Revealed

A reveal can be exciting…

If it’s the gender of a baby or a masterpiece.

But a reveal can also be scary…

If it unveils your imperfections or your sin.

In today’s devotion, my friend revealed her story of being healed from an abortion. In my book, I revealed how perfectionism damaged my relationships. It’s hard to tell the stories of our ugly places, but…

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Sometimes it’s hard to share our stories because we’re not sure how. I’ve boiled it down to four easy steps to telling our stories in our every day world.

    • Tell your story– Tell about your struggle. Tell about your joy. Tell about what God is doing in your life. Keep it simple and short but include the important parts that help others to connect like how you felt and how others responded. Sharing our lives and stories in this way is a beautiful living out of II Corinthians 1: 3-4, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”
  • Connect your story– In a short, conversational story-telling format, you can connect your story to theirs with just one question. Here are some examples: “I just didn’t know what to do next. Have you ever run into a time like that when you just didn’t know the right decision to make?” “I was suffering beyond what I thought I could handle. Have you ever felt like that?” “I knew I didn’t create or deserve such an incredible outcome, and I started thinking about where that blessing came from. Have you ever wondered where the good stuff in your life has come from?” When you think about your personal story, what common human thread runs through it? Suffering? Loneliness? Joy? Use that element to ask a question, and then listen carefully.
  • Reveal Jesus as hero– If we tell our stories right, Jesus is always the hero! All we really have to offer people in our world is Jesus, the pinnacle of what humanity was created to be, and His Word, the solution for every one of our problems. Now is the time in the story to tell what Jesus did, and how He helped you.
  • End your story with hope– Before we end any story, we want to finish with inspiration. It’s the part that says, “God isn’t just at real and at work in my life. He is real and can be at work in your life too!”

Your story may not be the same as the one I shared about my friend today, but I guarantee that you have one that magnifies God. Make sure to share it with those around you. You never know how it may lead to not only their healing but your own.

If you feel called to speak and to share your story in a group, click here for more resources.

If you’re determined to tell your story now, I’d love to celebrate with you! Leave a comment to enter to win the giveaway below. You can  share your story in a nutshell or simply say “Go and tell!”

giveaway

A signed copy of Breaking Up with Perfect

Note cards to thank a friend for her story of faithful Jesus in her imperfection

A “Rejoice in the Lord Always” sports bottle (A reminder for  imperfect moments)

Steven Curtis-Chapman’s “Glorious Unfolding” (Songs of Jesus’ glory in our story)

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There are only 7 days left to download the Leader’s Guide for Breaking Up with Perfect for free. Click here to go to the page where you can find it. After Feb. 6, the guide will be removed until it’s complete with links to “Teaching Tips for Teachers”. View Week 3 below!

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91 Comments

  1. I went through a period of pretty intense anxiety/depression. I felt so alone and abandoned by God. It wasn’t until I started opening up about it with others that I realized that I was exactly where I needed to be for God to meet me, and for me to meet others who were in the same boat I was in. God can work miracles in the most unexpected places. Amen!

  2. Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6 NIV). Go and tell so others can see how God can use everything in our lives for our good and His glory!

  3. God recently “saved me” from perfectionism and living the facade. He “saved me” from myself, my religiosity, and my pride. My story is long… it includes idolatry, deception, an unwanted pregnancy, health issues, fear, anxiety, and depression. My God took my sin and my mistakes and brought me to the foot of the cross where Jesus died for all of it, so I could be restored to a right relationship with my Lord! He has shown me what grace and joy really are!!! He has healed me like I never imagined He would! I want to share that! He heals, restores, and brings joy! He works all things for good! So blessed by this post!

  4. Thank you for reminding us to be real and vulnerable with each other to His glory.

  5. I have a story…a long one. One day there will be the opportunity to share it.

  6. I need to except the flaws which I can work on with the positive changes that have taken place in my life with the help of our Lord. In my teens and early twenties I felt that I had to be “Miss Mary Sunshine” all the time which we all know is impossible. I have learned to relax more and try to take each day one day at a time without expecting to be perfect.

