The Other Side

Sometimes, life knocks us flat on our backs. We get the wind knocked out of us, our worlds are rocked, our eyes fill with tears, and sometimes, our hearts fill with hopelessness. But have you ever noticed while you are flat on your back, your tear-filled eyes are looking up into the face of the One who loves you, who is there to help you, who is watching over you always? We are in a unique position to see where our help really comes from. We have the opportunity to lift our eyes and see that it comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.

When life knocks us down, or our world turns upside down, we are looking at the other side, and honestly, we rarely like what we see. Whether we are flattened physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, or relationally, this is not where we ever imagined we would be, and it’s definitely not where we desire to be. But let us not despair, for God’s presence is near. God’s promises are near. And although we want the difficulties to end—wanting to be on the other side of them, happy, healthy, whole, and moving forward—that may not be our reality. The situation may change, or it may not. The other side may not be seen anytime soon, possibly not even in our lifetime. But we will come out of this somehow, in some way.

Noah was in the flood; the Israelites were in slavery; Joseph was in prison; Daniel was in the lion’s den; John the Baptist was in prison; John the apostle was in exile; Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego were in the fiery furnace; and David was embattled with Goliath and fleeing for his life multiple times after that. Eventually, all of these situations came to an end. Because they all had happy endings? No. There was victory, and there was life, because in the trials and difficult times, God was there. Things were better on the other side, and sometimes the other side was heaven. And we now have the opportunity to go to that other side, to heaven, because when Jesus was knocked flat on His back—laid in a tomb after being crucified—He resurrected to life and offers the same life to us.

When we are in the pit, He is the hand up. When we are in the storm, He is the calm. When there is a mountain in our way, He is the mountain mover or the strength giver to help us climb it. We don’t know how long the trials will last, but we do know who is going to be with us during them.

King David wondered many times why hard times were happening to him. He wondered if he was going to make it through. He even wondered if he was going to survive. Yet, in the midst of it all, he praised God anyway. Let us do the same. Let’s listen for His voice, look for His leading. He is with us in the flood, the fire, the storm, and the battle; and even when there is death, those who belong to Him will not be parted from Him. What time we are afraid, we can trust in Him. He gives His beloved sleep, and when we awake, we will be with Him. Nothing can separate us from His love.1

Today is a new day. It’s a new hour. It’s a new moment. This season of difficulty is an opportunity, an opportunity for growth. It is now we can seek His face like never before. It is now we can hear His voice like we never have. It is now we can be carried in His arms. And although the storm is on one side of us, He is on the other. The date on the calendar does not matter. The weather report or the news report does not matter. The dates we dread and the storms we see on the horizon do not matter. What matters is clinging to the Anchor, the Maker of heaven and earth.

Even if we never saw the trial coming, and we are now staring up at the sky, we can persevere. We can praise God anyway. We do not have to listen to the naysayers. We do not have to bow the knee to the challenges. We don’t have to quit doing and being what God has called us to do and be. We can seek His face and call on Him in our distress. He is on our side. He is our strength, song, and salvation. He comprehends our paths and is acquainted with all our ways.2 Our hearts can know what our eyes cannot see. When things look hopeless, we are held in His hand and His plan. He will see us through to the fulfillment of His plan and purpose for us no matter what we go through to get there. We may prefer to be away from the body and at home with the LORD, but there is a purpose and perfect timing to our lives, and we can’t rush them, or we will short change ourselves and steal His glory.3 Jesus is preparing a place for us on the other side of this life, and someday, He will swallow up death forever and wipe away every tear.4 So for now, we can set our minds on things above and remember we cannot be snatched from His hand.5  Our hearts do not have to be troubled. In the Lion’s den, we can find the Lion of Judah. He is here, and He is coming—to take us to the other side.


