Episode #04. Finding Hope When Dreams are Crushed. Rachel Wojo

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From Today's Episode

Rachel Wojo, author of One More Step: Finding Strength When You Feel Like Giving Up, shares her story of finding hope and strength in God’s Word when her dreams of a perfect life were crushed. She explains how God met her through a failed marriage, a daughter’s heartbreaking diagnosis and the losses of loved ones.

Today's Verses
  • Isaiah 12:2
  • Psalm 18
  • Psalm 18:16-19
  • Psalm 119:81 (NLT)
Additional Resources

Rachel Wojo  1.30.23

[00:00:00] Welcome to the Unshakable Hope Podcast, where real life intersects redeeming love. I’m Kelly Hall and this is where we wrestle through faith questions such as, how do I trust God’s heart when his ways and delays are breaking mine? How can I believe God is good when life doesn’t seem good? My prayers that God would renew our hope in these conversations and that each of us would experience the very real power of his presence and love.

I’m so excited for you to meet my guest today, Rachel Wojo. She’s a public speaker and freelance writer for well-known faith-based companies. She hosts Bible Reading Challenges on her popular blog, rachelwojo.com, which is encourages us to go to God’s word for answers to life’s problems. I have enjoyed so much her Untangling Life podcast, which helps listeners clear their heads and calm their hearts in the chaos of life. Her Bible reading plans are [00:01:00] used by more than 4 million people worldwide. Rachel’s the author of One More Step, finding Strength when you Feel Like Giving Up.

She and her husband Matt, reside in Ohio and are the parents of eight children, two in heaven and six on earth. Rachel, welcome.

Rachel: Thank you so much for having me, Kelly. I appreciate the opportunity to be here and share with your audience.

Kelly: I would like first to start with some deep sorrow your family has recently walked through.

I know you lost your father-in-law, and I’d love for you just to take a moment and honor his life and talk about the impact he’s had on so many.

Rachel: Well, my father-in-law is Marion Wojnarowski. He was an evangelist for over 60 years. He saw countless people come to Jesus as their savior and preached in dozens and dozens of churches across America, as well as made three trips to his [00:02:00] homeland of Poland to do mission work and he will be greatly missed.

We just buried him on Saturday. Today is a Monday, so the grief is very, very fresh. In addition to that, Kelly, I’m not sure if you knew that my father passed away in September, so my children have lost two grandpas in just a four month period, and so it has been a bit of a trial this school year so far.

Kelly: I am so sorry.

Rachel: God works in mysterious ways, even with the scheduling of this interview weeks ago. We set up this day to be the day that we would speak with one another Kelly, regarding grief and sorrow and the path that God has for us. And I just believe that he wastes nothing.

Kelly: Mm. Mm-hmm. . Amen. Yes, Rachel, I know how much you love God’s [00:03:00] word and you love his power to transform lives. You see that all the time in the stories that you present to women. You just hold out God’s word as a place of hope. And so I’m wondering if you could share a little bit with us about the faith journey he’s had you on, and if there are any scriptures right now that are encouraging your heart, love to hear them.

Rachel: The first one that comes to mind is from today’s trusting God in the dark Bible Reading Plan. I just was thinking about that verse of meditating on it this morning. It’s Isaiah 12:2. Behold, God is my salvation. I will trust and will not be afraid for the Lord God is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation.

And I like alliteration a lot. So thinking of God as my strength, my song, my salvation kind of sticks in my head throughout the day. And those three parts, I think it’s very easy to rely on the Lord for salvation when you have [00:04:00] been his child a long time. I accepted Jesus as a six year old.

I came to him again and rededicate my life as a 10 year old. It wasn’t till I was in my twenties that I really understood how much God loved me and what he wanted to do with my life. But that is sort of the salvation experience that I had. I know many people can remember their salvation experience and they can remember the story and the path that God has had them on.

But I think what’s a little harder for most of us is the other two S’s in that alliteration, and that’s the strength and the song. . The strength is where we get our help, we get our energy, we get enough to get through the day and more. Because he is our strength. We’re totally reliant on him. And when we set ourselves aside, in the weak, he is strong.

When we recognize our own weaknesses, then that is when that strength comes to fruition. And then I think the other part of [00:05:00] that verse that’s so prevalent to me is about the song, because when. We lift our songs to God, and we praise him in worship, then the transformation of our heart is just unbelievable.

