap of ashes. Can she learn to joyfully accept the life God has given her–far from perfect–but one completely immersed in His grace?


I am a HUGE FAN of Cathy Bryant and I LOVE her Miller's Creek novels! The Way of Grace was no exception!

Grace is set out to prove something to herself, her family, and those she meets along her journey. She hopes to be the BEST attorney out there and wouldn't you know it, the opportunity "presents itself" to be mentored by one of the finest female attorneys Grace knows! She decides to leave her current job, and boss, who has been so much more than just a boss. He has supported Grace in more ways than she can even count, BUT there are times when you just have to do what it takes to make your own dreams come true, right? Grace thinks so, and accepts the job. She is beside herself and is willing to do anything and everything she can for her. That is, until....

Well, I can't spoil it for you!! **grin** The Way of Grace is EXCELLENT!! AWESOME!! One of those books that you will take EVERYWHERE, AND lose sleep over, because you just don't want to put it down! Grace learns so many valuable life lessons and she comes face to face with her stubbornness and pride. But along the way she finds Grace of her own, from her Heavenly Father, and from that special someone, who loves her despite her continual rejection.

Thank you Cathy! For sharing your gift of writing with those who are blessed to read your books! I love traveling back to Miller's Creek any chance I can!!

Product Details:

List Price: $12.99

Paperback: 318 pages

Publisher: WordVessel Press (September 25, 2012)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0984431144

ISBN-13: 978-0984431144


A car horn blasted through the summer evening air, followed by tires screeching against pavement and the rancid smell of burning rubber. Grace yanked her head in Mama’s direction. The noisy blast continued as a car bore down on them. Everything went pitch black as Mama’s piercing scream joined her own, followed by a deadly thud.

Heart racing, Grace jerked awake, forcing herself to a sitting position. The same old nightmare. She brought both hands to her face and gulped in air to slow her pounding pulse. Why now? She’d endured the last year of law school and the bar exam without memories of that awful night plaguing her. But now that she was back in Miller’s Creek to work for Tyler, Dent, and Snodgrass as a full-fledged attorney, the dream shattered her sleep for the fourth time in a week.

Grace pulled her hands away from her face—almost afraid to find them dripping with blood—then glanced at the alarm clock on her makeshift nightstand. 5:15 in the morning. She flopped back on the bed and stared at the dark nothingness above her head. There was no way she’d get back to sleep now. Might as well get an early start.

A sudden rush of excitement coursed through her veins. All her hard work had finally paid off. Now it was time to enjoy herself for a change  and initiate her life plan,  which included a stellar career, new house, Mr. Right, and of course, children.

She removed the band that confined her hair and gave her head a shake. Better to just focus on her career at this point, her best chance at proving her worth—to Papa, to the people of Miller’s Creek, and to Mr. Right, whoever he was.

The cold floor beneath her bare feet sent shivers rippling through her body as she raced down the hallway to the tiny kitchen to make a pot of coffee for Papa. Within a few minutes the coffee machine gurgled and the fresh-brewed aroma permeated every square inch of the house. She was just about to head for a shower when Papa entered.

“You’re up early.” His eyes held questions.

There was no way she’d tell him about the nightmare. No need to cause him worry or pain. “Just excited about this being my first day as an attorney.”

He wandered past her to pull a coffee cup from the cabinet. “It’s all you’ve talked about for weeks.” He droned the words, his voice flat.

Grace rolled her lips between her teeth. It would be nice to have a word of congratulations--anything to recognize her hard work and achievement--but wishing for it wouldn’t make it happen. Instead she sent a sad smile. “I’d better get ready for work.”

She hurried down the hall to the only bathroom in the house and turned on the lights and the little space heater Papa had hung from a nail protruding from the paneled walls. The power cord snaked behind the sink faucet before finding the overloaded outlet—an electrical disaster waiting to happen, but Papa’s way of making do with what he had.

The pipes groaned in protest when she turned on the faucet and waited for the water to get warm. Living with Papa and his stony silence would definitely be the hardest part of her plan, but it would have to do for now.  With her brothers and their families now in South Texas, it was her only option.

