The Echo (#jammed daily devo, day 53)

February #jammed: Dunked in Grace 

Day 53: Breathe in the echo.

“Until I get there, focus on reading the Scriptures to the church, encouraging the believers, and teaching them.” 1Timothy 4:13post-image-54

Small spaces have remarkable echoes. I like to whistle in those places, or sing, because the reverberation off the walls makes my voice sound different …better, I like to think. Although, it doesn’t take much to improve upon what I’ve been blessed with.

When we sit in the quiet with God, big spaces become intimate places. When we give Him our time first, He is more audible than amidst the clamor of day’s distraction. For the rest of the day, His voice echoes between our ears. A much smaller, concentrated space, where they sound even better than they did in conversation.

 “This psalm is the only one that repeats the same refrain after each verse ..The echoing response (“His love endures forever”).” Psalm 136 (NIV Notes)

As we walk through the day …the reason for His repetition, the day’s Scripture, unanswered prayer or the prompt to pray becomes clear. The few minutes we carve away will begin to grow as we crave His echo more and more.

Paul wrote today’s key verse to Timothy, as a instruction on what to do until he is able to visit him again. I imagine as Timothy read his mentor’s letter, the distance wore on his heart in angst for his friend; but recall of the mission that bonded them no doubt echoed in his mind as he read this line of the letter. All of the Scripture passages Paul had taught him, and conversations he’d had with God in his growth in the faith. Now, to turn and teach others what propelled him forward …a joy.

There are days, no matter how blessed on earth we are, we long to hug Christ. If He is in your heart, that’s on purpose. It’s hope. It’s the knowledge that it will end well and God is good. And until we get there, “focus on reading the Scriptures to the church, encouraging the believers, and teaching them.”

Our mission on earth. The reason we’re here. Jesus.

jammed-tweet-blueFather, You are faithful to hear us, and love to spend time with us. Thank you for stealing the first part of our days to fill our hearts with song. Forgive us, Lord, when we can’t see how we can possibly set aside anymore time in our schedule for You. Remind us that You are able to stretch minutes and bless us with productive days. That Your plan is always better than ours. That physical accomplishments will fade away but our spiritual relationship with You is forever. Bless us with Your echoes. In Jesus Name, Amen.

What is your favorite place to sit with God? Get the conversation started by commenting below, and let’s encourage one another as we face life in 2017 armed with grace! 


Happy Studying,


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The Windows

“When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.” Psalm 56:3 ESV

King David wrote Psalm 56 when the Philistines captured him in Gath (Lucado Life Lessons).

“Isn’t this David, then king of the land? Isn’t he the one they sing about in their dances: ‘Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands?” 2 Samuel 21:11 (NIV)

The strength to live authentically comes from God, alone. King David’s encouragement is centered on the confidence source of our courage. Living our full truth out loud comes from bravely walking within our God-placed purpose.  Comparing our lives to those around us, and the mold of societal acceptance, chokes our ability to live uninhibited. But life exposed to the Light sets us free.

Hidden Heart Health

When I first earned the freedom to drive, I began to exit the highway early on the way to my family’s favorite summer hangout. Windows down and Alanis turned up, I dreamt of what it would be like to swap the suburban hustle for a sleepy lake-town life. Little did I know at 16, that roughly fifteen years later God would move our family onto a piece of land that my ’86 Nova passed by hundreds of times.

We unwrapped and repacked Christmas the year that we moved from our beloved starter home. The tree was reassembled and each ornamental reminder was placed back on it’s branches, and everyone in that sleepy little lake town noticed.  Suddenly the plethora of windows we choose to fit our house with, along the only busy road in town, seemed like a questionable idea.

“When I’m afraid …”

Charles F. Stanely points out that “the psalmist does not say, ‘if I am afraid,’ he says, ‘when I am afraid.'” 

David was afraid of Saul. He was on the run, and hoping to be considered insane, so he could continue to run further away from who he was. “He pretended to be insane in their presence; and while he was in their hands he acted like a madman, making marks on the doors of the gate and letting saliva run down his beard.” 1 Samuel 21:12-13 (NIV)

Is this seriously the King David that killed Goliath? Fear is a slippery slope. They bought his act, and he continued to run.

