Maternal Love by Vannetta Chapman

A Promise for MiriamI’m wondering how many of you have been blessed with a godly woman in your life? Maybe it’s your mother or grandmother; maybe it’s an aunt or a cousin or a friend. It could be someone you’ve known your entire life or someone you met recently. Regardless of who or how long, these relationships nurture us. These are people we can trust, who will listen to our hurts and celebrate with your joys.

I like to write about these types of relationships. I realize we don’t all have a perfect mother or a best-friend sister, but I think most people have at least one maternal figure in their life that they are grateful for.

In the story A Promise for Miriam, we see this relationship between Miriam and her mom (even though her mother makes some terrible herbal tea for Miriam to drink when she’s sick). And we see how Miriam passes on the same love and kindness to the new little girl in her school—Grace.

I try to emphasize that it’s not about being perfect, since none of us can be that. Rather it’s about not judging one another, offering a calm and peaceful presence, committing to praying for one another, and encouraging one another.

I’m not sure there is any stronger bond than that between a mother and her child (except maybe a father and his child). It’s something that truly lasts a lifetime. As a mom, I understand that I would do absolutely anything for my children—including my stepchildren. They are more than an extension of ourselves. They’re also a blessing and an important part of the future. They are, essentially, more valuable than our own life. That’s just what being a mom means. That you put the child first.

juliaProverbs 31 describes a woman of “noble character.” Deuteronomy and Exodus and Ephesians remind us to honor our mothers. Proverbs 6:20 tells us to “not forsake your mother’s teaching.” We are reminded of Sarah’s love for Isaac, Elizabeth’s love for John, and Mary’s love for Jesus. Scripture is resplendent with stories of mothers and children and the sacred bond that exists between us.

Often in my stories, I depict mothers and grandmothers who are old, somewhat feeble, but giants in the faith. They consider Scripture to be their lifeline, and they share those precious verses when my heroine is in trouble.

In A Wedding for Julia, Ada is the cause of Julia’s distress and yet she is also the reminder of her salvation. Ada consistently and patiently reminds Julia of the faithfulness of God and the truth of His word.

I’ve been blessed with many nurturing women in my life—my mother, my sister, my mother-in-law, very close friends. These ladies provide a stability to my life that helps me to handle the very bad days. I can count on each of these women, and they’ve inspired me to be that same type of person to others. I want to be the one who listens, who doesn’t judge, who guides with God’s word and His love and His mercy.

I understand that our mothers aren’t perfect, and everyone doesn’t have a mother that they can look up to. For some of us, our mothers have passed or perhaps they haven’t been the godly example that we would have wished for. But I like to think that God had a plan when he placed us in the arms of the woman who bore us. Whether we understand that plan or not, we can honor it. And though I’m not a perfect mom (just ask my children), I can vow to make my children a priority, to lead them with a kind and gentle hand, and to remind them of the truth of God’s love.

I’m praying that this Mother’s Day will be extra special and remind you of your Father’s abiding love.



Vannetta Chapman and FriendsVannetta Chapman has published more than 100 articles in Christian family magazines. She discovered her love for the Amish while researching her grandfather’s birthplace in Albion, Pennsylvania. Vannetta is a multi-award-winning member of Romance Writers of America. She was a teacher for 15 years and currently resides in the Texas Hill country. Her first two inspirational novels—A Simple Amish Christmas and Falling to Pieces—were Christian Book Distributors bestsellers.

Photo of Vannetta and friends courtesy of the author.


Amish Devotional: It’s About Time by Mindy Starns Clark

The Amish ClockmakerNot surprisingly, one overriding theme in The Amish Clockmaker is time—recognizing it, seizing it, respecting the fact that its passage cannot be stopped. Time is something that comes up often for me when I think of the Amish. For example…

When I visit an Amish home, time often seems to stand still. Without the usual noise and distractions of an Englisch household, I’m better able to be “in the moment” and savor what’s right in front of me.

When I get dressed in the morning, my time often feels poorly spent. Standing at the closet, stumped, I tell myself that if I were Amish, this would be so much easier, no decisions required.

When I’m in the car, time often seems like my biggest enemy. Racing around like a madwoman, one eye on the clock, I can’t help but wonder what life would be like if I were Amish. With only a horse and buggy to get me from place to place, I couldn’t go nearly as far for the things I need—or think I need. I would group my errands and appointments more efficiently. I would eliminate various tasks and responsibilities entirely, because their distances would make them undoable.