An hour later, she stepped once more into the kitchen, dressed and ready for work. Grace reached for the spiral notebook that served as her daily planner and checked off the tasks she’d already completed. Start laundry. Check. Make bed. Check. Bible study and prayer. Check.

Millie, the stray cat she’d taken in years ago, butted her head against Grace’s leg, begging for attention. She squatted to scratch the fluffy feline behind the ears. “How’s my kitty?”  Grace scooped the cat into her arms and hugged her close. How would she have survived Mama’s death without the perky ears always willing to listen?

The back door swung open. Dressed in his heavy brown coveralls, Papa entered, and brought with him a gust of cold air and the smell of cows. He didn’t say a word, but ambled past her to the kitchen sink to wash his hands, his dirty work boots clomping against the old wooden floor, his face devoid of a smile.

She wrinkled her nose, dropped Millie to the floor, and brushed cat hair from her black skirt. Long gone were the hopes that her father would be proud of her for becoming an attorney. “Through with the chores?”

He continued to wash his hands without looking her way.

Grace forced her hurt feelings aside, her mouth suddenly dry. She should be used to his emotional distance by now. “Papa, I know you don’t approve of me being an attorney, but—”

He held up one hand for silence, his back still to her, water dripping down his sleeve. “Enough, Graciela. I don’t want to discuss this anymore. You made up your mind to disrespect my wishes long ago.”

His displeasure hanging like dead weight around her neck, Grace blinked back tears and picked up her old book bag. It was way too early, but she might as well go to work. She’d grab a pastry at Granny’s Kitchen on the way. No, on second thought, it wouldn’t hurt to skip breakfast. That way she’d save money and inch toward losing those last few pounds she’d gained while studying for the bar. Without another word to Papa, she slipped out of the house, climbed in the battered old farm truck, and headed to the office.

A late autumn fog engulfed downtown Miller’s Creek, and the two- and three-story hewn-stone buildings rose above the mist, silent sentinels observing the march of time. The buildings had seen over a century of use, and thanks to the grant bestowed on the town while she was in high school, had been lovingly restored to their former glory.

Though early November was a little early for Christmas decorations, Miller’s Creek had them up well ahead of time for the tourists who would pour into the historic town square for shopping. Already the old-timey street lamps were festooned with lighted wreaths, while greenery draped the Victorian gazebo and lights twinkled from Christmas trees placed throughout the square.

Gravel crunched beneath the pickup tires as she pulled into the parking lot of Tyler, Dent, and Snodgrass and turned off the headlights. She let herself in the back door and flipped the switch. As the fluorescent fixture flickered on and hummed, her earlier joy dissipated. This should be a celebration—the day for which she’d toiled to bring purpose from her pain—but somehow it felt common and ordinary. No balloons or flowers. No party. No pat on the back or word of congratulations.

She shook of the self-pity and moved to her cubicle to make sure everything was in its place, then instinctively pulled a Bible from her bag and ran her hand over the well-worn cover.

Lord, You know how my heart hurts this morning. I miss Mama and I don’t know what to say to Papa. Help me be all You want me to be. Lead me in Your Way. Give me an open heart and mind to receive Your truth.

As she thumbed through the whispering onion-skin pages, her Bible fell open to Romans. A verse she’d underlined some time before caught her attention. Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand.

Enough grace to stand in. Was it even humanly possible to be a person of grace? She slanted her lips as she pondered the question, but finally gave her head a shake. True grace was motivated by the purest love, and maybe it was just her, but she doubted she could ever love someone that much.

The thought troubled her. God commanded her to love others as she loved herself, but some people made that seem impossible. Maybe something inside her was broken and malfunctioning. Perhaps her childhood left her incapable of loving like she was supposed to.


She jumped at the unexpected noise then sat motionless, her ears tuned to the tiniest noise. More thumps sounded from the basement.

Her pulse raced at the possibility of an intruder. In Miller’s Creek at this hour of the morning? Not likely. Maybe Andy had spent the night in the basement apartment because of working late. She stood and tiptoed to the narrow stairs leading to the basement. That wasn’t likely either, especially with a newborn at home.

The noise continued. “Andy?” Grace made her way down the darkened steps. If it wasn’t him, at least maybe her voice would scare away a potential burglar.