And we can experience intimacy and a closeness to him when we can capture those two things together, his strength and his song, and recognize him for who he is in our lives. So that is a meaningful verse to me today. I really try to just, hone in on one verse, meditate on it through the day, and pick something out of it that I can ruminate on.

That has been the way that the Lord has worked the scripture in my life in a very effective way. .

Kelly: That’s beautiful. I also love alliterations. That’s always my favorite , so I’m gonna remember that scripture now.

Rachel: My father was a big alliteration person as well, so something [00:06:00] that we had in common,

I love that. I really enjoyed your book, Rachel. One more step. I feel like I’m listening to a friend. Tell me her story and encourage my heart in God’s word. , your subtitle is particularly telling, finding Strength when you feel like Giving up. It’s a book that gives hope to the weary, right? Mm-hmm. , you need strength for that one next step.

I’m wondering if you could take us back to your early story when you found yourself a single mom with this sweet daughter who had special needs, and share what you learned about the hope that only comes from wrestling through your heartache with the Lord.

Rachel: Yeah, I think that hope is such a volatile thing, and we don’t necessarily recognize that we choose where we are placing our hope.

We choose the resting place for our hope, and [00:07:00] so many times I’ve seen people put their hope in things, if this situation will get better or if I could just get a new car, or maybe it’s not tangible things, but circumstances. And when we place our hope in things, we usually wind up being disappointed because they’re temporary, they are temporal things.

They’re not going to last forever. The, the paint gets scratched up, the carpet gets dirty. . And so I just think that when we rest our hope in things, we walk away disappointed. And then one of the other common resting places that I see people place, their hope is in other people, their spouse, their best friend.

Instead of calling on the Lord, their first inclination is to pick up the phone. And call their mom or their dad, or, and I’m not saying you shouldn’t call those people, but in my situation, the Lord took those people away from me and made me [00:08:00] completely reliant on him. And so that is the faith journey that I had to where I learned my hope cannot rest in other people.

They are not a safe place for hope. Such a beautiful commodity of hope. That’s not a safe place. And then the other place that’s so common today. Where people want to rest their hope is they think that, well, I’ll just, I’ll just do it myself. I’ll just be my own holder of hope and I’ll just dig deep and try harder and I will engage in more self-care.

That’s, that’s the big more self-care. I’ll just take care of myself better and do more and exercise more and eat right, and drink more water, and I’m for all of those things, but I know that when I put my hope in my own self, that is the time when I become the most [00:09:00] devastated. That is the time when the end result is not good because I am not a good holder of hope.

I am human. I have limitations. I am finite. There are borders to my abilities, and so for that reason, I’m not a good place to hold hope. Hope is only held when it’s in a resting place by God. In his word and in his heart. That is where we find the best resting place for hope. And so I had to learn that over the course of many, many, many years of walking with the Lord to understand that this commodity of hope, where I am hoping, where I am trusting, that will bleed me into, on a better path with strength, with song, with salvation. Then I just believe that the Lord [00:10:00] gives us that hope, and he is the only holder of that.

So when he gives it to us, when we allow him to be our resting place for hope, then we experience deliverance, instead of disappointment, instead of discouragement, instead of devastation. In him. We experience deliverance the circumstances may not change.

The situations may not change, but our strength and our energy is found in resting our hope in him. I hope that answers your question, .

Kelly: Yes. Yes. One of the things I pray is God purify my hope. As we walk through hard times, that’s what happens. That’s what you’ve just describes is He purifies

where I find my hope.

Rachel: That’s good. Yes.

Kelly: The things of world are gonna fall apart. The relationships in my life are not gonna be exactly what I want them to be. Only God and only his word [00:11:00] will Unshakeable place, to put my hope. And so even as we deal with illnesses in our family’s life, and we don’t know the outcome, we can’t place our hope in a certain outcome. It can only be with open-handed surrender to the Lord.

Rachel: I always say, hold it up to him, and when you hold it up to him, hold it really loosely . I mean, do not, do not grasp it and cling to it and offer it at the same time. Hold it up and hold it loosely. .

Kelly: Mm-hmm. . There’s a picture someone painted one time in their words of prying their fingers off of a thing that they were offering to the Lord.

