Grown Children

I sit across from her

at the coffee shop


and I see a woman

but also a child


And my heart is torn,

for I want to gather her into my arms


and I want her to run away

full speed into life


And maybe you can relate

to my ponderings…


full of my three loves,

my children


For when they become adults

we want them healthy and unattached


But we can’t forget…


painful birth

infant soft

adoption waiting

final decree

first words

wobbly walking

I love yous

living room forts

training wheels

pumpkin carving

zoo trips

TV cuddles


Daddy’s home glee

star gazing

chaotic road trips

sweet kisses

first haircuts

messy picnics

nighttime prayers

voices small and sweet

baking cookies

sandbox buckets

swingset giggles….


and they are treasures

for the heart


I reflect for awhile

but I do not dwell too long


for NOW is my place

and the relationship is precious


at this stage as well


My eyes and my heart

gaze at the beauty before me


in that coffee shop


A place in time

to treasure with my heart


and bring out later

as I reflect on my gifts


my treasures


– Susie Stewart









For you are a holy people, who belong to the Lord your God. Of all the people on earth, the Lord your God has chosen you to be His own special treasure.

– Deuteronomy 7:6 (NLT)


I will give you hidden treasures, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the Lord, the God of Israel, who summons you by name.

– Isaiah 45:3 (NIV)


So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen Him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.

– Luke 2:16-19 (NIV)


Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But His mother treasured all these things in her heart. And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.

– Luke 2:50-52 (NIV)


Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow.

– James 1:17 (NLT)


Children are a gift from the Lord;
    they are a reward from Him.
Children born to a young man
    are like arrows in a warrior’s hands.
How joyful is the man whose quiver is full of them!

– Pslam 127:3-5 (NLT)


Photos by Susie Stewart

For Them

They cannot speak for themselves,

and so you speak


They cannot do for themselves,

and so you do for them


They cannot pay,

you give


They cannot fight,

you march


They are destitute








and passed by


But you

with your indwelling Hope


YOU are the hands

and the feet

and the voice

and the justice


for each one


knowing that YOU

were the one in need


when your Savior

left heaven to save you


He spoke for you

He fought for you

He did what you could not do

when he died to save you


And He paid

when you could not pay….


His heart for those in desperate need

replaced your heart of stone


and so you march

and you speak

and you pay

and you do


for the least

and the mute crying


– Susie Stewart


**Inspired by my daughter’s prayer march against human trafficking today.  We each need to take a look at ourselves and ask what we are doing for someone who cannot do or speak for themselves.  



Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; ensure justice for those being crushed.

– Proverbs 31:8 (NLT)


Learn to do good;  commit yourselves to seeking justice.  Make right for the world’s most vulnerable – the oppressed, the orphaned, the widow.  

– Isaiah 1:17 (VOICE)


Stand up of the poor and the orphan;  advocate for the rights of the afflicted and those in need.

– Psalm 82:3 (VOICE)


Real, true religion from God the Father’s perspective is about caring for the orphans and widows who suffer needlessly and resisting the evil influence of the world.

– James1:27 (VOICE)


Jesus said – The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, for He has anointed Me to bring Good News to the poor.  He has sent Me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free, and that the time of the Lord’s favor has come.

– Luke 4:18, 19 (NLT)


And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you.  I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart.

– Ezekiel 36:26 (NLT)


Then these righteous ones will reply, “Lord, when did we ever see You hungry and feed You?  Or thirsty and give You something to drink?  Or a stranger and who You hospitality?  Or naked and give You clothing?  When did we ever see You sick or in prison and visit You?”

And the King will say, “I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sister, you were doing it to Me!”  