1 See Psalm 56:3–4, 127:2, 139:18, Romans 8:38–39, and Hebrews 13:5.

2 See 1 Chronicles 16:11, Psalm 118:5–6, 14, and Psalm 139:3.

3 See 2 Corinthians 5:8.

4 See Isaiah 25:8–9, John 14:2, and Revelation 21:4–7.

5 See John 10:28 and Colossians 3:2.

I hope to see you on the other side. Jesus is the Way to get there. Place your trust in Him as the Savior and Redeemer of your soul. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16). If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).” 

Scriptures taken from the New King James Version of the Holy Bible, ©1982 by Thomas Nelson.

Our Season to Bloom

Tulips and trees are blooming this week, and I have been reflecting on the concept in a spiritual sense. Their beauty is bursting forth after a long and challenging winter season—which still tries to linger in chilly overnight temperatures. In my previous article, I wrote about long seasons—times of trial, hardship, pain, and weariness—and encouraged us to fulfill our purposes in those seasons.1 Some friends have encouraged me to bloom and use the gifts God has given me despite the naysayers. The words of scripture have encouraged me to press on to accomplish the purpose for which Christ has laid hold of me. And the recent Eastertime reflection on Jesus’s life, death, and resurrection—the love He poured out; the agony, injustice, and desertion He suffered; and His triumphant resurrection—are an inspiration and motivation to me to finish, and finish well.

The following is an article I posted about a year ago.2 I invite you to read it, even if you read it a year ago. The message is still relevant, and the encouragement is needed in these difficult days. We are here for such a time as this. This is our season to bloom.

A Season to Bloom

It is our season to bloom. Not because it is spring, and not because the flowers are blooming, but because we are to bloom in every season of life for our entire lives. We do not know how long our season will be. We do not know the number of our days. But we can know the things to do to cause life to bloom or wither. We can grow up into Christ and shine forth, or we can shrink back and shrivel. We can showcase the beauty God has instilled in us, or we can hide it from the world.

Life is not a perfect garden. Things are often difficult and thorny, the ground dry and rocky; yet, we can let our roots go deep. We can hold on to Him through the storms, the howling wind, the driving rain, the pounding hail, and the periods of drought. We can keep pressing on until the harvest. And when that time comes, we will have produced fruit. We can be representative of how to survive and thrive, if we abide in the Vine.1 We can bloom when and where we are planted through the strength and the power of God. We can then show the beauty of the finished product and what the world has been needing.  

God has us here for this moment. And even in difficult times, we can have peace and share peace because Jesus gives peace. And when it is all said and done, He can bring a glorious harvest from our lives. So, bloom where you are planted, whether it is in the aisle of a grocery store or the waiting room of a clinic, the deck of a cruise ship or the sand of a beach, the street corner of a bustling city or the counter of a country café; and do it whether you are there for hours, days, weeks, or years. Every moment of life, every location, is an opportunity to bloom with beauty and spread the fragrance of Christ.2

He has an ultimate purpose for our lives, and every day and every decision moves us either toward that purpose or away from it. What about when it’s difficult, when we are tired, upset, and everything is going wrong? Yes, even then. At all times, and everywhere we go, we are to represent Him. He is worthy of our praise, at all times and in all circumstances. So, when the ground is rocky, grow. When the land is parched, flourish. When the sun doesn’t shine, reflect His Light. When this isn’t what you signed up for, complete the mission. When no one is kind or loving, you be the one to rise to the occasion. Are we perfect? Not even close. But we can always strive to do our best. He gave His life for us. Can we, with gratitude, give ours in return? Can we make His name known, shine His light, show His love, and bring Him glory? Yes. Every season is a season to bloom.


1 Francee Strain, “A Long Season,” Come Unto Me Ministries, April 24, 2023, accessed April 29, 2023,

2 Francee Strain, “A Season to Bloom,” Come Unto Me Ministries, May 1, 2022, accessed April 29, 2023,

© Text and photo Francee Strain, April 29, 2023


1 See John 15:1–8.

2 See 2 Corinthians 2:14–17.

A Long Season

It snowed. Again. Shouldn’t winter be over after six months? My brain and my calendar say so, but apparently, reality is saying something different. It sure has been a long season.

