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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 picturePat Elsberry


Posted by Pat Elsberry, July 5, 2023

At some point in our lives, we will all experience loss. It may be the loss of a loved one who has gone to Heaven, or perhaps the end of a longtime career, a lifelong friendship, or even the estrangement of a family member who is still alive but you no longer have a relationship with. Loss comes in many forms and can summon the most intense emotions, making even the strongest believer question their faith. Have you ever asked, “Where are you, God?”

It’s a question that has no easy answer. It’s not like God will pop up, waving his hands and shouting, “Here I am! I’m sitting by this fig tree waiting to chat with you.” No, it doesn’t quite work like that.

But God is here. He is as close to you as the air you breathe.

He isn’t going to barge in where he isn’t wanted, but he is here, nonetheless. He is standing there, waiting for you to invite him in. I made the decision to invite him into my life when I was 16 years old, and it was a decision I have never regretted.

Unexpected and traumatic death has come and knocked on my door twice. Yes, I asked, “Where are you, God?” Yet, as devastating as these losses were, it didn’t take long to realize he was right there with me, even if I didn’t understand why these things happened.

“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord.

“And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.

For just as the heavens are higher than the earth,

so my ways are higher than your ways

and my thoughts higher than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8-9 MSG

When you ask where you are, God, it comes down to trust, faith, and hope. Trust that God is who he says he is. Faith that his word is true and holding on to the hope of Christ.

There was a time when I began having the same type of dream repeatedly. In it, my youngest son is walking along with me, and in the next moment, he’s gone. Vanished, like a puff of smoke! I had the same type of dream about my husband as well. One minute we were walking together in a crowd of people, and the next, he was gone. Each time I woke up crying and yelling their names.

Momentarily I have awakened with such fear gripping my heart. Death, especially unexpected traumatic death, can elicit a host of responses. The one thing that I rely on is my faith. It has made the difference between surviving my daughter’s death and barely functioning.

During one of my quiet times, I was reminded that God never promised we wouldn’t have trials. But he does promise he will be with us through them all. He will never leave us.

“I will never fail you or abandon you.” Hebrews 13:5 CSB

I know this isn’t the way for everyone, but I would ask, “Where else will you go? Who will you turn to? What else do you have left?”

If you’re asking, “Where is God?” He is right here, just waiting to be invited in.

I encourage you to fix your eyes on him.

He will fill your tank when you’re empty.

He will lift you up and carry you when you cannot take one more step.

He knows your heartache, and he will heal your crushed spirit.

Grief is hard. It’s the hardest thing we will ever do. This journey is not one of instant gratification. It’s something I have to work on every single day. I have to put in the time to spend in the word, and on those days when I may be overwhelmed, if I can remember only one word, it’s this: Jesus. The name above all names.

Pat Elsberry is an author, speaker, blogger, and a passionate advocate for parents dealing with grief after the loss of a child. Pat created multiple social media groups focused on providing hope to others who are walking the same path, including her blog, Hope During Loss. Pat facilitates an in-person grief share for women who have experienced child loss, and is also a moderator for Team Sharing, a nationwide peer-led support group for parents who have lost children to substance use disorder. Pat is the author of Beautifully Broken: Finding Hope During Loss, and will soon release her first devotional, Comforted by God. Pat and her husband, Fred live outside Atlanta and have a blended family of 7 children and 5 grandchildren. Her favorite things include traveling, cooking, gardening, dark chocolate, and worship music. You can find Pat on her blog,, and on Facebook and Instagram @HopeDuringLoss.

  • Writer's pictureKim Stanley


Posted by Kim Stanley, June 28, 2023

I was talking with a dear friend of mine who took a long vacation to Italy recently with her husband. They had waited a long time for this trip, and it proved to be all that they hoped for and more. As she described the sights, the food, and the people, I found myself yearning for this La Dolce Vita, the sweet life.

Can we move there? While that is not likely to happen, what is it in this culture that is so attractive, it had me suddenly looking up Italian villas by the sea.

The food, yes! The food. Visions of a large table set al fresco, full of smiling faces amidst mounds of pasta bolognese, danced in my head. No one was in a rush to get somewhere else; the conversation was rich and full, like the pasta sauce; this was a scene straight from "Under the Tuscan Sun." Then after dinner, there would be a nice long walk through town, stopping to talk with all the other after-dinner strollers. Time stands still there, or at least tick-tocks slower than the minutes here where I live.

I realize that thinking too long or romanticizing about someone else's life can quickly lead to discontentment and ingratitude, hence, the social media problems of our day.


Yet, I did ask the Lord about it. "Is there something redemptive in this daydream, God, minus the Italian villa, of course?"

My heart skipped a beat as I sensed a "yes" in my spirit.

Without wishing my life away, I can look to and learn from other people and cultures.

I sensed that the Lord was telling me that it was ok, it was more than ok; it was good for me to slow down, to breathe in deeply, and not to keep such a tight schedule that I was just planning the next thing.