– Matthew 25:37-40 (NLT)

Photo by John Butler


The way you treat people –

It’s all about HIM


The wisdom you instill in your children –

It’s all about HIM


The honest effort you put into your job –

It’s all about HIM


The person you are with your spouse –

It’s all about HIM


The faithfulness you display in friendship –

It’s all about HIM



all that you are

and all that matters in this life


must stem from your relationship

with Jesus


the most vital relationship you have


You are

and you do

and you exist

because of God


Any other effort

will fall short





to be


all about HIM


– Susie Stewart


Be assured that from the first day we heard of you, we haven’t stopped praying for you, asking God to give you wise minds and spirits attuned to His will, and so acquire a thorough understanding of the ways in which God works. We pray that you’ll live well for the Master, making Him proud of you as you work hard in His orchard. As you learn more and more how God works, you will learn how to do your work. We pray that you’ll have the strength to stick it out over the long haul—not the grim strength of gritting your teeth but the glory-strength God gives. It is strength that endures the unendurable and spills over into joy, thanking the Father who makes us strong enough to take part in everything bright and beautiful that He has for us.

God rescued us from dead-end alleys and dark dungeons. He’s set us up in the kingdom of the Son He loves so much, the Son who got us out of the pit we were in, got rid of the sins we were doomed to keep repeating.

– Colossians 1:9-14 (MSG)


The God who made the world and everything in it, this Master of sky and land, doesn’t live in custom-made shrines or need the human race to run errands for Him, as if He couldn’t take care of Himself. He makes the creatures; the creatures don’t make Him. Starting from scratch, He made the entire human race and made the earth hospitable, with plenty of time and space for living so we could seek after God, and not just grope around in the dark but actually find Him. He doesn’t play hide-and-seek with us. He’s not remote; He’s near. We live and move in Him, can’t get away from Him! One of your poets said it well: “We’re the God-created.” Well, if we are the God-created, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to think we could hire a sculptor to chisel a god out of stone for us, does it?

– Acts 17:26-29 (MSG)


I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised Him from the dead…

– Philippians 3:10 (NLT)


I am with you always, even to the end of the age.

– Matthew 28:20 (NLT)


Photo by Susie Stewart






To Be With You


You have been loved by your Father




And how thankful we are

that You want to share that love


Welcoming us in,

the adopted


into the intimacy

already there


How blessed

are the Children of God


And You not only welcome us

but You long for us


You want this great big family

of loved ones


How encircling is Your heart,

my Lord


I can’t wait to be with You

where You are


– Susie Stewart


Father, I long for the time when those You have given Me can join Me in My place so they may witness My glory, which comes from You. You have loved Me before the foundations of the cosmos were laid.

– John 17:24 (VOICE)


But for all who did receive and trust in Him, He gave them the right to be reborn as children of God

– John 1:12 (VOICE)


And now, children, stay with Christ. Live deeply in Christ. Then we’ll be ready for Him when He appears, ready to receive Him with open arms, with no cause for red-faced guilt or lame excuses when He arrives.

– 1 John 2:28 (MSG)


How blessed is God! And what a blessing He is! He’s the Father of our Master, Jesus Christ, and takes us to the high places of blessing in Him. Long before He laid down earth’s foundations, He had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of His love, to be made whole and holy by His love. Long, long ago He decided to adopt us into His family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure He took in planning this!) He wanted us to enter into the celebration of His lavish gift-giving by the hand of His beloved Son.

– Ephesians 1:3-6 (MSG)


Father, I want those you gave Me
To be with Me, right where I am,
So they can see My glory, the splendor you gave Me,
Having loved Me
Long before there ever was a world.
Righteous Father, the world has never known You,
But I have known You, and these disciples know
That You sent me on this mission.
I have made Your very being known to them—
Who You are and what you do—
And continue to make it known,
So that Your love for Me
Might be in them
Exactly as I am in them.

– John 17:24-26 (MSG)


Photo by Susie Stewart

Mother Revolutionaries

The world needs mothers. The world needs us to come find you in whatever your ache, and hold on to you in whatever you’re wrestling hard, and to believe in the imprint of something holy in you.

The world needs mothers to turn around and show you kids a revolutionary way.

The world needs Mother and Fathers, men and women, who live a revolutionary way to show you kids how to be an army of love warriors, who know your first tour of duty is always a tour of listening.

The only way to a sincerely God-obedient life — is to live a sincerely Listening Life.

A brave generation knows the best way to take a stand is to listen until we understand.

