Book Review: The Lost Melody

by Joanna Davidson Politano

Vivienne Mourdant is a concert pianist who inherits an unexpected guardianship from her father. She discovers she has more in common with the local asylum than she ever dreamed. In searching for more information, Vivienne goes under cover as a nurse and finds herself in a situation that quickly spins out of her control.

The Lost Melody by Joanna Davidson Politano is loosely linked story to her last book A Midnight Dance. Similar in the musical and lyrical tone of the book, The Lost Melody captures and embodies the prodigy pianist who hears music in everything around her.

Personally, I related more to A Midnight Dance, but perhaps musicians relate more to this novel. I had difficulty inserting myself into the story. The asylum is an intriguing and bold setting for such a lyrical book. So at odds with the main character’s world one can only assume it was intentional. However, to be fair, an 1800s asylum in England is much at odds with many of our lives today. The atrocities that took place are grievous and I did have a hard time reading through the various stories as compassion rose up in my heart for the people so inhumanely and unjustly treated. Which is precisely why familiarizing oneself with history is good. Easy to forget how far we have come and how far yet we need to go.

It is a thought provoking book. Not much of a romance, although there is one there. If you are looking for a dark suspense/mystery wrapped in music, this is the book for you. If you are looking for a light uplifting beautiful romance novel I would go with A Mightnight Dance.


Mothers Day Giveaway!


Mothers Day Giveaway with Color Street by Natalie Gorrell

Mothers Day Giveaway with Color Street Nails! This week I am honoring all the hard working mamas who are out there killing it! You are doing an amazing job raising your kids, keeping them honest, midnight feedings, doing the laundry, washing the dishes, multiple school runs, sports activities, meal plans and… darn it!! You just chipped a nail!

No worries my friend. We got your back! Color Street Stylist Natalie Gorrell and I are teaming up to do a fantastic Mothers Day giveaway! Here is how you can enter to win:

Mothers Day Giveaway:

A signed copy of Tired Mamas Pray +

A Set of Color Street Nail items, Bookmark, and more…!

Hint 1: Watch the Facebook Live Interview where I will be a guest speaker on Natalie’s Color Street VIP Group this Tuesday, May 3rd at 11am PT/1pm CT. To watch this interview join Natalie’s FB group!

Hint 2: There will be a Website Scavenger Hunt right here on on Wednesday, May 4th, at 10 am PT/12 pm CT

 Hint 3: Thursday will the last chance to earn an entry in the giveaway posted Friday, May 6th at 5 am PT/7 am CT

 WINNER: We will announce the lucky winner this Friday, May 6th at noon PT/2 pm CT

Happy Mothers Day!

She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children call her blessed… charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. – Proverbs 31:27-30 ESV

Celebrate Mothers Day BOGO 50% OFF

BOGO 50% Off Event in celebration of Mothers Day!

Celebrate Mothers Day by giving her a signed copy of Tired Mamas Pray BOGO 50% Off!

If you know a tired mama, hook her up for Mothers Day! Supplies are limited, so Preorder your books now to reserve your copies by emailing me at: Please include:

Your Name:

Your Email:

Number of Copies:

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Not Local? No Worries! I can ship them to you as well!

See what others are saying about Tired Mamas Pray

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Redeeming Freedom Ministries

Today, I invite you all to celebrate with me a dream has become a reality! In the days of my silence I have been busy founding Redeeming Freedom Ministries, and I am delighted to share the news with you!

Redeeming Freedom Ministries is an Inner Healing and Prayer ministry situated here in Southwest Missouri. The Redeeming Freedom team and I are full of joy and expectation to see where the Lord is going to take this ministry.

Wondering what Inner Healing is?

Well… the Greek word for Salvation in Christ Jesus literally means: saved, healed, delivered, protected, preserved, to be made whole. Is that you? Or do you feel stuck in your walk with God? Disconnected to the Father, Jesus or the Holy Spirit?

Think about it this way. If you needed out of a terrible business partnership you were legally bound to, you would go and dissolve those agreements, divide the assets, and give back what is not yours and take back what belongs to you. Inner Healing is essentially doing just that.

