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Welcome to the blog ministry of Touching Hearts! Each week we will release a new blog written by one of our team of authors. We pray each blog will encourage you to go deeper into a relationship with Jesus. 

Our Recent Posts

  • Writer's pictureToni Hebel


Posted by Toni Hebel, August 16

On a Sunday morning not long ago, I went to church with a heavy heart. I was burdened; I wrestled with “what ifs,” and I was fearful. There were circumstances in my life I was facing that were weighing me down. On that Sunday, we were led in worship with the song “Here It Is. (I Worship You)”. The lyrics go like this:

Lord, I long to bring an offering But I don't know where to start All I have is on the table I won't hold back a single part Sometimes I cannot find the language Sometimes I'm at a loss for words I just want to give You something To let You know that You're still first

I, I worship You Lord, I, I worship You You're the one I love You're the one I choose Yes, I, I worship You

Life is full of many seasons I've felt the shadow and the sun But through the feast and through the famine This is my song in every one If all You ever wanted was my heart Here it is, here it is I lay it all on the altar Lord, every part If all You ever wanted was my heart Here it is, here it is I lay it all on the altar

As I sang this song, Jesus spoke to my heart, and immediately conviction came over me. Our conversation went something like this:

“Toni, you are ‘offering me your heart, laying it all on the altar,’ but there is a part of your heart that is lacking. Your heart lacks faith, and do you know that when you lack faithfaith in Me, do you know what you are saying? You are declaring I am not faithful. Your unbelief in Me is an attack on My character.”

I was undone.

The song continued, and as I yielded my fear and worry —my unbelief—more revelation flooded into my heart. I realized that I am attacking His sovereignty when I question God’s timing. When I wonder about His goodness, I say He is not good. When I fear the future, I believe He will not be there in my future.

Basically every drop of unbelief I allow into my heart is an attack on the character of God.

Conviction, unlike condemnation, brings a lift to one’s spirit. When I repented of my unbelief and, more importantly, what it was saying about the character of God, my spirit soured. I could continue singing this song with great faith, yielding my heart fully. It didn’t take long for my heart to go from death to life, just minutes, because that is what happens when we repent.

God honors a repentant heart.

It is a gift from Him, and now, more than ever, I desire to honor Him with my believing heart.

He is the One I choose.

“Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief.”

Mark 9:24

Toni Hebel is a gifted communicator and teacher of spiritual truths. Her passion is contagious to all around her as they gather close to hear her latest “God Story.” She is quick to say she lives to see and hear God. Toni has served alongside her husband in ministry for over 40 years. They now lead and champion Forgiving Forward, a ministry founded out of their own suffering. She is passionate about helping all women find freedom through forgiveness while restoring their God-given destinies through an intimate relationship with Jesus. Toni has been a guest speaker for various national and international ladies' events, retreats, and podcasts. Together with her husband Bruce, they have authored the book Forgiving Forward: Unleashing the Forgiveness Revolution. Bruce and Toni have been married since 1979 and have been blessed with three adult children and are the proud grandparents of six grandchildren.

  • Writer's pictureErin Roberson


Posted by Erin Roberson, August 9, 2023

I have a love-hate relationship with the big oak trees in our backyard. I love them in the summer when the cool breezes blow through them, and they provide shade from the hot sun. They are still beautiful in the fall, but I don’t like them so much when they drop their acorns, leaving stains all over the patio and furniture. Sometimes I want to cut them all down as I pluck up the baby oak trees that sprout up all through the landscaping and yard!


The Bible speaks about trees a lot, from Genesis to Revelation. Did you know that a tree is mentioned at the beginning of Genesis, in the first Psalm, at the beginning of Matthew, and in Revelation? It’s as if God used trees as “markers” for each section of the Bible. I think it’s safe to say that God thinks trees are important, and there are some lessons we can learn from trees.

Lesson 1 - Grow toward the light.

As a kid, I did an experiment with plants that were placed in light and dark environments. (I’ll bet you did this experiment, too!) I didn’t notice any difference between the two plants at first, but soon the plant in the light began to thrive, while the plant in the dark turned yellow and weak. The plant in the dark environment eventually died.

Light is important for our growth, and all through the Bible, we are told that Jesus is the source of true light. If we keep our focus on Him, we will be healthy and strong, and we will grow closer and closer to Him—just like the trees!

Lesson 2 - Make strong roots.

Psalm 1 tells us that a person who meditates on God’s law is “like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither - whatever they do prospers” (Psalm 1:2-3). Having strong roots gives us the ability to withstand hard times. Storms are inevitable! We are going to face troubles in this life, but we can stand strong if we have deep roots in Jesus.

How do we grow strong roots? When describing those who have wisdom (in other words, strong roots), Proverbs 3 says, “She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her; those who hold her fast will be blessed...” (Proverbs 3:18). We get wisdom by reading and meditating on God’s Word, praying continuously (which means we are both talking to God and listening to Him), and applying what we learn through the Word and by listening to God. If we do these things, we will be able to make good decisions, impart wisdom to others, lean on God during difficult times, and let God fight our battles.

Lesson 3 - Produce fruit.

When talking about true and false prophets, Jesus says, “By their fruit, you will recognize them…every good tree bears good fruit...” (Matthew 7:16-17). Jesus tells us that the “fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23). God’s work in us transforms us and causes us to bear this type of fruit. It’s the outward “fruit” that people should see in our lives as a result of our relationship with Jesus.

Lesson 4 - Focus on the long-term

Our lives are short in comparison to trees. Trees often live for hundreds of years, and there is a tree in California (appropriately named Methuselah) that is over 4,000 years old!