“Look at the man! He is insane!” 2 Samuel 21:14 (NIV)

We all face something in life that makes us want to close all the blinds and hide from the world. God promises never to leave us, and forgive our sins when we confess them. Fear causes us to assume we are alone and unforgivable,  re-confessing and running from sin that He has already forgiven.

Legitimate Labels

In an attempt to stretch farther than I could reach, a vase teetered and came crashing to the ground in pieces. I picked up the pieces, but the tiny shards were too small to be glued back together.

“I put my trust in you.”

The MacArthur Study Bible states that “Confidence in the Lord is a purposeful decision, replacing an emotional reaction to one’s circumstances.”

David was definitely having an emotional reaction as he ran from King Saul, but he eventually remembered what the Lord had said. God’s Truth can snap us out of temporary insanity. Hiding with his men in the back of a cave, King Saul entered to ‘relieve himself.’ David snuck up and cut off a piece of Saul’s robe, and then has an attack of conscience. (2 Samuel 24: 1-5)

“The Lord forbid that I should do such a thing to my master, the Lord’s anointed, or lay my hand on him; for he is the anointed of the Lord.” 2 Samuel 24:6 (NIV)

Labels can be leveling, especially the ones that we are hesitant to claim. There are certain thing we don’t post on social media, or bring in up in casual conversation, because it’s hard to believe they belong to us. We’d rather close the blinds.

The redemptive power of Christ pieces every tiny shard back together. He rolls on grace like gorilla glue. We don’t have to stop living life or hide our progress. The journey back to who He says we’ve always been is a testimony to His great love. Don’t draw the blinds on that.

Charles F. Stanley says in his Life Principles Bible Notes, “God does not tell us to ignore our anxieties, but to bring them to Him and realize that He can overcome any terror we ever have to face.”

Reverse Roles

My husband and I didn’t think about the ramifications of everyone being able to peer into our lives through the windows, because we were attracted to the beauty of natural light.  Living in fear of what others might see draws the blinds. We hide from exposure. That’s not the life God gave us to live. That’s not the life Jesus died to grant us. “I came so that you may have life, and have it to the full,” Jesus said in John 10:10

“God, whose word I praise …”

When Saul was finished relieving himself, David followed him out of that cave. “My lord the king!” He bowed as Saul turned around. (1 Samuel 24:8He stepped out from the dark cave and into the light, exposing his truth, and the pieces were put back into place.

“You have treated me well, but I have treated you badly,” Saul replied as he wept allowed. 1 Samuel 24:16-17 (NIV)

Living our lives exposed to the light grants us freedom. When we turn up the volume on other voices, opinions, worries, shame, and regret, we become self-focused and selfish in protecting what we fear are unforgivable mistakes and missteps.

Authentically living for Christ begins with a real relationship with Him, in prayer and Scripture. David walked out of that cave to face Saul, reaffirmed by remembering who God said he was. Our stories, labels, and lives, exist so that others may experience the love of Christ.

“When struck by fear, I let go, depending securely upon You alone. In God- whose word I praise- in God I place my trust. I shall not let fear come in, for what can measly men do to me?” Psalm 56:3-4 (VOICE)

Father,  Praise You for this day, and Your purpose for it. Thank You for the blessings we woke up today, and those that will riddle our minutes and we walk throughout it. Forgive us for hiding the parts of our lives that are hard to face. We want to fully trust in You, God. Give us hearts like Jesus’. Help us to live authentically because we trust in You. Make us aware, as we travel through daily conversations, of those that we are meant to encourage by sharing parts of our struggles. Bless all those who hide in the darkness, ashamed and scared. May be a bright light of encouragement to every person You purposely place in our lives. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Happy Brightening,


The Hot Feet (#jammed devo, day 52)

February #jammed: Dunked in Grace 

Day 52: We can only handle so much…

 He walked away, about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed, “Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” Luke 22:42post-image-52

My kids are constantly asking to go into the hot tub when we’re on vacation, and over the years our fears of what might happen to their tiny selves immersed in those hot temperatures has lessened a bit. So, on occasion, we let them swim in the sauna of hot water. They don’t want to sit there and relax, they just want to swim in whatever water everyone else is allowed in. It’s a permissional thing, I think. Sometimes, they are only allowed to stick their feet in. It makes no sense to them, but it’s for their protection. Some hot tubs are hotter than others.