Our team at Redeeming Freedom will help you identify what agreements in your life (lies, sin, trauma, false beliefs, shame, etc.) need to be dissolved. Then we will help you find healing and freedom through the finished work of the cross of Jesus Christ. Through forgiveness and repentance, and replacing lies with Biblical truth our team will help you connect with Father God, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit on a deeper, richer level to experience salvation at its fullest.

True Story

For decades church was hard for me. I served but never felt like I belonged. I saw that new comers were always more valuable than me. In my inner healing session, the prayer team led me in a prayer asking the Lord when I first felt like an outsider and easily replaced.

Immediately I saw myself as a 15 year old again, sitting down to lunch with my family after church. In order to save time, my father opted for a table too small for our larger than usual party. Being the youngest, I was moved to a chair tacked onto the end of the booth. Bumped by every passerby, cursed by every server for being in the way, my purse constantly knocked to the ground. This continued every Sunday and as our family grew I was often shuffled about to make room for another in many different ways.

When I spoke up no one listened. The pain developed into the belief of being unvalued and without a place in the family. Centered around Sundays, Anger grew and became a stronghold in my life focusing its attention on the church and skewing my view of the family of God and my place/role in it.

But then I signed up for an Inner Healing session and Father God met me with his extravagant love. He gave me a picture of His banquet table in heaven. Where there are beautifully carved thrones placed all around his table. Every throne had a name interictally carved into it. Then I saw my seat, carved with my name. No one else could take my place. If I was present, my chair was full. If I was absent, it sat empty. You see, God showed me that in His family every one of His children has a place that cannot be given to another. Every child of His is honored and valued and each has a seat in his house that cannot be taken away.

It was like taking off a pair of bad sunglasses. Anger lost its hold on my life and my relationship with the church has changed. Now I am excited to go to church, to serve, and love with a freedom that can only in found in Jesus!

– Anonymous Client

This is inner healing. And this is what Redeeming Freedom Ministries is all about.

At Redeeming Freedom Ministries, we do in person as well as online appointments. So whether you are here in Southwest Missouri, or in Colorado, Cincinnati, Philadelphia, Chicago or somewhere further we are here to serve you.

If you are tired of issues plaguing your life such as:

  • Fear/Anxiety
  • Brokenness
  • Anger
  • Hatred
  • Unforgiveness
  • Addiction
  • Occult/Witchcraft
  • Depression
  • Unhealthy Patters
  • Perfectionism/Performance
  • Manipulation & Control
  • Trauma
  • Rejection

Schedule your appointment today with Redeeming Freedom Ministries. Don’t wait another moment stuck in the mire when Jesus Christ has come to give you life to the fullest!

Learn more about how Inner Healing can breathe life back into your family, marriage, and home atmospheres as well.


Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to you from the Crouse family! Today I pray the God of peace and joy fills your heart whether you are packed in a house full of family, or tucked away all cozy with your favorite blanket and Christmas movie.

2022 carries the promise of a new year and I am so excited for it. I always ask God for what His word is for the year and then I agree with it.

Last year’s word was “Harvest” and knowing that could go in lots of directions, I simply blessed God’s harvest plans for 2021. Little did I know, this would be the year I signed a contract to publish the prayers I had written seven years ago. And by November 2021, Tired Mamas Pray was released.

If you are thinking about and planning 2022 already, here is a prayer for this coming year:

Father of Lights, in your book are written all the days ordained for me, before one of them came to be. I bless and come into agreement with your will and purposes you have ordained for me in 2022. Show me how to align myself with your purposes. What word would you give me for this next year?

Merry Christmas friends, and a Happy New Year!


Escape to Egypt

12 Weeks of Christmas Finale

by Leslie Crouse

Mount Durunkah, Egypt. Six Months After the Birth of Christ.