It's a good idea to enjoy a meal, lots of meals, with family and friends.

Take time to listen and connect with the people who share your table.

Don't get up to clean the dishes right away; let them sit.

Eat fresh food, it's closer to the way God made it.

Take walks.

Smile, even if it feels forced.

Write the note.

Meet your neighbors in the cul-de-sac after dinner.

Sit on your front porch.

Sip and savor

the moments

the people

the stories

the tears

the joy

the life

God has given.

Today, as I write this, it is the summer solstice, the longest day of the year.

Tomorrow's daylight will be a few seconds shorter.

But in this La Dolce Vita that God invites us into, we can sip and savor every one of these holy moments right where we live. It's His promise to us.

"I came that they may have life and have it abundantly." John 10:10 (ESV)


Kim Stanley is a worship leader, speaker, writer, and is the worship leader for Touching Hearts Ministries. She and her husband Joe have been in itinerant worship ministry for over 30 years. She is the founder and director of One Thing Worship, a retreat ministry for women that provides sacred time and space to be still and hear the voice of God. She also co-hosts a podcast called “A Burst Of Hope” with Martha Wilson. She and Joe have been married for 40 years; they have 4 grown children, one in heaven, and 6 grandchildren. They live in the south metro Atlanta area. You can connect with Kim on her website,, and on Facebook and Instagram @onethingworship.

  • Writer's pictureAnnette Burrell


Posted by Annette Burrell, June 20, 2023

How do I begin to tell the story of this man I call Father? Where can I find the words to describe what he means to me? If I were to author a book portraying him as the main character, the pages would be filled with stories that convey love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. It would be a love story with lots of adventure!

My daddy would always rescue his children from a mess they had created. He would be at the head of a class teaching or on the banks of a river offering his students practical lessons on how to live life. He can do anything and most certainly has. He was "Mister Mom" before the world even coined the phrase. My book would be filled with pages from cover to cover that would provide the details of the man who is undoubtedly the greatest father of them all. It would be one of those books you just couldn’t put down.

Well, there you have it. This is my Daddy. This is my Father—my Heavenly One.

My Heavenly Father

I met my Heavenly Father—my Daddy—when I was 15. I was at a youth event and heard a verse I had memorized as a child:

For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whosoever believes in him shall have everlasting life. (John 3:16)

The preacher spoke of sin and forgiveness. Romans 3:23 says:

For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.

He went on to say that we can’t work our way into Heaven. In fact, what we earn as sinners is death and eternal life apart from God.

But God has a gift for us. It is free.

We do not have to work for it or try to earn it in some way. All we must do is accept it. Romans 6:23 says:

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 10:9 says:

If you declare (or confess) with your mouth, Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you shall be saved.

I felt a tug in my heart, and I surrendered to the Holy Spirit that night and experienced true freedom for the first time.

My Earthly Father

I had a very tumultuous relationship with my earthly father and tried most of my life to make him proud. It seemed to me that he loved his two sons and tolerated the daughters. He participated in my brothers’ lives and totally left my sisters and me out of his. I am a grown adult now and have children and grandchildren that I adore. I don’t see my dad through the eyes of a child anymore. My Heavenly Father helped me realize that my dad doesn’t have what I have. He doesn’t know Jesus. How can I expect him to show me love, when he has never experienced true love himself? Once I realized this, I had compassion for my dad for the first time. It is no longer a burden to help facilitate his care. He hasn’t changed, but through the Holy Spirit’s guidance, I have.

My Heavenly Father

By the grace of God, He has been slowly fulfilling His purpose for my life. My Heavenly Father orchestrated a beautiful family and wonderful career for me, where He defined my gifts and talents. I am blown away at how God can use us when we surrender to Him.

David puts it so well in Psalm 139:14:

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

I spent so many years trying to please my earthly father, that I missed that it was my heavenly Father I needed to please and praise.

My Abba Father, my Daddy, is perfect in every way! He wants the very best for me. He loves me; He guides me; He forgives me; He never leaves me. I could go on and on about my Daddy, but you can read it for yourself—the number 1 best seller: The Holy Bible. The book begins with Genesis. And although, from cover to cover, it ends with Revelation 22:21. His story never ends. It’s a story that lasts forever, and it’s my Daddy’s story!

Every time I read this book, I ask myself, “Why did I wait so long to read it all the way through?” Then I hear Him say, “It’s ok. It’s never too late.”

I pray for those who open the book and read it for the first time. I pray that God will open your hearts, minds, and souls so that you will experience the love of the Father just as I have. Now that I have a relationship with Him, it brings new meaning for me to say, “Happy Father’s Day!”

Annette Burrell is an author, speaker, and singer/songwriter. Through Annette’s years of being a public servant, and her devotion to studying the Bible, God has equipped her to lead women into His presence, and share with them how they can grow in Christ. Her passion is learning, sharing about the Heavenly realms, and God’s plan of protection for us as believers.

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