She glided noiselessly across the large carpeted room. “Andy? Is that you?” Grace jiggled the door knob of the small studio apartment. Locked. Now what?

Perhaps she should call the ranch to see what Andy wanted her to do. She started back across the open space toward the staircase to place the call. But before she’d made it even halfway, the overhead lights sputtered on.

“Well, well, if it isn’t Gracie Mae.”

She spun around, one hand to her pounding heart, a tinny taste in her mouth. Matt?

He leaned against a wall, one stout leg crossed casually over the other, his arms overlapped. An enigmatic expression rested in his sandy brown eyes, and though his hair was damp from a recent washing, his rumpled T-shirt and jeans looked as if he’d slept in them. In the time since she’d seen him last, he’d cut his hair so short there was no evidence of the curls she’d always admired, and he’d buffed up, more muscular and lean than before.

Grace squashed the motherly instincts that rose within her at the sight of his wrinkled clothes. That’s what landed her in trouble with him the first time, and she wouldn’t fall for it again. A man like Matt, one with wanderlust in his blood, wasn’t the one for her. “What are you doing here?”

He released a short laugh. “Shouldn’t I be the one asking you that question?”

“I passed the bar and—”

“Yeah, Andy told me. Congrats.” He made his way to where she stood and came to a stop a few uncomfortable feet away. “But that still doesn’t explain why you’re here so early.”

She shrugged and turned toward the stairs. “Couldn’t sleep. See you around.”

Before she reached the first step, Matt blocked her way, the soft scent of shampoo clinging to his damp hair.

“Still running away from me?” Though he spoke the words softly, his tawny eyes held a challenge.

Her hands balled into fists. A million retorts built up behind her clenched lips, but she held them at bay. She wouldn’t give him the satisfaction of seeing that his words affected her in the least. With great effort, she uncurled her fingers. “Nope. Just going back to my desk to get started on some work.”

His posture went slack, and he sent an apologetic grin. “Sorry. Let me start over. Had breakfast yet?”

A rumble sounded from her stomach. “If that’s an invitation, I accept.” The reckless words were out before she had time to reconsider. What was she thinking? She’d shut this door over two years ago, a door that needed to stay shut. Nonetheless, she’d agreed to breakfast, and she’d follow through to prove she wasn’t running away.

They crossed the room together, and Grace threw out a question to fill the silence. “Have you been working out?”

“Yep. Even joined the wrestling team at school. It’s been good for me.”

Grace followed Matt into the apartment and glanced around. In characteristic messy-Matt style, a spread-out newspaper, microwave popcorn bag, and an almost-empty glass sat on the coffee table, while a pillow and blanket hung off the couch. A duffel bag on the floor spewed its contents, bringing an odd rush of disappointment. “Just in town for one night?” Typical.

“Don’t really know at this point.” He offered no further explanation, but moved to the kitchenette fridge and removed the makings for an omelet. “So what’s next for you?” With deft movements, he prepared the meal, the chopped onions burning her eyes. “Last I heard you were going to get your career going before looking for your soul mate. Still searching for Mr. Perfect?” His voice held a hint of bitterness.

She lowered her gaze. “Look, Matt, about our conversation two years ago. It wasn’t personal. I just needed to focus on one thing at a time. My law school had to come first.”

“Agreed. As I recall, I never tried to suggest otherwise.”

“No, but I sensed you wanted more from me than I was prepared to give at the time.”

He seemed to accept the answer. “But you have to admit, I don’t exactly fit the image in your head.”

Grace froze. How was she supposed to answer that? “And what image is that?”

“Smart, well-groomed, wealthy, professional, handsome.”

Her eyebrows rose. He’d pretty much nailed her must-have list on the head. In fact, he’d perfectly described one of Andy’s new partners, Jason Dent. The only problem was that guys like Jason didn’t give girls like her a second glance.

A knowing smile touched the corners of Matt’s mouth, but to his credit, he dropped the subject. “So you still haven’t told me why you’re here at such an early hour.”

“That’s because you didn’t ask nicely.”