As I was reading the account of Joshua in the Bible, I came across a verse where he mentioned to the Israelites that they had dwelled in the wilderness for a long season.1 That season happened to be forty years. The fact was, their poor choices put them there. Forty years of wandering, waiting for the day when the season would end. But although the days were long, and the people were not where they desired to be, or were supposed to be, they were not without God. He led them, protected them, and provided for them. Even when they were angry, discouraged, whiny, and selfish, He kept His promise to see them through their journey to a place of rest, to the time when one season would end, and the next would begin. Sometimes, our seasons are quite long, too. A six-month winter seems like forty years. Day after day of intense grief doesn’t seem like it will ever let up. Chronic illness steals away the prime of our lives, and all the years after that, too. Our bank account is not recovering. The roof over our head is a tent in a refugee camp. Our child is still walking the prodigal road. We messed up. Someone else messed up, and we have to suffer the consequences.

Day after day, our spirits sigh. Day after day, the tears roll down. Day after day we wonder how we are ever going to make it to the finish line intact. Heads forget how to lift. Eyes forget how to look up. Hearts forget how to hope. Minds doubt that the sun will ever shine again. But day after day, God’s presence is there. Day after day, He is on the throne. Day after day, He carries His children, keeping His promise to see them through their journey to a place of rest. No matter the circumstances of our long seasons, God has not left us alone. He does not say He will only walk with us in good times and happy times. He does not say He will only walk with us when everything is going right. He has said He will never leave us or forsake us.2 That means ever. And that means even if the long season never comes to an end, because sometimes it won’t.

So, in the meantime, in the midst of the long seasons, we can rest assured that though a mother may forget her child, God will never forget those who are His.3 Even if the stars should break faith with the sky, He will remain faithful. He is our portion forever.4 We may feel forgotten, but He is aware of every detail. He never slumbers or sleeps.5 His eyes are on those who fear Him, and His ears are open to their cries.6 Nothing, absolutely nothing, can separate us from the love of God.7 He carries us in His arms, and nothing will ever be able to pluck us from His hand.8

Rest assured that even if nothing ever changes while we walk this earth, it will change when we enter the presence of God. He will give us the strength, peace, hope, and encouragement we need to press on so that we may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of us.9 And when time has come to an end, the seasons will end, and we will be with Him forever.

So, while we are here, let us fulfill our purposes in this season. God has given us gifts to use and opportunities to take. May we not waste these difficult days focused inwardly. This season is part of our story, part of who we are, and part of who we are becoming. God can craft a beautiful masterpiece, if we place the pieces of our lives into His capable hands. Trust His timing and His sovereignty. Trust His power and His abilities. And trust His unwavering love for you; it is there throughout every season.


1 See Joshua 24:7.

2 See Hebrews 13:5.

3 See Isaiah 49:15.

4 See Psalm 73:26.

5 See Psalm 121:4.

6 See Psalm 34:15.

7 See Romans 8:38–39.

8 See Isaiah 40:11 and John 10:28–30.

9 See Philippians 3:12.

©Text and photo Francee Strain, April 24, 2023

To The Forefront Again

I posted the following article two years ago, but since it is still applicable, I am posting it again.

The Forefront

Another Easter holiday has passed, and we have moved on to the next thing, bypassing it on the calendar and moving toward tomorrow. But did we focus on the significance of the day, the true meaning and the ramifications it has for our lives? Has the day which was in the forefront of our minds and activities now become an afterthought?

Day after day passes by on the calendar as our lives, too, pass. Do we focus on the significance of each day and the ramifications for how we live it? We only have this day to live—and really, only this moment. At any moment our lives could end. What do we have to show for them? Have we lived well? And most importantly, have we prepared for the eternity that is yet to be lived? Our decisions today make all the difference, and the timing matters. We cannot relive and redo the past, and we cannot guarantee we will even make it through the rest of this day. Thus, there are important things to be considered. Taking our days and our lives for granted can put us in a precarious situation where we have procrastinated about the most important decision that can ever be made: where we will spend eternity. What has become an afterthought needs to be brought to the forefront. 

