Archives For inspirational stories

When I joined the writing group My Book Therapy, I was hoping for instruction and some online fellowship. I never realized I’d be rubbing shoulders with ladies who would so greatly inspire me to know God better. One such is Reba J. Hoffman, PhD, life coach & former missionary, with the God-given gift of encouragement, who recently set out on an epic solo bicycle journey from Florida across the US to the West Coast in order to highlight the plight of women suffering from PTSD.

As she travels, Reba will be meeting with groups and speaking out about women and violence and PTSD. Reba knows how much support women who have survived violence need because of her own experience. Here’s Reba’s testimony in her own words:


Reba and Dakota, her Waterford touring bike

“On November 5, 1984, I [Reba] was abducted in broad daylight from a parking lot by a drug crazed criminal. He’d been out of jail for less than twenty four hours. I was beaten, raped and left for dead in a remote area of North Florida. By God’s grace I survived that attack.

The broken bones healed, but I suffered Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Fortunately, I had a great medical/mental health team and was able to recover. Sadly, that’s not the case with so many women who survive violent assaults. Many are imprisoned in their homes. If they do venture out, they experience anxiety and panic.

I want to help these women find the courage to seek help. To face their fear and find the freedom they deserve. I ride for them. I ride for freedom–-theirs and my own.

I invite you to take the journey with me.Use the wisdom it brings to do something bold in your own life. I promise you that freedom lies in being bold.”

You can follow Reba’s journey and see where she and her bike are each day at this link.  

Or you can follow via her Facebook page.

We can support Reba by sharing the story of her journey and by providing prayer or financial support. (This post explains how you can help.)
Reba’s only been on the road a few days, but God has already blessed her greatly through the people she’s met! Read her heartwarming post about the third day of her trip: There Are Good Samaritans, and Then There Are Angels.
Follow this link to purchase her book Facing Fear and Finding Freedom for $2.99.

Here’s a verse for Reba (& for all of us!) Feel free to download & share. Whenever you                 see this, say a prayer for her cycling adventure!

You go before me and 7a Continue Reading…

UPDATE: A winner has been emailed!

The Bible says that the Holy Spirit living inside a Christian is like a treasure hiding in an earthen vessel. What happens when the fragile vessel housing that precious treasure cracks and breaks? The brokenness provides an even greater opportunity for God’s Spirit to shine.

Just so, my friend’s mother, who suffered from Alzheimer’s, could not remember her own name but somehow knew every word of her favorite hymns and Bible verses. Or my learning-disabled student, who could barely retain enough information to pass a class, was able to memorize Bible verses and understand biblical concepts. Or take the example of Jen Barrick.

Jen Barrick

What is Jen’s story? On the night of November 5, 2006, the Barrick family was driving home from church when their van was struck by a drunk driver. Fifteen-year-old Jen suffered multiple skull fractures and severe brain trauma and was not expected to survive the night. But against all odds, she did. As she lingered in a coma, doctors warned that if Jen ever woke up, she would be cursing and screaming in confusion due to her brain injuries.

The doctors told her mother, Linda, “Brain injury patients are agitated, confused, and in pain. Often reviving patients are violent, lashing out with arms and legs, fighting and swearing, using words you couldn’t imagine the person even knew.”

But that’s not how it happened for Jen.

Instead, she woke at 3 a.m., praying.

Though Jen could not communicate with her family beyond a few slurred words, she remembered whole portions of the Bible and every praise song she’d ever learned—and spoke them clearly.

Linda writes, “While her battered body lay in a hospital room in Virginia, her spirit stood in the throne room of the Almighty.”

Those who heard Jen’s first middle-of-the-night prayers thought God was going to take Jen to heaven right then. But Jen’s prayer gave Linda hope. “Whatever happened from now on, I [Linda] knew that Jen was the Lord’s and He had blessings to shower upon her along with great work to do in His name.”

Miracle for Jen chronicles Jen’s journey through brokenness. Though she lost much, she gained a connection with God that few have while here on earth and a powerful ministry. Jen’s story renewed my appreciation for God’s gift of life and reminded me why I can trust Him with all that I am. It would be difficult to read this book and not be changed. Here are two ways to get your hands on a copy . . .

(1) Enter this drawing. Leave a comment on this post to be entered to win a coupon for a free copy of the book. For bonus, you can “like” my new Facebook page here and then let me know in the comment you leave. The drawing will remain open until next Wednesday, April 18. (2) Follow this link to purchase the book.

***Thanks to Tyndale House for sending Miracle for Jen for me to review.

Dalit children

If you purchase the book I’m reviewing in this post, you’ll better the quality of life for one of the most oppressed groups in our world today: the Untouchables of India, now called the Dalits.

Thanks to author Randy Singer, who is donating every penny from the sale of his novel False Witness to the Dalit Freedom Network. “Singer was moved by the plight of the Dalit children, struggling to throw off the yoke of oppression and replace it with real freedom and dignity, so he committed to do his part. He believes that ‘no child should be untouchable.‘” Here’s what Singer’s press release shares about the Dalits . . .

India is a land of civil rights, in theory, but of brutal oppression, in fact—especially for the 165 million members of the Dalits, India’s lowest caste. During Randy Singer’s first trip to India a few years ago, he saw firsthand the systemic oppression of the Dalits (formerly known as untouchables) through the Hindu caste system. Singer was astonished by the fact that the world’s largest democracy was also a breeding ground for the world’s largest human-trafficking operations, that it would allow the exploitation of 15 million children in bonded labor, that it would tolerate temple prostitution and other forms of sexual slavery, and that it would foster economic and social systems that oppress nearly 25 percent of its people.”

“But there is a silver lining. A bond was formed between the Dalits and Christians.

Dalit girl

The Dalits began asking the church to help educate their children. Hundreds of schools sprang up, providing thousands of Dalit children with an English-based education (critical to landing good jobs) and newfound self-respect. The Dalits responded with another invitation: ‘If this is the Christian faith, come start a church in our village.’ The result is that millions of Dalits and other Indians are coming to Christ, drawn by a religion that believes the ground is equal at the foot of the cross.”

How can you help? You can visit the Dalit Freedom Network site to read about donating and other types of involvement. Or you can follow this link to purchase Randy’s book, False Witness.

Is the book worth it? My answer is a resounding, yes! In their review of False Witness, Publisher’s Weekly called Randy Singer the Christian John Grisham, and this novel earned a starred review from Booklist.

The tagline for the book hints at the secrets in this fascinating story: “The government can change an identity, but it cannot change a life.”

The action centers around bail bondsman Clark Shealy, his wife Jessica, and law student Jamie Brock. These characters are brought together by Clark’s association with a brilliant Indian Christian man, who created a powerful equation called the Abacus Algorithm. Federal agents and the Chinese Mafia also have a strong interest in the equation. The novel is part thriller and part courtroom drama with the deeper issues of faith, such as, Christian ethics, true justice, and mercy, thrown into the mix.

As a reader, I really appreciated how Randy Singer took a Grisham-esque plot and invested it with Christian characters whose choices reflect eternal values. And I loved seeing people of faith face down realistic contemporary villains with strength of purpose and hope for the future. False Witness and Randy Singer are high on my list of favorites!

Keep in mind that by purchasing False Witness, you’ll be treating yourself to an exciting story and helping folks who sorely need it at the same time. Two for the price of one!

Lesson for a Teacher has been added to the new short story section of my blog. Take a break, pour a cup of coffee, and spend a moment reading an uplifting story.