  7. Bobbi Wineberg says:

    I know that God healed me from a 20 yr battle with depression. He has changed me so much and has helped me love people I thought I never could. I tell my story to our ladies in our mission church but it doesn’t seem to be accepted at our main, bigger church. Maybe I just need to accept just speaking where God has placed us, but my heart yearns to reach out more.

  8. I am touched by your blog. I am not sure where to start to tell about my story but I suffer from a dual diagnosis which is also called co-occuring disorders. That means that I suffer from a severe mental illness and also am in recovery from alcoholism/addiction. I am fortunate that through all of the suicide attempts I have made through the years God has always been there for me. GOD IS GOOD ALL THE TIME! It has been almost 4 years since my last suicide attempt and I have come a long way since then. I am now on a combination of medications that help keep me stable in my moods. I am also working a program of recovery that brings me much happiness because it is so much easier to keep my moods from getting out of control if I stay sober. My mental illness is called schizoaffective disorder. It means that I have symptoms of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. I used to be ashamed of my illness but with the relationship I have developed with Jesus Christ, my Savior, over the years I can now share my story with others and accept their love for me as a person in recovery. I hope my sharing will help others who struggle with their own inner demons to find the LIGHT THAT COMES WITH A RELATIONSHIP WITH JESUS CHRIST! God bless you!

  9. I grew up in a very dysfunctional and abusive home. In my early teens it led me to drinking and drugs as a way of escape and trying to ease the hurt. I was an honor roll student right up until I dropped out of high school and it has always left me with what if’s. I found peace through my relationship with God and realized he’d always protected me when I was in great need. He took away the anger that I held onto so tightly and restored me to new! I know I will need to share this with my children someday, but it will be a very hard conversation to have. When I have shared my story, people are always disbelieving that I lived that life, that is why it is important to say yes we can all lose our way, but God our father will bring us back again.

  10. Mary Ann O'Connell says:

    I have suffered two deep depressions in my life. The 1st one caused me to quit teaching kindergarten.(1992) My passion is working with people in particular little ones. we found that I had a chemical in balance. After the 2nd one, and being hospitalized, I’ve remained on my small dosage of a “sanity” pill for years. I went back to working with little ones in 2007. I share my story with others who struggle with depression. God drew me to him the 1st time and has blessed me so many times over the years. He continues to draw me close, even when I fail – over and over. So thankful for his faithfulness and forgiveness. Thank you for your post.

  11. Feeling like the Lord wants me to share something vunerable, but not sure what or where to start. Feels like everything Id have to share, someonelse is already sharing. Not sure why He seems to keep pointing me to share my unique story…when it doesn’t seem very unique. I know He will reveal when its His timing, but I’m also thankful for Devotionals like this that help me gain a little more insight into His view of our stories and authenticity.

  12. I can be very shy and private, but I want to be more open. I feel God is teaching me to be vulnerable with others…I don’t always have to put on this strong exterior. It’s a humbling lesson, but I feel like He may be preparing me because He knows there are things in my story that I need to be willing to share to show His glory in my life.

  13. I was glad to see this post as I’ve followed proverbs 31 ministries for the last 2 months and God has spoken to me in so many different ways through the devotionals. One clear message has been to write down lessons learned, my thoughts, conversations, prayers with Him. If only to look back one day and see all that he has done for me. And also to bring clarity when i am often overtaken by emotion.After 16 years of living with multiple health problems but no diagnosis I continue to search for answers and work through the physical and emotional parts of it all. It is hard to be transparent with others when my instinct is to cover up my sadness and grief over years of poor health…but I try to ask..”what do I do now with what you’ve given me?” “who can I comfort?” and this gives me new found hope.

  14. Stephanie G. says:

    Thank you for sharing this! I’m planning on sharing this year! God Bless you.

  15. I belong to a small group of women who recently shared their stories. Some shared more than others. I shared much of my story, except for the horrible parts that I can’t fathom saying out loud. The biggest thing I learned was how similar people can be, even though we seem different on the outside. It was so refreshing to hear that others have gone through the same struggles. I too have always tried to be perfect and had a fear that others wouldn’t like me if they heard my story. I am hoping to be able to reveal more to others as we get closer to each other and closer to God.