You need us mothers and fathers to quietly show you: There is more than doing what is good in your own eyes. There is being given eyes to see good beyond yourself so you can become more.

You need to know that when we were kids? We had tastes for deadly things; we collected our own poisonous seeds and we all drank down our own versions of poison berries. We all have a way of drinking down death, of picking up our own poisons.

But — we had kind mothers and fathers. We had mothers and fathers who sat and listened and loved us with our affinity for lesser things —- and gave us an appetite for far greater things. So we could live… so we could thrive and flourish and become the best versions we are called to be.

The world needs mothers who come for the kids being duped by drugs, the kids being hooked by hook-up culture, the kids being profaned by pornography, the kids being confused by conflicting voices.

And when you live unmasked, when you give words to whatever you’re wrestling, we will always call that what it is: Courageous. Comes from Cor. Means ‘heart’ in Latin. When you live with your heart on the outside, when you risk your whole heart — this is what makes you Courageous.

This is why every time you risk your heart — in telling your story, in sharing your struggles, in sacrificing yourself — we will always call you: Brave Heart.

Be brave and courageous and tell us your struggles. We will always listen to your courage. And we will love you through anything. Love does not always agree or affirm someone — but it is always sacrifices for someone.

This is what good mothering, what good parenting does: We don’t say, “Do whatever you want, just be you.” We say, “Become whatever is the best version of you — just be like Him.” We will lay down and sacrifice and serve you with our lives — so that you can have the best kind of life.

We will be the mothers and the fathers who are like Jesus, Jesus who reaches out to the woman caught in a mess: “I do not condemn you. Now go and sin no more.” (John 8)

We will be out on the street corners and on the corners of couches, living this for you.

This is the expansive embrace of Christianity: There is always first no condemnation — followed always by a movement into transformation.

The order of those two sentences is the essence of Christianity: No Condemnation. Come just as you are into Transformation.

Change the order of those two lines? And you lose the essence of Christianity…. you lose Christ.

We will sit with you and hold you in your courage — and we will stay with you always and we will sacrifice for you always and you must know this always, no. matter. what.

We all need mothers who love the largest and most revolutionary and say the wisest: Don’t simply follow your heart — but follow a Light so lovely that it will ignite your heart.

This will be road less travelled.

This will make all the difference.

Because you are not here to make an impression, you’re here to make a difference.

The world needs mothers who say: Press your ear up to the earth, and listen — listen to the hurting and the angry in our streets, the protesting and the broken around our corners, the different and the Other in our news stories, and let their breaking stories break you wide awake. Weep with the wounded. Carry a bottle with you and catch every tear you witness.

Bearing witness is how the world bears down and delivers change.

I don’t know, Beautiful Kid, but something tells that maybe no one knows it, or maybe they call it something else —

But I wonder if maybe everyone’s looking for a few lavishly gracious men and women to rise up and be like —- yeah, be like Jesus —- because the thing is:

Jesus’s company is always all inclusive.

The judger and the limper, the struggler and the Other, the finger-pointer and the Pharisee and the forgotten — everyone is welcome and Jesus’s expansive embrace excludes no one. No one.

And at the same time — Jesus’s kingdom is always all receptive.

The weary and the wayward and the worn out and the wounded who want to move from being only Company Keepers with Jesus to being heirs and Kingdom Dwellers in Jesus — must believe and receive.

Those who want to be Kingdom Dwellers are the ones who experience more than an embracing interaction with Jesus. They experience a liberating transaction with Jesus.

Company Keepers are satisfied simply perceiving Jesus’ love.

Kingdom Dwellers can’t resist opening their hearts and receiving His love.

And whoever receives Jesus and His finished work on the Cross, receives that Cross to do work in them.

Only those who are willing to let Jesus do battle with their old selves can enter the Kingdom of God.

So maybe that’s how all the kind revolutionaries live?