Through all the dangers, toils and snares God’s provision never ceased. The Magi’s gifts equipped and provided for their escape to Egypt. Egypt, being outside of Herod’s authority and a close neighbor of Judea, had become the much-needed refuge. With ease they had crossed the Nile Delta resting in Wadi Natruh.  When God had provided a boat, they traveled up the Nile to Mount Durunkah. There, Joseph found a large cave and for the first time since the Magi’s visit, felt safe enough to rest his family for a time.

He remembered the words of Hosea, “Out of Egypt I called my son.” Hundreds of years ago his people had fled Egypt. Now, they fled to it. As if Jehovah had always intended to bring the story full circle. Would he redeem Egypt as well?

It had been nearly a year since the news of a census had upended their world. A year propelled by crises, each one more harrowing than the next. Joseph had moved through each situation with total objectivity. He had to. Emotions were a luxury he could not afford.

While Jesus thrived and was at peace wherever they were, it was difficult in Egypt. Mary cried all the time, though she tried to hide it. Is it normal? He wondered. She has been through so much. He wanted to help. Wanted to comfort her but did not know how. Feelings of inadequacy arose again.    

Having fled Bethlehem in the cover of darkness, neither of them had found closure. The past year seemed a blur. Neither spoke about it. Mary silently stored up the details in her heart and pondered them privately. Nothing had gone according to his plan. Though he asked for news at every Judean outpost, he had learned nothing that indicated they could return. How long would they wander?

Their family believed them dead. Given he and Mary had never come home after the slaughter of Bethlehem, there was little else to conclude. The deceit weighed heavy upon Joseph’s heart. Round and round his mind went, but it always landed on the same conclusion. Any word will compromise the safety of everyone involved. As long as the world believes us dead, Jesus will be safe. Still, both he and Mary ached for home.

Joseph, did his best to integrate them into the Jewish community of Egypt. Yet, still they waited, suspended in time, until word of Herod’s death. How long must we wait, LORD? For the first time in his life, Joseph prayed for the death of a man.


Mary tried to adjust to motherhood, but nothing was like she thought it would be. As a girl, she used to dream her mother would be beside her as she learned how to nurse. She had assumed the midwife would deliver her son. Envisioned friends and family surrounding them to celebrate the joyous occasion. She used to dream of seeing the far away places her ancestors had walked and lived in.

Technically, many of those dreams had come true. She had a godly, loving husband. A beautiful baby boy. And their journey had taken her to places far beyond Nazareth’s safe borders. But nothing felt like she had expected. For six months they had been on the run. Hiding in caves and traveling at night. Joseph did most of the purchases at markets so as to not draw suspicion. She had expected to feel unspeakable joy. Instead, she felt suffocated by exhaustion, loneliness, sadness and guilt.

She was the blessed mother of the Messiah! Highly favored by God! How could she be so weak? She dare not speak of her struggle. No one would understand. I must pack. I must leave. A more worthy woman would take my place. She shifted, uncomfortable with the thoughts of betrayal that circled her mind like carrion.

Missing her warmth, Jesus made a soft sound. Careful not to wake Joseph, she shifted and gently picked Jesus up and holding him close one last time. Oh, how she loved this sweet, baby boy. He was so joyful. So full of life. Tears of grief ran trails down her cheeks.

Nuzzling her face into the soft skin of his neck Mary wept. Realizing she could not hold back her despair any longer, there in the darkness of the cave she sobbed pouring out her heart’s every fear, weakness and doubt to the true Father of Jesus. When her tears were spent, she looked up into the perceiving eyes of God’s only Son and saw such love in his eyes. Jesus raised a pudgy hand to her face, never breaking eye contact and burbled, “Ma-ma.” Holy fire spread through her chest. Peace like she had never experienced flooded her body as heavenly light blasted through the dark recesses of her heart erasing every doubt and sadness. For the first time in six months, the burden lifted and a rusty laugh escaped her lips.

Suddenly, Joseph shot up from his pallet with a strange light in his eye. Searching the cave for her, his perceptive eyes landing on her half-packed bag, he put an arm around her shoulder and a hand upon Jesus’ head and said, “It is over. Let’s go home, love.”