His boyish chortle took her by surprise and set off unexplainable emotions. He glanced up from the cutting board. “True. How’s this? Nice to see you again, Gracie. What’s a nice girl like you doing in a place like this so early?”

To her chagrin, a traitorous laugh bubbled out. She cut it short and shrugged. “I woke up and couldn’t go back to sleep, so I decided to come to work.”

A frown wrinkled his brow. “How come you couldn’t sleep?”

She hesitated, considering how best to answer his question. Might as well tell him the truth. He’d always been good at dragging it out of her anyway. “Nightmare.”

The lines on his forehead grew deeper. “Same one?”

She averted her gaze and nodded.

“Have it often?”

“Not as often as I used to, but for some reason it’s woken me up several times this week.”

He whisked the eggs into a frothy mixture and poured it into the sizzling skillet, but didn’t speak for a moment, as if thinking through her comment. “Might be the stress of starting a new job.”

“But it’s not really a new job. I’ve worked for Andy off and on since I graduated from high school. You, of all people, should know that.”

A wry grin curled one corner of his mouth. “Yeah, but now you’re an attorney. That worrying you any?”

She deliberated on the question. Drat! He’d done it again. How could he always discern what was bothering her?

“That’s it, isn’t it?”

The self-satisfied smirk on his face gave Grace the urge to whop him upside the head. “So what? That’s what you’re learning how to do, isn’t it? Figure out what’s eating people?”

“Yep.” He added the omelet toppings, and folded it over effortlessly. “Now the next question. Why does it bother you so much that I figured it out?”

Grace seethed inwardly. Why indeed? Maybe because it made her feel like she needed him, and she didn’t want to need him.

He moved next to her, the hot skillet out in front, and stopped, his face inches from hers, his eyelids half-closed. “Don’t worry, Gracie Mae. It’s okay that someone has you figured out. Trust me, it’s a good thing.”

“I don’t think anyone has ever been able to make me as angry as you do, Matt Tyler. Ever!” Grace pelted the words through tight lips then moved toward the door.

Once more, he blocked her way, holding the simmering omelet, the tantalizing aroma teasing her nostrils. “There you go again, running away.”

Rage exploded within, but no way would she dare give him the privilege of being right. She sent a close-mouthed smile she didn’t feel and turned to take a seat at the small table.

Matt tossed a pot holder to the table and set the pan on it, then procured two plates and glasses from the cabinet. “Still like chocolate in your milk?”

Yes, but he didn’t have to know it. “No. I’ve outgrown that childish habit.”

He cocked one eyebrow and poured two glasses of milk, dousing his with a healthy dose of chocolate syrup.

Grace turned her head and looked the other way, fighting her chocolate craving by reminding herself how much she hated her thunder thighs.

Matt took a long slurp from his glass, then released a satisfied sigh and licked his lips. “Man, there’s nothing better than ice-cold chocolate milk.” He sat his glass on the table and divided the omelet before delivering a portion to each plate. “Mind if I bless the food?”

“Not at all.” She bowed her head. At least one part of his life seemed headed in the right direction.

After he finished the prayer, Grace pulled a napkin from the holder and laid it in her lap, then forked into the omelet, cheese squeezing out from between the fluffy layers. A few minutes later she wiped her mouth and glanced up to see Matt staring at her with the same indecipherable look in his eyes.

“So if you woke up early, why didn’t you eat breakfast at your house?” Matt took another swig of milk, his eyes never leaving her face.

“No reason, really.” She shifted in her seat. At least none she wanted him to know.

“Your dad still pressuring you?”

“What do you mean?” Grace scooted her chair away from the table and stood with her plate to carry it to the sink.

Matt took hold of her arm as she whisked by. “Running away again?”

She jerked her elbow away. “No. Just cleaning up my dishes.”

“I’ll take care of it later. Have a seat.”

Grace unwillingly acquiesced. “Papa means well. We just have different opinions of what I should do with my life.”

He studied her face for a long, uncomfortable minute, like he wanted to say something, but wasn’t sure he should say it. Finally, he widened his eyes and changed the subject. “So back to the attorney thing. Any thoughts on why it’s bothering you?”