They just felt the Lord kept saying, you’re not really giving it to me. Let go of your grip, and just slowly, mm. , God was able to help them, honestly [00:12:00] release it to him and release the outcome and release all the what ifs and what abouts. Mm. And so much of that has to do with our fear, right?

Rachel: Yes. Mm-hmm. for sure, for sure.

Kelly: I wanted to talk a little bit about times in your life and a moment in your life when you were completely overwhelmed with your circumstances. I think of so many times in my own life, and I know so many of our listeners can relate to when, we do pretty good when there’s just a little bit of heartache, but then when there is a piling on of so many, Things we just wanna throw up our hands in despair.

Mm-hmm. . And so, I wonder if you could take us back to a particular Mother’s Day . It was the year you lost your mom, this was your first Mother’s Day without your mom, you were getting ready for church, and your daughter, Taylor, had discovered a new trick you can describe that to us, but really what we want to know is how do you, [00:13:00] how did you.

Find strength from the Lord in a place where you just wanted to throw up your hands in despair.

Rachel: Well, Taylor had a rare metabolic disorder called mucopolysaccharidosis, and this disease is neurologically degenerative. So children with this disease lose their skills piece by piece and they often have.

Creative ability because the neuro pathways will find other. , other resources as long as they’re available. So the way the degeneration works is these byproducts are attached to the nerve endings, and when the nerve endings start to slow down, then the nerve, the brain is automatically sort of rewired.

Our brains are incredible the way they are designed to do that. And so until all the pathways are filled, The brain is constantly trying to [00:14:00] change and rewire and make a different path to continue to make a skill work. Mm-hmm. . This particular Mother’s Day was very difficult because I was very close to my mom.

Her birthday was May 10th, which sometimes fell Mother’s Day as. and this particular year I woke up, I really didn’t wanna go to church because I’ll be honest, if your mother’s not living, then Mother’s Day at church can be just disastrous. It just can be really hard. Anyone who’s lost their mom, who’s been sitting in church on Mother’s Day knows what I’m talking about.

Like you just wish that you could sort of disappear and not think about it for that hour. Right. So I was up getting ready for church and I heard Taylor and walked into her room, and during the night she had started to develop this habit of putting her hand in her diaper [00:15:00] and this particular Mother’s Day morning I walked in and every part of her room, her comforter, her walls, her windows, her body, her hair, everything had been touched with hands that had been in her diaper and everything was covered in poop.

Hmm. And it just was so, Overwhelming. I can’t even describe how upset I was because it wasn’t having to just clean her up or it wasn’t just, it was anger at the fact that she was losing her mind. And losing her abilities. And I was mad at God. Mm. And I just thought, you could change this. Why don’t you, why does she have to suffer this way?

And in that moment of overwhelm, I I just could [00:16:00] hardly even believe that God would use something like this to work in my life. , and that was one of the days after, after that occasion was when I began to study Psalm 18 and it became my favorite Psalm. And it is David’s survival guide to being overwhelmed.

And it, it’s a fairly long psalm. So we don’t have time in this podcast to go verse by verse like I like to do. When I am overwhelmed, I cry to you, oh Lord. And the entire chapter is about crying out to God and learning how to rely on him when your circumstances are completely overwhelming and completely out of control.

And I always say, when things are out of control, God is still in control. The truth is we were never in control to begin with. We just sometimes think we are , right? So, [00:17:00] that feeling of overwhelm still hits me today. I have not found victory over that. As a milestone, I still have times when I’m overwhelmed, you can ask my husband, but I have learned how to grab onto the tools of God’s word and his promises and prayer.

To walk me through the, those occasions of overwhelm. So if someone is out there listening today and you say, that’s me, I’m, I’m in the overwhelmed category, it’s just like a tsunami of things piled up, and I’m wondering, how in the world can God ever use this in my life? It’s just such a mess. I just wanna tell real quickly that years passed after that Mother’s Day, I didn’t have the nerve to even share.

with very many people. What happened that day. Of course my husband knew and many years passed and God began to move me into speaking and [00:18:00] writing in a more profound way, in a more evident way. And, and even though it was a little slow going, there was one particular week that I was attending Bible study at my church, and the ladies at the Bible study table one came in a little late

and she was so upset and I could tell that it had been a very rough morning for her. And we sat at the table and listened to the study and we arrived at the discussion time. Someone asked her if she would like to share, and tears began to roll down her cheeks, and she shared how that morning, her little two-year-old had figured out how to put his hands in his diapers and he had just put his hands all over the bedding and all over the bed and all over the wall and painted himself and that before she could come to Bible study, she had to clean him all up and clean the bed, throw everything in the washer, and that it was a [00:19:00] good 20 minute ordeal that she wasn’t expecting and that it was very frustrating and I was able to tell her a little trick that I learned when Taylor was at that stage.