Just live out what all the courageous have discovered:

The Kingdom of God… “is more radically inclusive than any other philosophy or movement or religion or non-religion on earth. Absolutely every nation, tribe, and tongue is invited, welcomed, and will represented at the Table. And yet, no one comes to the Father except through Him.” [Scott Sauls]

That’s what Jesus — who is either a complete lunatic or completely Lord — said: “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life, no one comes to the Father, but by Me.” Either that is the God-honest, iron clad Truth and Jesus is the only Way —- or Jesus is not a man to follow but a complete liar to completely dismiss.

So maybe —

Maybe now is the time for a whole lot of mothers and father, men and women, to not be afraid of living the humble brave way that makes your life into an pointing arrow — by the way we humbly sacrifice and serve:

Because who can forget the words of one bold atheist: “I don’t respect people who don’t proselytize. I don’t respect that at all.

If you believe that there’s a heaven and hell and people could be going to hell or not getting eternal life … and you think that it’s not really worth telling them this because it would make it socially awkward…

How much do you have to hate somebody to believe that everlasting life is possible and not tell them that?” [Penn Jillette, atheist]

How much do you have to hate somebody to believe that everlasting life is possible — and not tell them that?

So the world needs the mothers and the gentle and the kind and the humble and the generously giving to get down on their knees and love enough to say exactly just that– through their words and hearts and serving, sacrificing hands.

Success is showing up and kneeling down to serve.

That’s all, kids– lean in and hear it, don’t stop listening till you hear it: You were made for the place where your deep passion meets compassion, because therein lies your deep purpose. You were made for the place where your deep passion meets compassion, because therein lies your deep purpose.

Focus more on living Truth than pointing out error,
more on celebrating the beautiful than decrying all that’s broken —
more on being a servant than on being right.

Hear us: That doesn’t mean you ignore concerns— it means your ultimate focus is on the commendable.

We all need the tender mothers and fathers who don’t just say it, but dare to compassionately live it with this generation of kids:

Don’t bother being a megaphone — the world has so many of those we’re all growing deaf.

Just…. Be a Light so lovely. Be a Light so lovely that people are drawn to the Source and warmth of it.

The most conservative in believing should be the most liberal in loving — because the conservative are called to conserve the revolutionary ways of Jesus.

If you listen closely, if you come closer and listen — you can hear it, you can hear the soundless cries of a confused and hurting world.

And you can find the mothers who come after their children and whisper revolutionary things to them and hold them close —

so they feel the sure pulse of compassion.

So they hear the steady heartbeat of God.

– Ann Voskamp


As a mother comforts her child,
so will I comfort you;
and you will be comforted over …

– Isaiah 66:13 (NIV)


A wife of noble character who can find?
She is worth far more than rubies.
Her husband has full confidence in her
and lacks nothing of value.

She speaks with wisdom,
and faithful instruction is on her tongue.

Her children arise and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her.

– Proverbs 31:10,11,26,28 (NIV)


Direct your children onto the right path,
and when they are older, they will not leave it.

– Proverbs 22:6 (NLT)


Photo by Arik Stewart

Biblical Virtues to Pray for Your Kids

1. Salvation—”Lord, let salvation spring up within my children, that they may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory.” (Isa. 45:8; 2 Tim. 2:10)

2. Growth in Grace—”I pray that my children may grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” (2 Pet. 3:18)

3. Love—”Grant, Lord, that my children may learn to live a life of love, through the Spirit who dwells in them.” (Gal. 5:25; Eph. 5:2)

4. Honesty and Integrity—”May integrity and honesty be their virtue and their protection.” (Ps. 25:21)

5. Self-Control—”Father, help my children not to be like many others around them, but let them be alert and self-controlled in all they do.”
(1 Thess. 5:6)

6. Love for God’s Word—”May my children grow to find Your Word more precious than much pure gold and sweeter than honey from the comb.” (Ps. 19:10)

7. Justice—”God, help my children to love justice as You do and act justly in all they do.” (Ps. 11:7; Mic. 6:8)

8. Mercy—”May my children always be merciful, just as their Father is merciful.” (Luke 6:36)

9. Respect (for self, others, and authority)—”Father, grant that my children may show proper respect to everyone, as Your Word commands.”  (1 Pet. 2:17)