  16. My small group were talking about this very same topic last evening. The more we share transparently in a trusting environment about our situations and how God has brought us; is bringing us or how He will bring us through, will allow Him to receive the glory. Through our humility captives will be set free. This too shall pass and there is a testimony at the end of it to share!

  17. This post spoke to me on many levels. I had lived with a secret for many years until I heard God tell me to share it so that others would find healing and freedom as I had. It was very scary and I was afraid of being judged, but just the opposite has happened. My book, “Out of the Darkroom, Into the Light: A Story of Faith and Forgiveness After Child Abuse” is helping other women and opening the conversation about how we need to share our stories and trust God. We all have “stuff” and that is what makes our testimony!

    1. Amy Carroll says:

      Wow, Tracey! From a secret to a book. That’s big. I’m inspired and thankful to hear how you’ve helped others with your story!

        1. Amy Carroll says:

          Thanks, Tracey. I will!

  18. I loved your post today. Go and tell! God has changed my life in so many ways!

    1. Amy Carroll says:

      Thanks, Michele!

  19. Go and tell!
    My prayer is to find my voice and become more vulnerable. We as women have so much pressure on us from the world to present ourselves as having it all together. Perfectionism can become such a trap and keep us from connecting with others in authentic relationships.
    Let us all grasp hold of Revelations 12:11 “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony…..” and defeat the enemy and his lies!

    1. Amy Carroll says:

      Girl, you are singing my song. It’s that facade of perfection that keeps us from true connection and deep healing.

  20. Your story today hit me right where I needed it; not that I had an abortion, but to me it was almost as bad. I allowed myself to get involved with a non-Christian and I became pregnant. I was a Children’s Sunday School teacher at the time & had just got my first teaching job at a middle school on the other side of the state. I pretended to love the guy so he would marry me & make an ‘honest’ woman of me; all the while praying for a miscarriage and even considering abortion. My life was a total wreck & I was & still am ashamed. It has been a very rocky marriage, but I feel God is telling me to stick with it; we’ve been married now 31 1/2 years. A few people know my story, but I am ashamed to tell it for fear of people thinking less of me. God help me!

    1. Your story speaks perserverance to me. Plus you have held on to faith through good times and bad.

    2. Amy Carroll says:

      Sandy, I’m praying that God will release you completely from the shame of your past. Creating a marriage that has lasted so long is something to celebrate! Whether you share your story with one woman who needs encouragement or a crowd, the number doesn’t matter. Taking the step in obedience to God’s voice and in His timing is what matters. I pray you’ll hear His voice when the time is right and that you’ll make the leap of faith toward your own healing and helping another. My heart is with you!

  21. I have hidden from others and myself my life’s story for almost 40 years. When at age 11 my parents finally gave me away after 11 years of threating (and multiple trial attempts) because I was too bad to keep I decided they were right and I went into hiding attempting to be what I thought would be acceptable to both God and man. To the casual observer, that worked – by “sheer will & determination” I made it – but God never intended to leave me there and now I find myself on the very hard journey of sifting the past hurts and haunts that have so distorted my perceptions of God and self and what it means to be worth loving…still so frustratingly far away from my heart really connecting to the truths I know…

    1. Amy Carroll says:

      Amanda, I’m praying for your complete healing from our Father who never leaves or abandons us. His redeeming love and faithfulness can heal a wounded heart even when the people around us have failed us. Today, you are loved–by God and me!

  22. My story started when I came from a dysfunctional family which led me to leave as soon as I graduated from high school to travel to California. I worked for a Christian organization and met a fellow, fell in love and married. Within ten years and 2 children, I discovered my Christian husband showed another side of himself…deeply involved with porn and also some mental issues. After intense counselling, we separated and finally divorced due to domestic violence. God has been with me all the way and deepened my dependence upon Him. He has shown me that Jesus is the only way to live and I daily lean on Him for my joy and peace. This is a condensed story, but I hope to someday write a memoir or a fiction based on this trip through life. For now, I am writing poetry and a book about a girl’s journey to find meaning in life. God has blessed me and I am content and at peace

    1. Amy Carroll says:

      My favorite name of God is Redeemer, and your story illustrates His name so beautifully. Thank you for sharing!