I have been reflecting on a post I wrote in 2019 entitled “Three Crosses” in order to bring the afterthought of Easter back to the forefront of my mind. I am posting it here for you to read and reflect upon as well.1


Three Crosses

There were three crosses, and upon each one an important decision was made. On the cross in the middle hung Jesus Christ, the Son of God. He willingly chose to offer up his life as a sacrifice to pay for our sins and give us an opportunity to spend eternity with Him. On either side of Him hung a man who was facing the end of his life and was about to pass into eternity. They each had time to make a choice. One chose at that moment to reject who Jesus was and what was being offered to him—salvation and eternal life. The other chose to believe and asked Jesus to save him. To this man Jesus said, “Today you will be with Me in Paradise.”2 On which side of the cross will you stand? What choice will you make while you have this moment of time?3


©Text and photo Francee Strain, April 12, 2023.  

1 “The Forefront” text and photo originally posted by Francee Strain on April 11, 2021.

2 See Luke 23:43 from the New King James Version of the Holy Bible, © 1982 by Thomas Nelson.

3 “Three Crosses” text and photo originally posted by Francee Strain on April 19, 2019.

Three Crosses, One Savior, Two Choices

One Friday, almost 2,000 years ago, there were three crosses.

On those crosses were three men: two were thieves, and one was sinless.

The sinless one was Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who came to take away the sin of the world. By His death on the cross, forgiveness and life were offered to all who would receive them. They were right there, free for the asking, free for the taking, but only one man chose to receive that gift. This man’s choice had eternal consequences, as did the rejection of the gift by the other man. To the one who believed Jesus was the Savior, eternal life was given, beginning that very day. To the other man, there was nothing to receive except eternal separation from God. And so it is today.1

The offer Jesus gave through His death on the cross remains, and there are only two choices about what to do with it: receive it or reject it. Will you receive His gift today?2

The two thieves knew their deaths were imminent and that a choice had to be made rather soon. We don’t find ourselves on a cross today, but we need to make our choice soon—before we draw our last breaths. And since none of us knows when that moment will come, we should prepare now while we can. Time is precious, and time is fleeting.

I hope you will accept the gift that has been offered to you. I hope you choose the One and Only Savior!

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

John 3:16


1 See Luke 23:43, John 1:29, John 3:16–18, and Romans 6:23.

2 See Romans 10:13, 1 John 1:8–9, and 1 John 4:15.

Quotation of John 3:16 taken from the New King James Version of the Holy Bible, ©1982 by Thomas Nelson.

©Text and photo Francee Strain, April 7, 2023

For further reading, you may access these articles on my website:

  • Easter Preparations
  • Easter—The Preparation, the Purpose, and the Promise (A Three-part Series)
  • He Is Risen! He Is Risen, Indeed!
  • Passing Time
  • Remember the Way
  • The Forefront
  • This Moment
  • Three Crosses

Eternal Truth

For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.1

These words were not just meant for Christmas! They went on from there! Yes, Jesus was born, but then He lived to die for our sins. And then He went on from there! He arose from the grave—the triumphant King! And He will come again to receive all those who believe in Him. Do you believe?

Of the increase of His government and peace
There will be no end,
Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom,
To order it and establish it with judgment and justice
From that time forward, even forever.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.2

Pilate therefore said to Him, “Are You a king then?” Jesus answered, “You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.”3

Christ Jesus “who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.4

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.5


1 Isaiah 9:6

2 Isaiah 9:7  

3 John 18:37

4 Philippians 2:6–11

5 John 3:16–17

Scriptures taken from the New King James Version of the Holy Bible, ©1982 by Thomas Nelson.

©Text and photo Francee Strain April 5, 2023

Songs for reflection:

Eternal Purpose Podcast, Year One

March 29, 2023 marks the one-year anniversary of my podcast, 𝗘𝘁𝗲𝗿𝗻𝗮𝗹 𝗣𝘂𝗿𝗽𝗼𝘀𝗲 𝗣𝗼𝗱𝗰𝗮𝘀𝘁. It has been a blessing to have this podcast and connect with listeners. I have enjoyed hearing how the episodes have impacted lives. I appreciate everyone who has listened to the episodes, given feedback, prayed for me, and encouraged me along the way.