“Matt, you’re not a therapist yet, and I’m certainly not your client. Don’t feel like you have to analyze me and figure out all my issues. Nor should you feel obliged to fix me.”

His eyes widened again, registering hurt. “Just trying to help.”

She took in the sincerity inscribed on his face. Why did he have to be so darn likeable? Grace raised her gaze momentarily, focused on a cobweb dangling from the ceiling. And how was she supposed to talk about this with the brother of her boss? “It’s not easy to explain.”

“Try me.”

“Okay, but you’d better not breathe a word of this to Andy.”

A teasing light flickered in his eyes. “If you’re not a client, then you have no client privileges.”

Grace wadded her napkin and tossed it at him.

He caught it effortlessly in mid-air and laughed.

She pointed a finger at him. “I mean it, Matt. Promise.”

“Okay, okay.” He waved his hands, chest high, in surrender.

She inhaled a deep breath, the lingering smell of breakfast still in the air, and rubbed her arms. “You know I’ve wanted to be an attorney ever since Mama died.”

“Yeah. Go on.”

“I just didn’t see it working out this way. I thought I’d be a prosecutor.”

“So you feel like you’re working for the wrong side of the law?”

Grace nodded. “I love Andy like a brother, and owe him so much. I wouldn’t be an attorney if it weren’t for him.”

“But you feel obligated to work for him when your passion is to put the bad guys behind bars.”

“Exactly.” She gave her head a shake at the conundrum. “And I don’t know what to do about it.”

Matt placed his elbows on the table and rested his chin on his laced fingers. “Maybe you’re looking at it all wrong, Gracie. You’re focused on the situation rather than why you feel the way you do. Have you stopped to think about why you want to be a prosecutor?”

The reason flew into her brain instantly, and she straightened. “I guess for Mama, to keep someone else from going through this, and to achieve justice for others.”

“To avenge her death?” The question was half-whispered, but even then sounded cold, almost un-Christian. “Don’t overthink it, Gracie.” Matt’s tone held warning. “I see your brain spinning from here. Don’t try to assign meaning and morality to your motivation. Just accept it and move on from there.”

“But it does explain my nightmare.” The agitation in her voice surprised her. “Don’t you see? It’s as if Mama’s trying to remind me of that night so I’ll make the right decision. Maybe I need to look for a different position, one that’ll put me on the prosecution. Maybe I’m not cut out to defend guys I don’t completely trust.”

“Whoa, girl, you’re gonna strip some gears bouncing around that fast.” He stood and moved to the sink with his plate, nabbing hers as he passed. “When it comes to life, A plus B doesn’t always equal C. It’s just a jumping off place. Give it some time.”

There it was again. Matt and his “lo que será, sera”-approach to life. “You would say that. You want me to work for Andy. He’s your brother.”

The dishes Matt carried crashed into the sink, and he made a quick trip back to the table. “That’s not at all why I said what I did. Just think through things a little more carefully. I don’t believe your mother’s trying to communicate with you from the grave, and neither do if you think through it.” He softened his demeanor. “But the dilemma you’re facing is enough to make you dream about the accident.”

“Think through it? That’s the best advice you can give? A minute ago you were telling me not to overthink.”

An exasperated sigh fell from his lips. He squatted near her chair, enclosed her hands with his own, and gazed up into her eyes. “Gracie. It’s me, remember? I know you. Don’t stress and worry about making the right decision. Pray about it. You belong to God. He’ll put you where He wants you.” His smile grew tender. “And I have no doubt that you’ll be an awesome attorney, no matter which side of the courtroom you sit on.”

Tears stung her eyes, and she blinked furiously to keep them at bay. How good it felt to have someone offer encouragement—to remind her God was in control—even if it were Matt. She lowered her gaze to collect herself before glancing back up at him. “Thanks.”

He helped her to her feet and moved close to embrace her in a hug, the scent of his cologne toying with her frazzled emotions.

Grace sidestepped and reached for her glass. There was no way she’d let this move past a friendly level. He was more than likely here for a short time. Then he’d be off chasing his fantasies once more.

She deposited the glass in the stainless steel sink with a clunk. Besides, she had her life plan to think of—a plan that didn’t include a gypsy like Matt.