I hope you have enjoyed my Christmas Mini-Series and that it has awakened your heart to the truth of the danger and grit of Mary and Joseph and all they endured. Next time you see a nativity, remember that things were not so simple nor so peaceful and safe. Heaven had indeed declared war on Darkness. And soon, Jesus would carry the keys to death and Hades and purchased the freedom of Darkness’s captives with his own blood.

12 weeks of Christmas:

#3 Herod

by Leslie Crouse

Herod sat and mused to himself how far he had come. Born a servant, he knew what it was to be a powerless puppet. Yet, through his political brilliance, he had risen to become Herod the Great. They called him a madman for murdering his favorite wife and step children. But she had been of the Hasmonean dynasty and he would not tolerate any claim to his throne.

It’s true. He was a violent man but would leave a different legacy through his building projects. Recently, he had completed his masterpiece. Jerusalem’s new temple. Named Herod’s Temple in his honor. It was a veritable circus in the court of the Gentiles, but he had appointed Annas as High Priest of Jerusalem and the oily priest made sure the temple was a lucrative business.

And just this morning, Annas had reported the Shekinah Glory of God was dwelling over Jerusalem! It had not happened since Solomon’s day. Herod finished another large glass of wine and leaned back giving a satisfied sigh. I am Herod the Great King. Even the God of Abraham recognizes my rightful place on the throne with the presence of His Shekinah glory.


The journey from the Parthian Empire had taken about 4 months. Belteshazzar led the entourage of Magi, soldiers, servants and beasts as they traveled. In total there were about 700 of them and the journey had gone slower than he liked.

But, the sword-shaped Shekinah had led them steadily. By day it looked much like a cloud sparkling with golden flakes. At night, it appeared as a pillar of living fire. It was a fearsome sight to behold and any who got too close died.

Belteshazzar was excited. He was witnessing history being made. There were bad relations between the Parthian Empire and Herod. Herod was an Edomite who hated the Jews and stolen the Hasmonean throne with Roman assistance. He was deceitful at best. A maniacal murderer at worst.

Belteshazzar knew Phraates IV was all too eager to recognize a new king and rebuild the bridge with Judea. They were there to be ambassadors as much as to celebrate the birth of the new “King of the Jews.” And Phraates IV was adamant they use that very title, “King of the Jews” when referring to the new king.

He could see the walls of Jerusalem. Soon, the watchmen upon the walls would cry out their arrival and he would face the unpredictable Herod.

Herod’s Courts

“Your Majesty, I have an urgent message from your Captain at the wall.” Breaking his musings, Herod set his wine down and extended his scepter allowing the man to continue his report. “There is a great entourage approaching Jerusalem. Our scouts are reporting it is of Parthian origin.”  

Herod froze, wine halfway to his wet lips. The Parthians? They have opposed my every decision. Were they here to bring war for the executed Hasmonean heir, the princess and her children? Herod wondered what political intrigues were afoot. “How many?”

The man bowed and continued, “Between 600-800, Great King. There are many soldiers and Magi.”

Herod thought for a moment. How can he maneuver this to his advantage? His armies were away, reinforcing a Roman battle. Now was not the time for teaching the Parthians a lesson in submission. Perhaps they have seen the Shekinah Glory of the LORD and come to recognize me as the rightful king.

Herod replied, “Prepare a feast for them. I want all the best entertainment present. We will welcome them as friends and find out what their purpose is.”


That evening the Parthian entourage marched through Jerusalem with much fanfare. The people were terrified it meant another war. Given the number in this entourage, Herod too, was nervous. What is their intent? He wondered.

At Herod’s invitation to speak, the Chief Magus, Belteshazzar, approached his throne and bowed low. “Where is he who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw his star,” pointing toward the Shekinah Glory of the LORD, “when it rose and have come to worship him.” For a moment, Herod simply stared.

Belial slithered up the throne and whispered, “Who dares make a claim to the Jewish throne when you are the one who has conquered this country?” White hot fury filled Herod.

Master of political diplomacy, Herod smiled, “My friends, how my heart rejoices at your arrival! I welcome you at this time of celebration. Please, before we discuss this further, I insist you rest from your great journey. Come, my servants will show you to your rooms.”