What seems unfair to us in this life is actually God’s grace covering us. I believe He will only let us walk so far away before He tugs us back to Him. We may not understand our limitations, but they are for our own good, otherwise our great God who loves us perfectly wouldn’t allow them to challenge our lives. God can heal infirmary in an instant, but it’s not always in our best interest. Impossible for us to understand, which is why He is God and we are us.

Then an angel from heaven appeared and strengthened him. He prayed more fervently, and he was in such agony of spirit that his sweat fell to the ground like great drops of blood.” Luke 22:43-44 

Faith in unfair circumstances is hard, but our Father is faithful to strengthen us to stand up underneath them. It’s easier to praise God when things are painless. The power of the Holy Spirit helps us cope in the sting of bitterness …and jealousy …and hopes deferred. And that Spirit of comfort comes down by way of the cross. Jesus cried to His Father in today’s verse. It was unfair, what was about to happen. But He faced it anyway, to save us all. He died for us, because He trusted His Father. We can walk through our days in full confidence that God is for us.

jammed-tweet-blueFather, Praise You for the strength You supplied Jesus in His time of agony. Thank You for extending the same solace of hope when we are hurt, confused, and afraid. We confess our scrambling to make sense of things that are not going to here on this earth. Bless our hearts to be fortified with the strength that Jesus had …to pray and cry out to You, our Protector and loving Father. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

What hope deferred was actually God’s protection in your life? Get the conversation started by commenting below, and let’s encourage one another as we face life in 2017 armed with grace! 


Happy Hot-tubbing!


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The Nail Paint (#jammed daily devo, day 51)

February #jammed: Dunked in Grace 

Day 51: Chipped but not forgotten.

 When Priscilla and Aquila heard him preaching boldly in the synagogue, they took him aside and explained the way of God even more accurately.” Acts 18:26 post-image-51

One look down at my chipped nail polish shows the wear of years on my hands. I always loved painting them when I was younger, and remember trucking up caboodles full of polish to my family’s boat each weekend. At one point in my post collegiate life, I actually had tips that I would fill each week. The click clack on the computer keys used to be like music to my ears.

Mom-life has a way of changing things we fail to notice until our kids are no longer consuming as much of our time. Everything I’d forgotten about in the blissfull years of infancy and toddflerdom had really just been on pause. I had the same talents, same gifts, same loves. A little older and wiser and heart-filled, and not minding at all that my nails are a hot mess.

Priscilla and Aquila wore years of service to Paul in the name of Christ. When the preacher in today’s verse came past their line of site, it was their wisdom that alerted them to service. Apollos, the “him” in today’s verse, seems well intentioned in following Christ but he doesn’t have his facts about Jesus completely straight. This couple took the time to fill in the gaps.

In a world of cell phones, Internet access and social media, its difficult for us to relate to the slow traveling of ancient information. Apollos came from the city where the Old Testament was translated into the Greek. The word nerd in me wonders if this couple jumped at the chance to feel a little bit closer to God’s Living Word. And yet, having experienced Jesus on a more personal level, they were able to testify to It’s Living Truth.

When it’s our time to stop and reflect at the majority of life that’s passed, let’s aim to be like these servants of Christ: “All the Women of the Bible” states:

  • They Were One in Marital Bliss

  • They Were One in the Lord

  • They Were One in Secular Occupation

  • They Were One in Their Friendship for Paul

  • They Were One in Their Profound Knowledge of Scripture

  • They Were One in the Service of the Church

jammed-tweet-blueA life’s pursuit of Christ is not always going to look perfect. We won’t always notice our nails are chipped until we look down to see them. But the body of Christ can come alongside each other in love with teachable hearts as the wisdom of God’s Word is revealed in His perfect time.

Father, Praise You, for raising up spiritual leaders in our lives. Thank You for their love of You that they share with us. Bless us, Lord, with humble hearts open to question and coaching from You. Bless all those who aim to speak on Your behalf with the Words of truth. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Who is your spiritual mentor and why? Get the conversation started by commenting below, and let’s encourage one another as we face life in 2017 armed with grace! 