I had to get just as creative as she. And so she had these footy pajamas. You’ve probably seen them at Target with a zip up the front, and I simply bought the footy pajamas and I cut the feet off and I sewed them back on backwards so that the zipper would be in the back. And then she was no longer able to get her hand down into her diaper and paint the room and do all the crazy things that she wanted to do.

So I was able to tell this mom, Hey, I know a trick for that and this is what you need to do. And the next week I said, I know he is two, and this is just a phase, he’ll get through it. But to get you through it, you need to buy [00:20:00] these footy pajamas and do this. The next week she came in and she didn’t say anything and I didn’t say anything, and I wondered if she had even done it but years later.

Years later, four or five years later, she sent me a message on Facebook and she said, Rachel, I never told you, but I think you saved my life. You saved my sanity. Mm-hmm. With that one little trick of telling me what to do with his pajamas, because I did it and it worked. And it got me through such a hard time.

And so it’s interesting how the Lord doesn’t always use things the way that we think them. Yeah. I had no idea that, Taylor’s poopy Picasso would eventually be the tool that God used to reach someone else in their difficulty and in a time when they just felt like mentally they were about to lose it,

Kelly: yeah. And you offered so much grace to that [00:21:00] woman who was feeling like she was so alone and maybe feeling like she was the worst mom in the world.

Rachel: Well, I just think occasions like that, it’s interesting how they happen way more than what people talk about. Mm-hmm. , that was something that I felt was so embarrassing and I didn’t want to talk about it to anyone that particular Mother’s Day and didn’t really share it with anyone.

I just thought, no one’s gonna understand that she’s losing her mind, and I just think that God redeems things in our lives in ways that. , we can’t imagine, but sometimes it does take years. Before we understand it, yes. I wanted to step back into Psalm 18 for a minute, but first I wanna share a verse that goes along with that too.

Psalm 119:81 from the New Living Translation says, I am worn out waiting for your rescue, but I have put my hope in your. , [00:22:00] and that’s what you’ve described? Mm-hmm. . That’s good. That’s really good. Psalm 18 is also a place where I have found so much hope. We had three years where my, one of my twins who is deaf and has many special needs and was angry.

Was suicidal and depressed, and as I prayed, God took me to Psalm 18:16-19 and gave me that as a promise where he says, and I’ll summarize, I reached down from on high and I pull her outta deep waters. I rescue her from things that are way too difficult for her. I rescue her because I delight in her and I love her.

It filled my heart with so much peace to know God loved her and was fighting for her. Mm-hmm. in ways that I couldn’t.

Rachel: Yeah. And he loves you and is fighting for you in that same way? Yes. Yes.

Kelly: I love how God shows us [00:23:00] his goodness in our hard stories and just blesses us with beautiful times where we see his faithfulness.

And I wondered if you could just tell us a little bit about how God brought Matthew, your husband and his daughter into your life.

Rachel: Yeah. So, I, here I was, this place i, I never dreamed of being. I grew up in a Christian home, a Christian school even. I went to Christian college and completed the circle by teaching in a Christian school.

I married what at the time was called a preacher boy, and his dream was to be a youth pastor or a pastor. He had been candidating at several churches. And so that first year I was teaching in the Christian school and he was candidating. And at the end of that year. Let’s see. I believe it was three or four years I’ve lost track.

So many years have passed. I discovered that he had been having an affair, and so I wound up as a single mom of a special [00:24:00] needs child, divorced, a label that I never thought I would carry. The Lord knew. The Lord knew the path. The Lord knew that I couldn’t control someone else’s choices. He knew all of that.

And so he brought Matt and his daughter Tiffany into my life and just such a miraculous way. And then on top of that, what I didn’t know at the time, God brought him into my life. And then here he. A nurse with a pre-med degree. He has so much medical experience. Oh. And it was like God was giving me my own in-house medical team.