Belteshazzar bowed and said, “You are gracious, Sire.” He noted that while Herod, appeared joyful at this news, the wily king had avoided revealing any information. Belteshazzar looked into Herod’s jubilant eyes and reminded himself that this was a madman not to be trusted. Used to being put off by kings, he bowed low again and allowed Herod’s servants to usher him and the other Magi to their prepared rooms.

Herod called for an immediate assembly of all the chief priests and scribes of the people. He inquired where exactly the Christ was to be born and all information about him. Annas reported “In Bethlehem of Judea,” and went into a long Jewish prophecy.

Herod paced in his chambers. He hated the Jews. This hope for a messiah they held on to was foolishness. It fueled rebellions and had been the cause of several false messiahs. He was ready to squash this Jewish hope once and for all. But the Parthians were a new dynamic that sparked a fear he did not like to recognize. Why are they involved? The Shekinah led them here? The LORD’s manifest glory is for another king? Again, rage consumed him.

Several hours later, Herod summoned Belteshazzar and the other Magi to his private quarters where they discussed the Shekinah and the time it first appeared. Then he shared the information about the Messiah. Who he was and how they all had waited so long for the Eternal King.  Herod finished saying, “Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him, bring me word that I too may come and worship him.”

Belteshazzar sensed something did not equate. If Herod had been waiting for this king, why did the Shekinah come to them and not Jerusalem? Why would Herod not search for the long-awaited king himself? Did the king expect the Parthian Empire to do the work for him? And what would they find? This journey was turning out to be very interesting indeed. Dangerous even.

Tired Mamas Pray is Here!!

Order NOW for great Christmas gifts!

I am SO excited to share with you all, my brand new book, Tired Mamas Pray. This book will revolutionize your prayer life, even as a tired mama. It was written for you!

Seven years ago, when my twin boys were one year old and my daughter was not yet two, I sat down three nights a week and I wrote ten prayers at a time.

Taking scriptures that had leapt off the pages of my Bible, I turned them into prayers for my babies. Seven years later, I am seeing the fruition of this dream come to pass. It is such an exciting time to finally share them with you.

These prayers, inspired by a doctor’s diagnosis over my son by a maternal fetal medicine specialist, I learned first hand the POWER of praying scripture.

Today, I hand this powerful tool over to you and to all the women in the world who are just as tired as me.

As a gift for your friends and family for Christmas, Mothers’ day or a baby shower – or for yourself – this book will be a blessing to all the tired mamas out there who long to pray while wondering where they will find the time.

Here is a quick peek at the back cover:

Sleep-Deprived. Overstimulated. Overwhelmed.

As a tired mama, it can be hard to balance family life with your ideal prayer life. Laundry, chores, cleaning, school runs, screaming, and snuggles all contribute to the day’s pressing concerns to choke out your deepest desire: to pray for your children.

If you become overwhelmed just thinking about it because you have no idea where to start, what to say, or how to fit it in to your mama schedule, Tired Mamas Pray was written for you.

By keeping it simple, author Leslie N. Crouse shares her secret to a vivacious prayer life as a busy mama. Tired Mamas Pray takes the timeless strategy of praying biblical scripture and makes it so easy you need less than sixty seconds to do it. No more struggling to find the time. No more searching for the words to pray.

Tired Mamas Pray provides 90 daily prayers for your children that will keep you praying for their:

  • Relationship with God
  • Character development
  • Discernment
  • Friendships and relationships
  • Relationship with the Church
  • Purpose

Powerful, effective prayers are within your reach. No more overthinking this. Just focus on two to three scriptures each day and personalize them to your children in less than sixty seconds.

Buy it today at any of these stores:

The Wise Men

by Leslie Crouse

Four magi came to his office and bowed low. “Lord Belteshazzar. As you have requested, we have searched for information among all Zoroaster’s scrolls. But Sir, this new sword-shaped star is not found in our records.” Belteshazzar stared out his window considering the magi’s report.