There have been many challenges on this journey, from my health to the technical aspects, but God has helped me, carried me, and sustained me. To Him belongs all the glory!

There are now 38 episodes available for listening. You may access them on Spotify or on the podcast page on my website at

Thank you,

Francee Strain

Be Someone’s One

Have you ever received a delivery, card, text, phone call, donation, hug, or visitor you were not expecting, and it greatly lifted your heart? I have received all of the above—things which were totally unexpected but which touched my heart deeply. Did all my problems go away when I received these things? No, but some of the heaviness on my heart and mind did. I received hope, comfort, joy, love, and the reminder I was not alone. I was remembered when I thought I had been forgotten. I was loved when I felt unloved, and unlovable. I was comforted when I was sad. I was encouraged when the road felt too long. These gestures made it seem as though someone was journeying with me at a time when I was feeling alone on the road of life. And every time I look at the gifts now, reread the words, or reflect on the experiences, they continue to lift my heart. One person. One person took action, but the results were multiple and were just what I needed at the time. One person can make a difference, and one person can change the world.

At times, our reach may not seem to cover much space, but what if we are encouraging the ones who will change the world. What if we are parenting them? Are married to them? Are the child of one of them? Are the friend, or neighbor, or customer of one of them? In one gesture, in one moment of our time, in one stamp from our desk, one dollar from our wallet, one click on our screen, our one effort could make all the difference in the life of another one. And if our labor of love is founded on Christ, we will be bringing Life itself. We are His hands and feet while we live and breathe. Where will we reach? Where will we go?

People are lonely—lonely by themselves, lonely in their families, lonely in crowds. People are weary and downtrodden, living in prisons of shame, living lives of defeat and despair, grieving deeply, and believing that no one cares. Times are dark. Burdens are heavy. Pain is real. And we cannot even begin to imagine some of the things people are facing right now because they paste on plastic smiles and go through the motions, day after day after day, while inside, their hearts are withering away. What will make life better for them? Someone who will be their one.

We can reach out and help others by following Jesus’s example of being kind, encouraging, helpful, loving, giving, and sacrificial. We can help people see the love and beauty of God. We can help them find a way to live again, and the way to live eternally. When they are buried under the hardships of life, we can be the ray of sun that shines the love and hope of Jesus into their pain. When people are bowed low, we can be the ones to lift their heads and point them to the One who can truly help, the Maker of heaven and earth. His power strengthens the powerless, and His help helps the helpless.

Gestures, big or small, inexpensive or costly, can greatly lift someone’s heart and meet their needs—physical, mental, emotional, relational, and spiritual. The consequences are significant. Our involvement can make burdens lighter. We can help mend a heart, be the glue that holds someone together when everything else is falling apart, and help someone live to fight another day. Our tokens and actions will remind people they are not alone, that they are seen and loved, and that God cares about the details of their lives. We all have the capability, no matter our resources, to encourage someone. Even if all we can give is a smile or a kind word, it matters. And when there has been giving on one side, there is now less lack on the other side. Our simple acts may pull someone back from the brink of hopelessness, depression, despair, or even suicide. We should make time and take time to pour into the lives of others. Time is fleeting, and the opportunities are passing.

We can make people feel loved and valued—today, and for years to come. I still remember kind words from decades ago, hugs from decades ago, people making time for me decades ago. Our actions matter. We can choose to bless someone every day. We can make it a habit to think of others and let them know we are thinking of them. The kind words we give today may be the only ones that have ever been heard. These simple words can have a profound impact. We can encourage people to face the trials they encounter in difficult places, the places where they are told they are worthless, and the places where they never feel loved. And even after we have passed out of their presence, the memory of how we touched their lives will remain. May what we do continue to comfort them just as a sweet fragrance lingers in the air.

“Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.”1Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.”2

May we cheer people on and help them finish, and help them finish well. Everyone needs a cheerleader. Infants need nurture, or they will not grow and develop well; and after infancy, each person needs uplifted. God designed us for relationships, not just to receive from them but to pour into them. Everyone needs to know they are worth it—worth someone taking the time for, worth someone being kind to, worth someone stepping into their world, worth someone feeling their pain.

We have the opportunity to change lives every day. Will we do it? And when we do it, will we do it for the better? An action or a word at just the right time can make all the difference. Will we be someone’s one?

And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.3

By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him? My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.4


1 Ephesians 5:1–2

2 Philippians 2:3–4

3 Galatians 6:9–10

4 First John 3:16–18

Scriptures taken from the New King James Version of the Holy Bible, ©1982 by Thomas Nelson.

©Text and photo Francee Strain, March 20, 2023

Dear Reader,

Know that you are loved and are never alone. Even when no human is physically present or offering you love and kindness, God will be your One. He gives love, grace, mercy, and forgiveness; and He can fill every part of you. And if you choose Him to be your God, He will never leave you or forsake you. He is waiting with outstretched arms. He is ready to adopt you into His family, to be your Father, to be your Savior, to be your ever-present help in time of need. He is ready to be your One.

Immeasurably More

“Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”1

These are the words of Ephesians 3, verses 20 and 21. When we read these words, we find an amazing concept about our amazing God. In short, we find that God is able to do immeasurably more than all we can ask, think, or imagine.2

He is able to do these things because of His great power.

And He does such things in us because of the power of Jesus at work in our lives.

Greatness comes into our lives when we allow God to come into our lives through the acceptance of His Son, Jesus, as our Savior. Greatness in word, greatness in deed, greatness in endurance. Greatness that is immeasurable.

Life is hard, and so many times it is ugly, overwhelming, painful. But through all of this, in spite of all of this, there is immeasurably more.

There is immeasurable grace, immeasurable endurance, immeasurable love, immeasurable hope, peace, and joy, just to name a few.

There is immeasurable grace to cover our mistakes, failings, and shortcomings. We are immeasurably forgiven by accepting the sacrifice of Jesus. Our sins are buried in the deepest ocean and are as far as the east is from the west.3 They are immeasurably forgotten as He remembers our sins no more.

There is immeasurable endurance to face any trial that comes our way. We can get out of bed in the morning. We can continue to put one foot in front of the other. We can accomplish the things that are necessary to get through the day. We can sleep peacefully through the night because He gives His beloved sleep.

There is immeasurable love that covers us, that sings over us, that draws us ever nearer to God. His immeasurable love is patient, and it is kind. It keeps no record of wrongs. It endures all things, and it never fails.

There is immeasurable hope. Even when we cannot see any way out of this or through this, even when we cannot understand what is happening and why it is happening, we can hope. Everything that takes place can be worked into something beautiful by His hand. All things are not good, but He is able to work all things for good. Not some things, not a few things, not many things—ALL THINGS. Immeasurable hope. Nothing is hopeless with Him in our lives—standing beside us, going before us, dwelling within us.

There is immeasurable peace. Peace came to live with us and dwell among us in the life and sacrifice of Jesus Christ. He came to bring peace between us and God—peace in knowing that we will have eternal life if we place our trust and faith in Him and receive His forgiveness. Immeasurable peace. Peace for now. Peace for eternity.

There is immeasurable joy. Through my tears, I can see His beautiful face. Through my pain, I can see His mighty hand. Through my unhappiness, I can have a joy I have never known before because I know He has done immeasurable things for me. He has given His very life for me. He has given me salvation. He is preparing a place for me in heaven. And He is never going to leave me or forsake me. Ever.

Immeasurably more. Immeasurably God.


1 Scriptures taken from the New King James Version of the Holy Bible, ©1982 by Thomas Nelson.

2 “Imagine” is a synonym of “think.”