His daughter Tiffany after growing up became a a PA:. A physician associate. And so the two of them were like my in-house medical staff for many years as I cared for Taylor. And I just think only God could prepare us [00:25:00] in that way. When we met, we didn’t have a diagnosis for Taylor.

And so it was sometime after Matt and I met and God brought his daughter into my life that we discovered Taylor’s actual diagnosis of NPS.. I just am so grateful. I don’t know where I would be without my husband. He is the love of my life. We’ve been married for 22 years and almost 23 here, and we.

always tell people that you have two choices when God plants these circumstances and situations in your life that you didn’t ask for. in our situation, it was, right away, right away in the first year of our marriage, my mom passed away from leukemia. , my uncle passed away. Matt’s grandfather passed away all within just a short amount of time.

Wasn’t even the first year. And then shortly after the first year, we received [00:26:00] Taylor’s diagnosis of terminal disease. Neurologically degenerative, and so it was not easy by any. You have a choice when those hard things come, whether you’re going to turn to one another or turn away from one another, whether you’re going to unite in the efforts or argue and fight, and struggle.

Hmm. And we just decided that we would allow all those circumstances to tether us to Jesus and to one another. And I’m so thankful that we did because our marriage is such a huge blessing in my life.

Kelly: Yes, both of you allowed God the disappointments in your life to drive you deeper into God’s heart and closer to each other in situations that could have destroyed your marriage.

Rachel: We see so many families with special needs children who really, really struggle with their marriages because, Life is so critical, [00:27:00] and decision making is so difficult when you have a special needs child and you have to choose how to handle those decisions. And it can be very conflicting, very conflicting.

Grief is handled differently by everyone. Processing grief is unique to the individual. It’s unique to the situation. And no two people process grief in the same way. Yeah. And accepting that can sometimes be a challenge in marriages. I’m just so grateful for Matthew. My Matthew, I call him, most people call him Matt.

I’m so grateful for him. He is my rock beside the rock is what I often call him.

Kelly: Oh, I like that. Well, I’d like to talk about a time in your life when, and I guess I would describe this as something we all deal with when we have had a piling on of difficulties. And so we think we’re breaking through, but then suddenly we realize we’re [00:28:00] not, and there’s an additional piling on and additional losses.

I know there was a time in your life when you fought so hard for for Taylor, for every single thing she accomplished, you were always fighting for her to give her what she needed, the tools she needed and then one day with all your efforts and all your prayer, you noticed that she was losing skills and that’s what led you to that heartbreaking diagnosis of MPS.

And then there came a point when you had to surrender your dream of Taylor walking across the stage for her high school graduation. As you look at these moments in your life when you’re having to surrender some broken dreams to the Lord, some unmet expectations, and you’re dealing with additional losses, I love for you to talk about how God sustained you, and can sustain us as we process things like this.

Rachel: I just [00:29:00] remember Kelly, that I know for some people saying, well, my special needs child is not going to graduate. For some people that is not a big deal. But for me it was this little coveted dream. , that she would defy the odds when you’re, the doctors have given you a prognosis of 10 to 15 years and you think, okay, every day we get beyond 15 years is a blessing.

Hmm. So we’re just going to make it all worthwhile. And the day that I had to surrender the dream of her graduating, it just came to the point to. I realized that she, she was no longer, for many years, she was a very happy little girl who just was so excited to go to school and so excited to get on the bus.

It was just part of her routine and she had energy and she loved it. She would just smile and our [00:30:00] little pigtails would bounce. And when the time came where she was starting to be sick, and she didn’t enjoy it any longer and she couldn’t walk up the bus steps. I was trying to, step each foot for her.

Yeah. And then it was going to get to the point to where she would have to go to school in a chair and then, just a gradual degeneration. I realized, I’m, I wanting her to graduate for me ? Is this my selfish dream and would it really be better for her Lord if I allowed her to stay at home?

And just enjoyed life as much as possible, as simple as it would be. And so many people say, well, you need to keep your loved ones stimulated in an environment. Our environment was plenty of stimulation. , I mean, she has siblings, it’s a, it’s a full household. . And so, [00:31:00] they were always loving on her, jumping in her bed, watching TV with her, there was a lot happening.

And so it was the death of a dream for me, not a death of a dream for her.