  23. Thank you for the inspiration and encouragement you shared this morning Amy. I’m still working on processing my own story. I’ve experienced years of abuse and trauma…and if I’m honest, there are times I’ve struggled and wondered “where is God in some of this?” But in a lot of instances I can see how God was at work, performing miracles on my behalf and redeeming, growing, and rescuing me. I know my testimony reflects God, and if my pain can help at least one other person, it will be worth sharing. I’m praying for guidance to know what to share, and where, and especially to who. I’m adding your book to my reading wishlist…it sounds like it could be an answer to some of my prayers about topics itve been wrestling with- especially learning how to be more authentic. Thanks again for sharing!

    1. Amy Carroll says:

      Blessings to you, Ashley! I’m praying that God speaks clearly to you about how and when to share your beautiful story of Jesus’rescue. It doesn’t matter if it’s with a hurting friend in a coffee shop or from a stage, those steps of obedience are what He blesses.

  24. My husband is with the RCMP and that means we move — A LOT. At least in my opinion, it is a lot. I was content to live a few hours from my childhood home and set down solid roots, work, raise my family and retire! But God had other plans and shook me out of my comfort zone. Jeremiah 29:11 tells me he has plans for me, but I still struggle. Whenever I move, I worry about the unknown. Are we going to the right place? Why is God sending us there? What is his purpose? I feel so alone. Before we even leave, I am already homesick for the place I left behind… but recently I came across Deuteronomy 31:8 8 (NIV) 8 The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” It says that the Lord goes before me. He is there first. He is already waiting for us to arrive with the moving truck, setting things in place and preparing the interactions he wants us to have. He is already establishing our spot in the community and preparing opportunities to serve. That is a welcoming and comforting thought. He knows how hard it is to leave the comforts of home to go to a different place — He left the glory of Heaven for earth. He understands all of our emotions tied to that situation.

    1. Amy Carroll says:

      Wow. Your story so powerfully illustrates how He uses His Word to comfort us. I’m thankful you shared!

  25. Thank you for inspiring, still in the midst of the turmoi inside and seeking God ‘s peace and direction. Perhaps one day I can share my story, go and tell will be my call.

  26. Go and tell! Praise the Lord!

  27. Until October, I had worked at a company for 14 years, working my way up to the top of my chosen profession. Then, in October, after a management change in our organization, I was let go. It’s been hard – I haven’t worked since then. But I have found so much more! Ive grown closer to God – depending wholly on HIM instead of me. i had been working 11-12 hour days, which allowed little family time. And the stress! I now have as much time as sporting events allow with my family. Mi cook breakfast and dinner and even try new recipes, at least once a week. I didn’t realize how much I was losing trying to be the perfect employee, manager, leader, wife, and mom. Now? I’m letting God show me HIS path, not mine. The Breaking Up With Perfect study has allowed me to see just how much I was trying to squeeze in, and not realizing how much I was, in fact, squeezing out the really important things and people in my life. Thanks for this study!

    1. Amy Carroll says:

      It’s amazing how God uses even the hard things for good in our lives. Thanks for sharing, and THANK YOU for reading my book!

  28. Thanks for the encouragement! I do speak for Stonecroft Ministries events & am always looking to improve my “Go & Tell.”

  29. Todays Devotion, reminds about the importance of being authentic. It gives me strength to talk about how God brought me through teenage pregnancy at age 14 and promiscuous behavior until my late 20’s which ruined my first marriage, could have scared my three children. I am experiencing God’s love and how his love is limitless. He shown his love by blessing me with a Godly husband and another son. Oh how great our God is. Thank you for the opportunity to share.

    1. Amy Carroll says:

      Your story makes me love our Redeemer even more!

  30. Such a touching Devotion! I myself had an abortion 26 years ago and I have kept it secret for the most part except a very few close friends and my husband. I have prayed and feel like the Lord wants me to share my story but I often wonder how my children will feel if I do so. Please help me pray about this and the guidance I need from the Lord in deciding what to do…to share or not to share. Many blessings!!

    1. Amy Carroll says:

      I’m praying for you to know the right time, Maeleigh. My friend who was in my devotion waited to tell her abortion story until she had told her children. That meant they were older and a lot of time had passed since the abortion, but it was exactly the right timing for her and her family. Another friend told her story in public much sooner, but I trust God to show you the right timing for you. Blessings as you listen for His voice!