10. Biblical Self-Esteem—”Help my children develop a strong self-esteem that is rooted in the realization that they are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus.” (Eph. 2:10)

11. Faithfulness—”Let love and faithfulness never leave my children, but bind these twin virtues around their necks and write them on the tablet of their hearts.” (Prov. 3:3)

12. Courage—”May my children always be strong and courageous in their character.” (Deut. 31:6)

13. Purity—”Create in them a pure heart, O God, and let that purity of heart be shown in their actions.” (Ps. 51:10)

14. Kindness—”Lord, may my children always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else.” (1 Thess. 5:15)

15. Generosity—”Grant that my children may be generous and willing to share, and so lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age.” (1 Tim. 6:18-19)

16. Peace-Loving—”Father, let my children make every effort to do what leads to peace.” (Rom. 14:19)

17. Joy—”May my children be filled with the joy given by the Holy Spirit.” (1 Thes. 1:6)

18. Perseverance—”Lord, teach my children perseverance in all they do, and help them especially to run with perseverance the race marked out for them.” (Heb. 12:1)

19. Humility—”God, please cultivate in my children the ability to show true humility toward all.” (Titus 3:2)

20. Compassion—”Lord, please clothe my children with the virtue of compassion.” (Col. 3:12)

21. Responsibility—”Grant that my children may learn responsibility, for each one should carry his own load.” (Gal. 6:5)

22. Contentment—”Father, teach my children the secret of being content in any and every situation, through Him who gives them strength.” (Phil. 4:12-13)

23. Faith—”I pray that faith will find root and grow in my children’s hearts, that by faith they may gain what has been promised to them.” (Luke 17:5-6; Heb. 11:1-40)

24. A Servant’s Heart—”God, please help my children develop servant’s hearts, that they may serve wholeheartedly, as if they were serving the Lord, not men.” (Eph. 6:7)

25. Hope—”May the God of hope grant that my children may overflow with hope and hopefulness by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Rom. 15:13)

26. Willingness and Ability to Work—”Teach my children, Lord, to value work and to work at it with all their heart, as working for the Lord and not for men.” (Col. 3:23)

27. Passion for God—”Lord, please instill in my children a soul that ‘followeth hard after thee,’ one that clings passionately to You.” (Ps. 63:8)

28.Self-Discipline—”Father, I pray that my children may acquire a disciplined and prudent life, doing what is right and just and fair.” (Prov. 1:3)

29. Prayerfulness—”Grant, Lord, that my children’s lives may be marked by prayerfulness, that they may learn to pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers.” (1 Thess. 5:17)

30. Gratitude—”Help my children to live lives that are always overflowing with thankfulness and always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Eph. 5:20; Col. 2:7)

– Bob Hostetler


Photo by Andy Stewart

Parent Love


“My love and prayers are always covering you.”


A covering

as in

a blanket

a coat

a shelter






from the onslaught


Extending over

as a shield


A treasured message from my mom

A gift passed on to my children


Parental love and prayer


– Susie Stewart


Don’t you see that children are God’s best gift? The fruit of the womb His generous legacy? Like a warrior’s fistful of arrows are the children of a vigorous youth. Oh, how blessed are you parents, with your quivers full of children! Your enemies don’t stand a chance against you; you’ll sweep them right off your doorstep.

– Psalm 127:4 (MSG)


Make the things I’m commanding you today part of who you are. Repeat them to your children. Talk about them when you’re sitting together in your home and when you’re walking together down the road. Make them the last thing you talk about before you go to bed and the first thing you talk about the next morning. Do whatever it takes to remember them: tie a reminder on your hand and bind a reminder on your forehead where you’ll see it all the time, such as on the doorpost where you cross the threshold or on the city gate.