Kelly: Mm-hmm. , that’s a good distinction

Rachel: . I think that we have to often as caregivers or as advocates, we have to make that choice of when it’s the death of my dream. , or is it the death of, of someone else’s dream, and how do I make decisions based on that?

Mm-hmm. . So I, I believe that the Lord sustained me in many ways through that time, because he started to use our story a little bit more in the lives of other people. And I think that this is one of. We talked a little bit about this before we started recording, Kelly. In fact, that many people believe that they’re supposed to be healed before they start telling about the healing or the way that God is working in their [00:32:00] lives.

They think they’re supposed to arrive at this certain pedestal or certain. medal before they start to tell people what God is doing. And so they shrink back from serving the Lord, from stepping in, giving people words of encouragement, from allowing the spirit to lead them to talk to someone about what he’s doing in, in their life.

And so I just would encourage the listeners now to know this, that Isaiah tells us that healing takes place when we actually become a part of the healing. It says, then your light will break forth like the dawn. Then your light will shine like the noon day. When, when is that?

When is my light going to break? When am I going to be able to shine like the noon day and, and have that glorious peace and light and love again? Many people who are going through loss and grief, they ask that because they feel like those days will never come. , [00:33:00] and I just want to encourage you that when you can step out of your own little world and step into someone else’s world, and give them a word of encouragement.

Give them a verse that God’s been working in your heart. Share the burden of what you’ve been going through, and allow that to be a part of your healing rather than waiting until you’ve actually arrived. The way I saw the Lord do this in our lives was at the very first. Not long after Taylor was diagnosed, one of the very first services afterwards was music.

My husband and I were involved in, in the choir and orchestra at our church, and the music minister stood up and such a man of God, he said I just believe the Lord is working in some lives and I want to hear your stories and I want you to share your testimonies of how God’s working. [00:34:00] And so if you would email me those, I would appreciate it so much.

I want to share those with our congregation. I knew without a doubt he was speaking to me. I mean, I was in the middle of a hot mess. We’d just gotten a diagnosis. I didn’t wanna go to church, I didn’t wanna read my Bible, but I knew that he it, that word was for me. And so I emailed the pastor and told him, this is what we’re going through.

We just received this diagnosis. It’s pure hell, honestly, on this earth, but God, and this is how God is working through this. Well, I didn’t know, but he decided to take that story and that testimony and make it one of the highlights of our Christmas program. And during those three days or four days, We did a live Christmas program and the church was filled up.

Three times, 40 people came to know Christ as their savior. Wow. All of a sudden I was like, [00:35:00] then your healing will come. As the noon day, then the light comes on in your life. And I realized that all of this was so that I could point people to Jesus. It wasn’t about me at all in the first place. Hmm. And when that realization hit and I realized that what I’m learning can be used to help other people grow closer to God, then it was just like the light bulb came on and I realized that God, Always has a plan.

He always has a path, and that sharing the hard is what brings healing.

Kelly: Mm-hmm. . . Gosh, that’s so true. I love how you connected that truth to that particular verse in Isaiah. I can remember so many times sharing my story in the middle of the unresolved issues and the hope it brought people and how, and people would say, you don’t have time to minister to me.

You [00:36:00] have too much going on. And I would say, no. When I come alongside you, that heals my heart too.

Rachel: That’s good. That’s good. Yep. It’s part of the process. And I would just encourage anyone today,  I think the first step of that is just making yourself vulnerable. And being brave enough and humble enough to say, if God can use anything, you can use me.

Oh, that’s beautiful. Yes. I think one of the things about. Our stories, the way you teach and share is that they’re really unresolved. There’s so much about it that’s unresolved. We can’t tie up our story with this beautiful red bow and say, yes, everything worked out perfectly and we are just swimming in grace.

The place where Lee and I have to stand, Lee’s my husband, where we have to stand all the time, is. , God doesn’t waste a bit of our pain. Mm-hmm. , not one thing is wasted. And we need to be honest [00:37:00] with people about our laments, about our sorrows. About our heartaches, because it’s there where God’s word brings hope to our hearts and that ministers to other people.

Rachel: Yes. Yes. That’s so good. That’s so good and so true.

Kelly: I know that you are so passionate about coming alongside women in your ministry, and so I’d love it if you could just share the resources you have for people who are hurting and heartbroken. And also if there are any particular stories of redemption, of ways God has brought hope to women, that really stands out.