  31. Geralyn Miller says:

    God’s Spirit has been nudging me to write my story (stories). I am a cancer survivor and have a daughter who is also a cancer survivor. She is my hero because she has encouraged me so much. God has walked us both through SO much and I have some really inspiring faith filled stories that show what an awesomely BIG & extremely GOOD God we have! Thank You Jesus!

    1. Amy Carroll says:

      Wow! That is going to be some inspiring writing. So many people will be helped by what you share!

  32. I find that when I am OBEDIENT to God’s leading in my life and share my testimony and how God has been there through trials, suffering, and joy, He fills my heart with such an amazing peace and Joy that I find in nothing else. There is always someone who needs a word of encouragement, uplifting, and sometimes just a smile or kind words if we will only take the time in our busy lives to look around and allow God to show us who that special person may be. GO AND TELL!!! GOD BLESS!!

  33. With a child who had a Cronic illness you learn quickly to give up control. I can’t fix it there is no cure. But I have come back to God through it and that is the blessing. Not only have I learned to lean on him but so has my children. I just wish I could do more for him. But I give God the glory and praise and step aside to let him lead.

  34. Today’s devotion is so confirming what God has already been telling me about sharing my story. Thank you.

  35. I share my story of chronic illness on a Facebook page and, although I am still struggling, Gods provision has been amazing throughout it all. My prayer is that it would continue to draw others to Him and see how He is for us despite what our circumstances make us think!

  36. I found this truth that sharing can lead to blessing others when I decided to share my challenges with a few ladies from my SS class one summer evening. I had recently been diagnosed with clinical depression and felt, like most do who are, like a failure and useless anymore. As I shared my whole story through my tears, one of the ladies brightened up and said, “I too have been diagnosed with anxiety and depression.” She went on to say that she never felt she could say anything to anyone because it’s such a taboo subject in many Christian circles. We have since done Bible studies together, both learning in our search for understanding God’s working in our lives. What was a very nerve wracking thing for me turned out helping someone else and myself. God does work in wonderful ways and I’m humbled that He would use me! Thank you for your post!

    1. Amy Carroll says:

      Beautiful story of the power of authenticity, Cherry. Thank you for sharing!

  37. What a beautiful reminder that God uses all our broken pieces.

    1. Amy Carroll says:

      “All our broken pieces”… yes!

  38. I believe God calling me to more in my life right now, including telling my story. Thank you for this confirmation!

  39. Shannon Spease says:

    I have delt with depression my entire life. A few months ago my 13 year old daughter tried to kill herself and was diagnosed with depression. I had no clue she was even feeling sad. We are a close family so it shocked all of us and everyone who knows her. God was my rock and strength during the dark days. I prayed like I never had in my life and learned so much about my faith that even though it was a horrible situation I can see the good that is coming from it.

    1. Amy Carroll says:

      Praying for you and your daughter right now, Shannon. My oldest son and I are working through a common struggle together, and it’s amazing not only how we’re both growing but how it’s deepened our relationship further.

  40. Love it and want to live it! God is so gracious!

  41. Progress…not perfectionism

  42. I would love to tell my story but don’t know where to start! And which story? The one of being an awkward fat teen who didn’t fit in but Jesus found her? The one where after almost 10 years I recovered from anorexia? The one of being the mother of a disabled child who LOOKS “normal”so
    We get strange looks and rude comments? The one where I am pretty much
    The only christian at work and don’t for in? So many
    Stories but one God orchestrating them
    All!!!

    1. Amy Carroll says:

      Praying for God to open the door to share one little jewel at a time, Lynn.

  43. My story starts the day I got married, almost three years ago. Since then my husband has revealed his struggle with pornography and binge drinking – sins that he was hiding from me for several months/years. Our marriage has had days that are just beautifully transparent and God has placed strategic people and events in our lives to help us heal and trust again, but my husband is resistant to getting personal help and still struggles to be honest with me. I have a hard time trusting him eventhough I can clearly see the work God is doing in both of us. I pray that someday our story can be used to help others. So many young wives put up a front and are afraid to say “marriage is hard for us” so I would like to be able to minister to them through honesty and encouragement. And my husband is a great vessel for helping other men become transparent with their wives.