Happy Manicuring,


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The Beach Shirt (#jammed daily devo, day 51)

February #jammed: Dunked in Grace 

Day 50: Grace has got us covered.

“The water through which the ark safely passed symbolizes now the ceremonial washing through baptism that initiates you into salvation. You are saved not because it cleanses your body of filth but because of your appeal to God from a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus the Anointed, our Liberating King.” 1 Peter 3:21 (VOICE)post-image-50

A decade or so ago, the only people that wore shirts on the beach were surfers with ripped abs that could be seen from underneath. Now, in the SPF millennial, it’s almost uncool not to wear a trendy, sweat wicking, SPF containing shirt on the beach. Or, am I really that old? Eek.

 and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a clear conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ,” 1 Peter 3:21 (NIV)

Though we can’t escape the consequences, we can rest assured that we’ve got our SPF on when we’re in the Word of God everyday. Life is going to come with pain, but Jesus covers us with the cross. God wants us to live a happy life, and His love can get through any protective layering in pursuit of our hearts.

In today’s verse, we are reminded that going through the motions does not save us. Baptism is a sign of belief, but not a requirement to believe. New life in Christ allows us to be forgiven for our sinful nature, but it doesn’t remove it.

 Just like the passengers aboard Noah’s ark escaped the death of flood, we dodge sin’s fatal blow through Christ’s gift. His grace washes over us whether or not we are dipped in a pool.   We share experiences, hardships, celebrations, and milestones with each other. It’s only natural to desire a platform to share our salvation with whomever has ears to listen. Baptism is a way to come alongside others as we celebrate the greatest victory of our lives … Christ, Our Savior.

jammed-tweet-blueFather, Praise You for the lesson in baptism in this verse, today. Thank You that Your Word speaks louder than any humanly placed ritual or tradition. Forgive us for looking at baptism as a requirement fulfilled, rather than a means to testify to Your life-saving truth.  Jesus’ sacrificial grace is our ark of protection. Bless us to honor the symbolic platform of baptism, and the strength to live out our victory each day. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Have you been baptized? Get the conversation started by commenting below, and let’s encourage one another as we face life in 2017 armed with grace! 


Happy Beachin’ It,


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The Brim (#jammed daily devo, day 49)

February #jammed: Dunked in Grace 

Day 49: Simply Protected.

“Did someone forget to tell you that when we were initiated into Jesus the Anointed through baptism’s ceremonial washing, we entered into His death?” Romans 6:3 (VOICE)

“Did someone forget to tell you?”post-image-49

This reminds me of the warning labels and protective information that surround our daily life. We have to be privy to read labels because their writers can’t always be trusted, and mindful that our prescriptions don’t transform us into addicts. Cancer seems more plausible than avoidable. The sun is bad for our skin, but if stay completely out of it we’ll become deficient in vitamin D.

The book nerd is constantly reading and the health nut I am loves to be healthy …but sometimes it all just gives me a headache. Instead of hiding inside,  I apply SPF and head out into the sun under the brim of my hat. At least I’m semi-protected from the glare of the sun without blocking out it’s cheeriness.

In today’s verse, Paul is aggravated with his audience at the perplex stipulations they seem to be placing on sin. Does this count? How bad is this? What about if we ….? When my kids ask me if something is inappropriate, my response is, “if you have to ask, then it is.”

We go through a lot of preventative efforts in this life to avoid physical circumstances, but are often lacking a healthy soul. Relationship with our Father is crucial …not just our survival …but to our happiness!

“How did it get this far so fast?” Sin takes root in our hearts and spreads rapidly. We have a very real enemy on the prowl looking to give it a foothold, and without the freedom of forgiveness, it’s libel to take over. Jesus died so that we can leave our cancerous sin at the cross through repentance and relationship with God. The best testimony is a changed person.

All who have it look different than before. When we lift the weight of the world off of our shoulders and into the capable hands of Jesus, we begin to crave more grace. The brim of grace covers more than sunburn.