I’d love to hear that too.

Rachel: I think one of the most incredible things that came as a surprise or shock to me was when our precious Taylor passed away because I had no idea how wide her story was [00:38:00] reaching. I had no idea how many countries and how many people were impacted. and when I posted the funeral home their website link and where you could go online and sign an online obituary for her, these stories started pouring in of all of these people who testified how Taylor’s life changed them and how One More Step has been such a, a book that they have next to their nightstand and that they refer to the scriptures

in the back of each chapter, and how just that whole story came to fruition in some ways by the signing of her online obituary. , hundreds came in and, and , the, the funeral home director said, We’ve never seen this before. in our, our little suburb here, he is like, what do [00:39:00] you do?

How did so many people know her? And from all over the place, Belgium, Africa England, Amsterdam, all of these places. And he just said that he was floored by that. And I was honestly floored by that. And I just thought, it’s a testament that we. I mean, I’m just a small town girl, Kelly.

I grew up in a little country town of 2000 people. When I started writing about God’s grace and mercy, I started on a tiny little blog spot blog. I had no idea what I was doing online. I had to learn all of that to follow through with the ministry that God had called me to do. And so just to think that, the first blog that I started was called Just a Mom With a Heart for God

And that was sort of how I thought of myself. It wasn’t self-deprecating in any way. I just was trying to voice who I really believed myself to be, and how God [00:40:00] would take that story and reach thousands of people and take it to Focus on the Family and allow me the privilege of sharing One More Step there.

I mean, it’s just, mind blowing. And so that, that book, one more step is really just a heart book. It is a, a coffee table book. One where I wish I could just sit across the table and, and share my heart. And that was the original design of the book. So it blesses me that you’re allowing me to share that.

And then for the other resources, you I have my reading plan and journals, I really believe. That one of the greatest tools God can use in our life next to prayer, next to His word is writing it out. There is something special. And so many people say to me, well, I’m not a writer. Well, that’s why I developed these journals, because they provide that.

The journal provides the questions, it provides the passage of the day. It’s all themed according to topic. This [00:41:00] month we’re about to embark on February and February is, is called Restore me From Hurting to Healing. And it literally is just a short prayer every day scripture, reading and prayer, and a couple of short journaling sections to take you through your own healing journey.

So, You’re not at the end of 31 days completely healed and scar free, right? None of us are, but what you can be is on that path from. Moving from having such deep pain and sorrow and allowing it to saturate and encompass you to becoming free to work through that pain, and then also allow it to be a blessing to other people by sharing it.

And allowing them that comfort of knowing they’re not alone in their pain. So, that really is what Restore Me is about and all of the [00:42:00] resources that I have. The 31 Days of Prayer Through Heart Prayer cards, every one of those resources really is about pointing people to Jesus and allowing him to be the healing place for their heart.

Kelly: Mm-hmm. . I love how in the journals you help people through these little prompts, pay attention to their own soul, pay attention to their needs, and look to the Lord, and you really help them come to understand the story that God is writing in their heart. They’re really helpful and beautiful.

Rachel: Well, thank you. I, I have worked a long time, many years, decade on the writing piece of what God is doing in my life, and I’m just thrilled anytime that someone emails me and says, this was so meaningful, this was so powerful. It happens quite often, almost every day, and that is humbling and honoring, and I am just.

[00:43:00] Thrilled to be able to share that with your audience. Kelly, thank you for having me today.

Kelly: Thanks so much. I wonder if you would mind, would you pray for us?

Rachel: Lord, thank you for this incredible time that we have spent together and God, I pray that you would use the words that Kelly and I have shared together to minister to all of those who are listening.

Lord the hearts are deep, the sorrow is deep. The grief is deep. We give it all to you. God, knowing that you are the one who holds everything in your hands. You are in control. We love you. We praise you. We ask you to use this session to bring glory and honor to your name, to bring peace into the hearts of those listening, and we ask it all in your son’s name.

Amen. Amen. Thank you so much. Thanks for your time [00:44:00] today. Thank you, Kelly. God bless.

Thanks for listening to the Unshakable Hope podcast. If you enjoyed today’s episode, please subscribe and leave a review. To continue the conversation and for free resources, be sure to visit me@kellyhall.org. Thanks so much.


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