    Your devotional today on P31 really encouraged me to start looking for ways to share my story eventhough we are still in the middle of this hard season, not on the other side. Even after 3 short years I can easily tell of Gods goodness and redemption. I’ve started writing a blog to reach out, but I’d love to do more and be even more open both in writing and in person. Blessings!

    Jessica from oursimplyabundantlife.wordpress.com

    1. Amy Carroll says:

      Blessings to you, Jessica, as you seek God for opportunities to share! Praying for God’s power to wash over your marriage in this season of healing.

  44. Go and tell! Contemplating God’s grace and unmerited blessings in my life. Thank you, Lord!

  45. My story is full of the ups and downs of the “average” wife, mom, daughter and friend. I used to feel intimidated by others who had stories in their life that would sound shocking or grand, but no more. I’ve learned, and God has shown me, that most of us consider our stories to be anti climatic and the devil convinces us to stay quiet. No more. God is in the details of it all and it’s important that I be more willing to scoop out those seemingly insignificant parts of life and offer them to those who will listen, pointing out God’s loving Grace all along the way. There is freedom when we share. Go tell!

    1. Amy Carroll says:

      Beautiful, Kellie! Our stories sound so similar. My outside looks straight and narrow, but we all deal with turmoil on the inside that needs God’s peace.

    2. Kellie, my heart can relate exactly to what you are saying! I often feel the same way – in my heart I know God will use my story too, but my head tells me it isn’t big/redemptive/shocking enough to make an impact, so I keep quiet. I truly believe that is from the devil! We are all sinners going to hell, saved by the wonderful grace of Jesus. Now THAT is a story to tell!!
      Praying for you!

  46. Went from fearful five year old to terrified teen, then tormented twenty- something after multiple isolated incidents of sexual abuse. No stranger danger, all family members. Not distant family, living in the same house family. Looking back, I was like a fugitive in my own home. Constantly running and hiding. But God, know that He was always watching over me. Married a man with a 20 year drug addiction because that was the best I deserved, or so I believed back then. From one nightmare to another, basically. But God!! Husband now a new man, and thank You Jesus with a new wife. I needed a new heart, received one in 1999 at the ripe old age of 36, when experts say salvation is the hardest. Well, I was a hard nut to crack but nothing is too hard for Jesus!! And now, sharing a part of my story this coming week at a ladies group. Yay Jesus!!

    1. Amy Carroll says:

      Oh, wow! Thank you for sharing, Marcy. What an amazing story of God’s redemption.

  47. Marlene Bishop says:

    By God’s strength I have lost 145 pounds and an now in my healthy weight range. God is good.

    1. Amy Carroll says:

      Amazing story! Thank you for sharing, Marlene.

  48. Teresa MeachaM says:

    It is inspiring to know that each of us has stories that will help others see Jesus in us. I suffer from a chronic disease and pain. Learning to trust Jesus through my pain and know that he has a “good plan” for me, no matter how I currently feel
    is what I love to share with others. God truly knows best.

    1. Amy Carroll says:

      I’m inspired, Teresa. Thank you for sharing!

    2. Carolyn Sherrod says:

      Thank you for sharing your story, Teresa MeachamM. I too have had chronic pain and disease for about 30 yrs. The fact that I can still rejoice and have hope through my faith that this is all for a special purpose is what gives me comfort. My strength for ALL that I am able to accomplish (some days just getting through the day) comes directly from our loving Saviour and I begin each day by thanking Him for all that I am able to do by His grace, through His energy, and by His direction. Praise be to our Loving Almighty God!!!

  49. Always felt like the odd and one /black sheep in my family. I was compared to my sisters who are very intelligent and always picked up prizes in school, while I was average and got pregnant in my first year in college, followed by an abortion. I thought I just couldn’t get it right. That there was no use to me. The only guy I truly loved even left me after hearing my past. But God never left my side. Today I’ve successfully completed my law degree, by God’s grace. Not useless after all huh. Praise God.

    1. Amy Carroll says:

      Praising God with you, Nana!