3 See Psalm 103:12 and Micah 7:19.

©Text and photo Francee Strain March 10, 2023. This is a revised version of an article I posted July 29, 2017.

A Change of Heart

As I was preparing to record for my podcast a few days ago, God brought this old article back to my mind … and then He brought it back to my heart. Reading the words was impactful. Speaking the words aloud as I recorded was impactful. Listening to the podcast recording played back was impactful. And I have had a change of heart—again. I hope in whatever way you experience these words today (reading them from the page or listening to them on my podcast), you will have a change of heart as well.1 

Who likes change? Anyone? Anyone?! I do—if it is a certain type, that is. I like heart change.

There was a time when I needed to have a change of heart. I was so burned out, worn out, stressed out, stretched out, and flat laid out that my heart had become a stone. I was still living and breathing, yet I was cold and dead and numb. But I came across the words of scripture in Ezekiel 36:26 (KJV) which say, “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” I began to cry out for God to change my heart. And He did. But not in the way I ever imagined, nor in the way I hoped things would go. I had some open-heart surgery, spiritually speaking. Everything was laid out before God; nothing was hidden from Him. Yes, He saw into the depths of my heart, and what He saw there was not pretty. God had changed my heart once before, from a spiritually dead one to a fully alive one at the point of my salvation, but now I needed some remodeling. At times I still do. So, He went to work in ways only He could, and before I knew it, I had a heart of flesh again.

Back then, it was definitely time for a change, but sometimes still today it is, too. Sometimes I need a change of attitude. Sometimes I need a change of direction. Sometimes I need a change in my motivational level where I have the fortitude and the gumption to keep on keeping on when every cell in my body cries out that it wants to quit. I need to be changed into the image of Christ, to move from my present state into an ever-changing one—one that becomes more and more like Him. This is the essence of growth. 

I follow His lead, I follow His example, I follow His commandments—even if all of these require change—change in my thoughts, my hopes, and my dreams; change in how I live life and how I do my routine; change in where I go and how I spend my resources; change in my perspective and change in my priorities. 

I have a change of heart when my broken heart becomes a healed heart. I remember His promises, and they soothe my pain. I receive His forgiveness, and He makes me whole. I release the anger and the bitterness, and the gaping hole they left is stitched back together with His divine comfort.

I have a change of heart when I move from being selfish to being generous. I remember it is more blessed to give than receive. I count my blessings and realize all I have comes from His hand. I remember what Jesus gave for me—His life, forgiveness, and eternal life.

I have a change of heart when my restless heart becomes a peaceful one. This happens when I trust His heart, not mine. His ways and timing and thoughts are above mine and perfect. His words “fear not” are not advice or a suggestion, rather they are a command. I am directed to trust Him rather than myself. I am called to focus on the One who has all power and authority. When I listen to Him speak peace over my life, my quivering heart becomes still.

I have a change of heart when I move from having a joyless heart to a joyful one. When I shift my focus to what truly matters, I find joy. This joy is like medicine in my broken life. Heavy circumstances bring heavy hearts, but these hearts can be lightened when they are filled with His hope. Even if the circumstances don’t change, I can. The joy of the Lord becomes my strength.

I have a change of heart when I move from being dissatisfied to content. Rather than trying to skip particular seasons of life, I seek to accomplish God’s purposes in them. Rather than rush through, I realize what I have in Him right now spiritually is more than anything I could ever gain materially. I am learning to be content in whatsoever state I am in.

I have a change of heart when I move from pursuing the desires of my heart to pursuing the desires of His. I pursue Him rather than me. I seek His glory rather than mine. I seek to do His will rather than my own. I focus on the eternal rather than the temporal so that I might leave His love and legacy in the hearts and minds of those I encounter.

Yes, I like change—not for the sake of change itself, but for the end result. For when I draw near to God, He draws near to me. And that changes everything.


1 You can access my podcast, Eternal Purpose Podcast, on Anchor, Spotify, or the podcast page on my website.

©Text and photo Francee Strain, February 25, 2023. Original article posted October 24, 2018.