“Did someone forget to tell you?”

jammed-tweet-blueFather, Praise You for protecting us. Thank You for loving us perfectly. Forgive us for spending more time preventing measures other than the health of our soul! Guide us as we tend to the bodies that You have blessed us with, and send Your Spirit to tend to our soul as we read Your Word. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

What’s are you most worried about trying to prevent? Get the conversation started by commenting below, and let’s encourage one another as we face life in 2017 armed with grace! 


Happy Label-reading,


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The Sunny Side (#jammed daily devo, day 48)

February #jammed: Dunked in Grace 

Day 48: Grace smiles warmly. 

 “Keep being kind to those who waver in this faith.” Jude 22post-image-48

In today’s verse, Jesus’ brother Jude warns us not to use God’s guaranteed forgiveness as an excuse to stop growing.

diakrinō means “to judge, distinguish, evaluate” -Mounce’s Complete Expository Dictionary

judge: (transitive verb) to form an opinion about through careful weighing of evidence and testing of premises (intransitive verb) to form an opinion. (Merriam Webster)

One of the differences between a transitive and intransitive verb is that one owns an object and one doesn’t.

“And you must show mercy to those whose faith is wavering.” Jude 22 (NLT)

“When applied to oneself, it can mean to “doubt” or “waver.”-Mounce’s Complete Expository Dictionary

distinguish- (transitive verb) to perceive a difference in: mentally separate (intransitive verb) to perceive a difference in.(Merriam-Webster)

Notice that, just like judge, the transitive verb is more defined than the intransitive.

“Be merciful to those who doubt;” Jude 22 (NIV)

“…to make distinctions shows a lack of true faith.” -Mounce’s Complete Expository Dictionary

evaluate- (transitive verb) to determine or fix the value of. (Merriam-Webster)

This time, no intransitive verb. Evaluate is attached to an object. The secondary definition Merriam-Webster lists states:“to determine the significance, worth, or condition of usually by careful appraisal and study.”

Why did diakrinō pop up in a verse about kindness? God is teaching us by exposing our tendency to “diakrinō ,” and warning us not to buy into it. Christianity is not about pointing fingers, or making excuses for the mistakes we make. When we attach ourselves to kindness instead, it’s impossible to judge, distinguish, or evaluate another life alongside our own.

“Go easy on those who hesitate in the faith. Go after those who take the wrong way. Be tender with sinners, but not soft on sin. The sin itself stinks to high heaven.” Jude 22:23

diakrinō is used in a technical legal sense in Paul’s exhortation for believers to refrain from suing one another. (1Cor6:5)-Mounce’s Complete Expository Dictionary

We see fault in others when we are blind to our own. It’s all over social media, but it’s not new. I love that the Bible deals with “believers suing one another.” Christians are not exempt from bad behavior. We are still sinners! That doesn’t change, but we shouldn’t exploit that as an excuse to justify the wrong we know we do.

No one walk with Christ will look the same as another. God printed every finger different, why would His love towards us be any less perfect, or personal?

“If you can’t be kind …be quiet.” Toby Mac

jammed-tweet-blueFather, Praise You for creating each of us different, and loving us all perfectly. Thank You for reminding us how important it is to be kind. Forgive us for pointing fingers at others and making excuses for our own bad behavior. Bless our hearts to soften toward others and be convicted of our own sin. Help us to repent and change each day of our lives, until we hug You in heaven.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen. 

How can you be kind to someone today? Get the conversation started by commenting below, and let’s encourage one another as we face life in 2017 armed with grace! 


Happy Checking,


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The Tangled Doodle (#jammed daily devo, day 47)

February #jammed: Dunked in Grace 

Day 47: Grace detangles.

“For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel—and not with clever speech, so that the cross of Christ would not become useless.” 1 Corinthians 1:17post-image-47

To say we were excited to celebrate our first Christmas as dog owners this past year is an understatement. Cherry-dog wore a sweater from November to January. What we thought was adorable …really was …but it cost us. Literally.

When we took her sweater off to pack it away with Christmas, we found deep tangles in her fur. I spent hours trying to unravel her fur with a comb and her head on my lap, to no avail. Poor girl had to lose most of her long, warm hair in the cold of winter on account of our bad choice.