His window overlooked the Parthian Gardens, which were renowned for their beauty. But right now, it was the brilliant shining star that captivated his attention. The star that was so bright it could be seen in the day and looked like a cloud of living fire shimmering with gold flakes. Should he call it a star? It was far too close. This star was in complete defiance of the cosmos.

Belteshazzar ran his hand down his manicured beard and said, “What of the ancient Babylonian writings? There was once a Magian Chief who was very wise. He predicted many things that have come to pass. His name was also Belteshazzar, but you would likely find the scrolls under his native Hebrew name Daniel. Search in the time of Nebuchadnezzar or Darius the Mede. Go.”

Belteshazzar had a secret obsession with Daniel. The Magus had been legendary walking in both miracles and prophecies. He had been the best of all Babylonian Magi. Ever since Belteshazzar discovered the shared connection he had with Daniel, he gloried in it. He too, had worked his way up to become the Chief of the Magi and this star would send him into infamy as well. Whatever they discovered, Belteshazzar was certain Daniel was the key to this cloud of glittering fire that danced like a sword in the sky.

The next day, Belteshazzar choked on his wine when Arash’s voice suddenly broke into his peaceful morning thoughts. “Sir! We have found it among Daniel’s writings!” The man marched into his office and belatedly bowed low. Belteshazzar said, “Rise. Tell me what it is you have discovered.”

“Daniel refers to it as Shekinah. It is the glory of the LORD, Israel’s Most High God. A cloud of shimmering fire that physically dwells among men. But it rarely appears. Only for events of magnitude.” Belteshazzar waited as Arash searched for the exact words of Daniel. “It says we will see the Shekinah Glory of the Lord dwell among men as the Son of Man is,

‘given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed.’

Arash pointed again to the star, “That is the Glory of the Most High, the Shekinah is the sign that marks the birth of this eternal king! A king has been born!”

“Arash,” Belteshazzar said, “send word to the Great King. We have his answer.”

Hours later, Belteshazzar was summoned into the throne room of Phraates IV, Great King of the Parthian Empire. “Belteshzzar, you have done well to solve the mystery of this star dwelling in our Empire. I have read through your report and made my decision.”  

Belteshazzar continued to bow low before the Great King. “If the birth of this new king is powerful enough to defy the cosmos,” Phraates IV continued, “and create this Shekinah, then we know his kingdom will be greater than any that has ever been. If we are to survive this rising kingdom, we must humble ourselves now. We must pay homage and acknowledge his superiority with many gifts. It will be a humbling act of obeisance, but perhaps, if we become his friends, we too, will share in the dominion and greatness of his kingdom. Rise.”

Belteshazzar rose before the Great King and waited for his orders. “You will prepare an entourage of Magi immediately. We will bring all the best gifts suitable to a king. Gold. Frankincense. Myrrh. We will welcome this new King of the Jews. Affirm his throne. Confirm our military support against any who dare to defy his claim. Take three hundred of our best soldiers with you to illustrate the strength of our kingdom and the friendship we offer. You have two weeks to prepare.” Belteshazzar bowed low and began to back away when the king’s voice stopped his retreat. “And Belteshazzar, beware of King Herod.”

12 Weeks of Christmas: #7 The Innkeeper’s Wife

The Innkeeper’s Wife

by Leslie Crouse

…continued from The Innkeeper.

“That MAN! What was he thinking?!” Outside Evie took a deep breath and then another. She knew what Hananiah had been thinking. That infuriating, practical, wonderful man of hers was thinking of her. She saw that look in his eye at dinner. For twenty, long years they had weathered barrenness together but the pain never really lost its edge. When had her pain become so crippling that her husband felt he needed to protect her even at the cost of compassion?

Eve. What had her parents been thinking? Eve meant life. Mother of the living. Thirty-seven years with nothing to show but two heartbreaking miscarriages. Her name added irony to her pain. Expectations never met. A daily reminder of shriveled dreams. But not tonight. She refused to be swallowed up by self-pity. El Roi saw her. Heard her. She and Hananiah had the LORD and each other. Besides, tonight was not about her. And what better way to step out from one’s own pain than by serving another?