– Deuteronomy 6:6-9 (VOICE)


Be assured that from the first day we heard of you, we haven’t stopped praying for you, asking God to give you wise minds and spirits attuned to his will, and so acquire a thorough understanding of the ways in which God works. We pray that you’ll live well for the Master, making Him proud of you as you work hard in His orchard. As you learn more and more how God works, you will learn how to do your work. We pray that you’ll have the strength to stick it out over the long haul—not the grim strength of gritting your teeth but the glory-strength God gives. It is strength that endures the unendurable and spills over into joy, thanking the Father who makes us strong enough to take part in everything bright and beautiful that He has for us.

– Colossians 1:8-10 (MSG)


Photo by Olan Mills way back when

His Love

“I have trouble recognizing and absorbing God’s love for me,” my husband shared as we were eating leftovers together.

“Tell me more,” I said.

“Well, you know how the Bible tells us over and over about how much God loves us?  I don’t know.  I just have trouble applying that to myself.”

A good, honest assessment.

“Sweetie, think about how much you love your kids, and how they make you so proud, and you love to be with them, and how that video on Youtube about daughters growing up made you cry the other day?”


“Well, God sees you that way.  And He loves you even more than you love those kids.”

Pause…. He’s thinking…

I go on.

“And what if I responded mechanically and business-like to your love for me?  How would you like that?”

“I’d hate it.”

“Well, I don’t think we should be responding to God’s love like that either.”

Thinking some more….

“You need to let God love you and let it make you smile.  Really smile!  And respond to His love.”


I think things started to sink in for Mr. Logical.  And I so appreciate that he has always been a good listener.

He knows what love for others feels like.

He knows he doesn’t want to receive a mechanical or distant response from the people he loves.

And he also knows how good and encouraging it feels to be loved by people.


God put this love in our hearts.


We can’t see Him

but He loves us extravagantly

in so many ways

not the least of which was the ultimate sacrifice –



Soak in His love!


Notice Him loving you through people

notice Him loving you through nature

notice Him loving you through the Bible

notice Him loving you through “coincidences”

even notice Him loving you through difficulties

and discipline.


Notice Him

and love Him back.


There is nothing better in this life

than to know that God loves you and to love Him in return.

– Susie Stewart



Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind;


Love your neighbor as yourself.

– Luke 10:27 (NIV)


Love must be sincere..

– Romans 12:9 (NIV)


Photo taken by Nicole Stewart



Mind The Gap

You are there.

I am here.

There is a gap.

I cross the gap and I see you, truly see you.

And you live in extreme poverty

The walls of your home are mud and sticks

Your front door is a piece of torn fabric.

My door here…

Well it opens to a very large house

With too many rooms for the few people who live here

The echo of your voice heard in these large spaces

And your family, all of you, sleep on a mud floor in one room

And you don’t have a bed

And you are tired.

I’m tired too.

I’m tired of the huge gap between me and you

Between how I live and how you live.

That’s why I’m moving.

Out of this familiar and comfortable home

Where rooms are plenty and I forget….

How you are not comfortable

And you may only have one meal a day

And you are a servant to the relatives who took you in

When your parents died…

The gap is too large.

I want to mind the gap

I want to do more, and then more, and then more

And acknowledge that you are suffering.

Acknowledge that you are there.

And I am here.

And there is a gap.

Not just in distance

but in tolerance of suffering.

Just enough is not enough

Radical is what God is after.

Minding the gap

So that you will have a place to call home

With a bed

And a family

And I find joy and purpose and I am blessed

Because I know for you, life is better

Because life for me,  has changed.

– Susie Stewart

Let us not love with words or speech, but with action and in truth.

– 1 John 3:18 (NIV)

Friends, please search your hearts for ways that you can love radically.  There is still so much need in the world.  God calls us to different things, but there is no doubt that He calls all of us to DO something.  This has been a journey for me of how to live more simply so that others can simply live.  I have been inspired by my daughter Nicole, who for so long has set an example of simplicity and a lack of materialism.  The book “Crazy Love” has had a huge impact on our family and this sermon by Joshua Clemmons.  No judgment cast on anyone else, just challenging all of us to find ways to do more. – a ministry that is minding the gap.

* “Mind the Gap” is a phrase that originated in London as a warning to passengers as they cross from a station platform to a train door.   



Photos taken by  Susie Stewart