Jesus taught in parables to keep His message simple. Not because it’s a simple message, but because He wanted all to hear, understand and know God’s love. To know Him. To know life.

Peter is alluding to the same sentiments. He knew that baptizing people was out of his lane, but that preaching the gospel was right smack in it. He was passionate about placing his words in position for all to hear and understand, not tangling them up with complicated jargon and useless sentiments.

The danger in complicating God’s message is that we will confuse others. I pray that my words here are an encouragement to all who read them, and my love for Jesus and honest ache for all to know Him jumps off the screen. Grace detangles any mess in the way of a heart longing to know Jesus. #Godisbigger

jammed-tweet-blueFather, Praise You for words! Thank you that we are able to communicate so easily with each other, and share Your word freely here in this space. Forgive any miscommunication on account of my human heart, and bless this space to build love for You. In Jesus Name, Amen.

What’s the worst mess you’ve ever had to untangle? Get the conversation started by commenting below, and let’s encourage one another as we face life in 2017 armed with grace! 


Happy Detangling,


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The R's (#jammed daily devo, day 46)

February #jammed: Dunked in Grace 

Day 46: Grace cannot be outgrown.

“So those who accepted his message were baptized, and that day about three thousand people were added.” Acts 2:41post-image-46

My youngest daughter has never been able to make an “R” sound. It makes everything sound cuter than it should. Even the annoying meltdowns are a bit endearing when the “r” sound is completely absent from the conversation.

When she walked down the hallway to enter First Grade this year, she began to find her “r” sound. And as sad as it is to hear her old voice fade into memory, her new one is equally endearing …and demanding. Didn’t change her personality.

Today’s verse is all about people finding their “r” sound. Well, not really, but it’s all about them realizing they were doing something that they never realized was wrong. That their way of thinking was radically wrong. On the way to accepting Christ, these people were so blindsided by the difference in thinking, that it was like listening to a conversation missing major consonant sounds.

This verse from Acts recounts a day when Peter and the apostles were preaching to the crowd. Mind you, people back in Biblical days thought Christians were just as wacky as the world thinks they are today. So be encouraged. Peter tells this particular group on this particular day:  In spite of what you think, these men are not drunk, for it is only nine o’clock in the morning. ” 

Before we know Christ, Christians sound like their missing consonants.

jammed-tweet-blueFather, Praise You for the way we develop physically and spiritually. Thank You that Your timing is perfect and Your creation is just as it is intended to be. Nothing surprises or shocks You. You were, are, and ever shall be, omnipotent. Forgive us for missing key sounds, and bless our souls with Your Spirit to enlighten our hearts to Your Living Word. In Jesus Name, Amen.

What sounded crazy to you at first, but is commonplace now? Get the conversation started by commenting below, and let’s encourage one another as we face life in 2017 armed with grace! 


Happy Sounding,


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Book Review: Secret Keeper Girl: The Power of Modesty for Tweens

This book came at the perfect time for my pre-teen fourth grader!

I’m not even sure she realized the comparisons that were already starting to pop up on her radar and amongst her peers. This vulnerable age requires unique guidance, and Dannah Gresh does a phenomenal job at meeting girls where they are at. In this new phase of their lives, she guides them by providing powerful Scriptures and breaking them down in a way that they can easily apply them to their everyday lives. For example, Gresh incorporates Titus 2:12, “God wants us to turn from godless living and sinful pleasures and live good, God-fearing lives day after day,” to open up a discussion about living according to God’s standards versus the world’s.

“So, grab the cute dress. Sew some funky patches onto your worn-out jeans. Have a facial night with your BFF! These things aren’t bad or sinful in and of themselves, but BE CAREFUL about why you like them.” – Dannah Gresh, Secret Keeper Girl: The Power of Modesty.

My daughter picked this book up and started glancing through it before I finished it and  passed it on to her. The way that it is put together, weaving eye-grabbing graphics, pulled-out quotes and verses, and cute cartoon character pictures, grabbed her interest immediately. Plus, what pre-teen girl isn’t curious about secrets?

As a parent, I feel better equipped to meet my daughter in conversation about modesty on her level. Thank you for your faithfulness to write this book, Dannah!
(I received a copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review.)