Evie looked up at the stars. She always felt closer to the God of Israel when she saw them. Strange. Tonight the stars looked extraordinarily bright. Glorious even. Like they were singing. Though the ever present pain remained a powerful peace entered her soul.

Quietly she slipped toward the barn door and listened. The tell-tale sound of a tiny mewling cry escalated into gusty wails that only a newborn could make. Time to move. She was none too early with these cloths. At least they were clean! She held back a smile at the look on Hananiah’s face when she ripped them up. Serves him right for putting business before compassion.

The young man looked up at her, wild eyed with hair sticking up in every direction. Relief flooding his face, he ran to her and said “I have no idea how to do this! I have wrapped him up four times but his arms keep escaping! Every time he just screams louder and louder.”

Evie smiled. This she could do. Gently she approached the young girl, who was trembling from exhaustion. Compassion overwhelmed her. Vaguely she heard the barn door open and close as Hananiah sheepishly came in with more hot water, blankets and a earthen bowl of warm broth for the young woman. He flicked a glance at Evie as he approached. His face guarded, unsure of where they stood at the moment. Evie knew he would nurse his pride for a bit, but he was a good sort and she loved him.

Finishing a perfect swaddle she glanced up at Hananiah and smiled as a peace offering. Surveying her handy work and the now content baby, she picked up the sweet boy and with Joseph’s permission and cooed to him. She walked over to Hananiah and together they looked into the most amazing dark, grey eyes they had ever seen.  

As she locked eyes with the infant, something broke inside of her. A flood of tears. Sobbing she could feel the healing take place. Deep within her heart all the names she had been called, the accusations that had been launched, the scars she had lived with for so long melted powerless. A warmth began to grow inside her. Beginning in her belly, the heat spread like a fire throughout her entire body. Shaking with the power she felt surging through her, she handed the little boy to Hananiah who was also weeping – with joy it seemed.

Eagerly he took the baby. Holding him high, laughing and weeping at the same time. A glow she had never seen in him shone from his eyes. In this singular moment, she saw Hananiah changed. The anger and bitterness he tried so hard to hide was gone. Replaced with unspeakable joy. Peace. In awe, Hananiah again looked into the face of this little child and Evie knew that he knew. They glanced at each other and again at the baby. It made no sense, but with absolute certainty Evie knew this tiny, red face was the face of God.

Sensitive to the sacred moment taking place between man and wife, Joseph gently reached for the child and said, “His name is Joshua. Or – Jesus, as Caesar’s register will say. For he will save us from our sin.”

Evie watched Joseph as he laid the boy in a feeding trough beside Mary so that he could spoon feed the broth to her. Jesus. What miracles had just taken place! Marveling at the baby in the trough, and the heat that still vibrated through her body, Evie turned to Hananiah as he put his arm around her and led her back to the house.

When they entered all was still. The guests had retired and the lamps burned low. Had hours passed? As they prepared for bed on this silent, holy night they discussed in excited whispers all they had witnessed. Each had experienced the overwhelming power of God’s love when they held little Jesus.

“How can the full strength of God’s love dwell in a tiny baby?” Hananiah asked.

“And how God’s love burns like fire! I am hot all over.” Evie said excitedly while rubbing her tingling fingertips. Hananiah laughed with her.

“It is a miracle! I could not decide if I wanted to shout for joy or fall to my knees in worship! Evie, there is immeasurable treasure in our stable right now. Why us? Why our stable? I was prepared to move them inside, but somehow, I sensed that is where El Shaddai wanted them.” Hananiah said.

That night, Hananiah and Evie fell asleep as he held her close. A once brokenhearted couple basking in God’s overwhelming love.

Almost one year later…

Evie smiled at the sound of her baby’s cries. Hananiah’s eyes were so full of pride and joy as he looked at his first born and then Evie. In a look they shared their remembrance of Jesus, the child who changed their world with one powerful encounter of love. Then Hananiah addressed their family and friends saying, “His name is Samuel because the LORD God has heard.”

…continue reading my Christmas Mini-Series with The Shepherd on December 14, 2020.