This makes me think of a question: Do I make decisions based on short-term goals, or do I focus on my role as a steward of God’s gifts and allow God to use me to build His kingdom?

You might be in a tough season right now, but I want to encourage you to keep your eyes on Jesus. He has wonderful plans for your life, and He will bring them to fruition in His perfect timing. Keep trusting Him!

As I mentioned earlier, the Bible starts and ends with trees. Revelation tells us there will be trees in heaven (Revelation 22)! Maybe the trees in heaven won’t drop nuts that leave ugly stains and result in annoying sprouts that pop up everywhere. I’m just kidding! One thing I know for sure—he trees in heaven will be perfect and beautiful, and so will we!


Erin Roberson is a wife and mother of two wonderful grown boys. She is a lifelong educator who loves learning and teaching others. She believes our primary focus should be on our relationship with God, learning who God is, who God says we are, and how God wants us to live.


Posted by Karen Kinnaird, August 1, 2023

It’s been nearly 38 years. God has taken my husband Jimmy and me on a journey through three pastorates and several aspects of denominational work. Like many, we have had our share of highs and lows. One thing I know: it’s worth it. Over the years, I have gained perspectives of ministry from several angles, and it is apparent: there is a need for ministers to be affirmed, encouraged, and appreciated is great. As a matter of fact, it has become critical. According to Barna's post-COVID research, 38 percent of pastors have considered quitting. Issues of loneliness, lack of true friendships, stress, and burnout are on the rise. This isn’t just a pastor’s problem, it’s a church problem. But what about their wives?

Who Is She?
  • She is a servant, often behind the scenes in unseen ways; a confidant to all she interacts with, yet often with no one to share with herself.

  • She is a fierce protector of her family’s spiritual, emotional, mental and physical health.

  • She is a cheerleader, confidant, and pastor to her pastor-husband.

  • She is a warrior in the midst of simultaneous, unseen spiritual battles against spiritual forces of evil.

  • She is a navigator of social scenarios and delicate ministry situations.

  • She is an influencer in church culture and for Christ in the community.

  • She is a steward of the Gospel.

What’s on Her Mind?

“I consider it an honor to be called to this unique, God-given role.”

“How do I overcome feelings of inadequacy when I’ve had no formal ministry training?”

“I am grateful for the platform to live out my faith.”

“How do I meet the high standards and expectations I sense from others?”

“I have so many opportunities, but in what capacity should I be serving?”

“How do I balance the emotional highs and lows of ministry?”

“How do I balance family, ministry, and employment?”

“It’s a privilege to be married to my pastor-husband.”

“I see the sacrifice my husband makes to serve God’s people.”

“How do I handle the criticism of the one I love most in this world?”

“How do I keep relationships right amidst conflict that I’m not directly involved in?”

“When do I say ‘yes’ and when do I say ‘no’?”

“I’m grateful to be able to raise children in a culture of ministry.”

“How can I ensure my children grow up to love God and the church while living in the “glass house”?”

“How do I deal with the pain of people who have left the church?”

How Can We Love and Inspire Her?
  • Make an intentional effort to show her love and value her.

  • Give her grace as she matures in her faith.

  • Give her the freedom to be herself and flourish in the one-of-a-kind way God designed her.

  • Respect her God-given limits.

  • Advocate for her family’s healthy rhythms of ministry, family, rest, weekly Sabbath and vacation.

  • Allow her to cultivate friendships inside and outside of the church.

  • Have her back when there is controversy.

  • Allow her the freedom to operate in the Body of Christ as God leads her according to her gifts, passion, and personality.

How Can We Practically Support Her?
  • Tell her you love her and that you are glad God called her family to your church.

  • Pray specific prayers for her, then text, email, write a note, or verbally tell her so.

  • Make a homemade meal or order dinner from a favorite restaurant and have it delivered. Be sensitive to dietary preferences. A small group might provide dinner for a week.

  • Provide a professional house cleaner for the holidays, for a month, or for a special occasion.

  • Help a young minister’s wife get her children ready for church on a Sunday morning.

  • Meet a young minister’s wife at her car on Sunday mornings and help her get her children to their classrooms.

  • Offer to provide childcare for some personal time or a date night.

  • Give a gift of a favorite item or gift card to a favorite store, nail salon, or restaurant.

The best thing to do is to consider your minister’s wife and ask, “What can I do for her that will meet a need and show her that she’s loved?”

The God-called spouse has a unique calling that carries with it significant meaning and eternal impact. It’s an honor, a high calling and a privilege. Wives influence the souls of their husbands, and a healthy minister’s wife will strengthen her husband. This, in turn, benefits the church. A church will do well in being mindful and intentional toward the well-being of her ministers and wives.

A worthy wife is a crown for her husband. (Proverbs 12:4)

Dear brothers and sisters, honor those who are your leaders in the Lord’s work. They work hard among you and give you spiritual guidance. Show them great respect and wholehearted love because of their work. And live peacefully with each other. (1 Thessalonians 5:12-13)

How Can You Love and Support Your Ministry Wives?

Karen brings the vast experience of having served as a ministry wife for nearly 38 years. Her husband has served as a church planter, senior pastor, state denominational leader, agency specialist at NAMB, and Associational Missionary Strategist. Karen currently serves as the Executive Assistant for Forgiving Forward, a ministry dedicated to helping people experience the freedom of the Gospel through the power of forgiveness. Karen and Jimmy, also known as Gigi and Poppy, have 3 children and 3 grandchildren.

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