There’s just something about time and the Amish that feels right to me. They don’t seem to fight time as I do. Thanks to their agrarian lifestyle, not to mention their eschewing of electricity, their days are far more in rhythm with the earth, with the rising and setting of the sun. Perhaps, sometimes, with God Himself.

Last night, I sat down to watch a show on Netflix. My husband and I usually head to bed at a decent hour, but he was out of town so I decided to stretch it a bit. But then one more episode led to yet another, and eventually I found myself deep into an hours-long binge watch. I finally turned the TV off in the wee hours of the morning, and today I’m tired and cranky.

Ephesians 5:16 tells us to make “the best use of the time, because the days are evil.” Obviously, these things—a television, an automobile, a closet of clothes—are not evil in and of themselves. But they can serve evil, depending on how I choose to use them—or rather how I choose to allow them to rule me. Thanks to a plethora of modern-day devices, we have gained the ability to artificially prolong our days—which can sometimes lead us to pretend we’re actually extending time itself.

But we’re not.


In The Amish Clockmaker, one character points out that we can use time or misuse it or waste it, but we can’t stop it. Today, I am trying to embrace that truth. With an eye toward the Amish, I am reminding myself that…

I can make time seem to stand still, simply by eliminating distractions.

I can use time more wisely, simply by paring down my choices.

Finally, I can view time as a blessing, simply by being more deliberate in how I choose to spend it.

I pray the same for you as well.


Author Mindy Starns ClarkMindy Starns Clark is the bestselling author of more than 20 books, both fiction and nonfiction (more than 800,000 sold), including coauthoring the Christy Award-winning The Amish Midwife. Mindy and her husband, John, have two adult children and live in Pennsylvania. Visit her online at


Amish Devotional: God Has Provided by Kelly Irvin

Love Still StandsBut he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
—2 Corinthians 12:9 (ɴɪᴠ)

This is the verse on which I based the story of Bethel Graber, the main character in Love Still Stands, which is the first book in the New Hope Amish series published by Harvest House. Bethel, who was a school teacher, suffered injuries to her legs in a terrible storm and could no longer teach. She feared she wouldn’t be able to be a good fraa or mudder, either. Who would marry her? She prayed for healing, yet it didn’t come, not in the manner she hoped or expected.

Little did I know when I wrote this story that I would experience something similar in my life. It wasn’t a storm, but my own body that rebelled against me. About six months ago I found myself losing my ability to walk. I couldn’t do aerobics anymore, run on the treadmill, or zip across the street to beat traffic on my way to work. It was like losing the ability to breathe.

After a series of doctor’s appointments and endless x-rays and MRIs, I learned scoliosis, which I’d been born with more than 50 years ago, was the culprit. My spine was so crooked the spinal cord was being compressed, causing nerve damage that affected my muscles’ ability to do their job. Long story short, I had surgery to correct it in October, but not before the neurosurgeon went to great lengths to make sure I understood I might not ever walk normally again.

Now I’m in the rehabilitation stage, and I’m learning it’s possible that he was right. I pray every day that he was wrong, but no matter how much physical therapy I do, my normal, carefree stride has not returned. I can’t bend over. I have trouble tying my own shoes. I shuffle along with a cane, feeling like an old lady. Yes, I admit it, sometimes I feel sorry for myself. Sometimes I wonder how I could have written such a story with such a blithe offering of God’s will and God’s timing and God’s provision.

And then I think, Where would I be without Him? God has provided. He has provided truly phenomenal medical care. He’s provided outstanding health insurance. He’s given me a husband who arose in the middle of the night to turn me over when I couldn’t turn myself over in bed, and who helped me shower and get to the restroom. Who cooks, cleans, buys groceries, and does laundry because I can’t yet do all those things myself. When the doctor explained to us that my surgery would require me to learn to walk again and that rehabilitation could take six months to a year, Tim’s response was to remind me of our vows: in sickness and in health. He has more than lived up to his end of what surely isn’t much of a bargain for him. No matter what Hollywood may tell us, this is true romantic love.

On February 14, Tim and I celebrated our twenty-seventh wedding anniversary. Like Bethel, I am trying to learn to accept that I may not get the answer to my prayers that I so desperately want, but God has a plan for me and He knows why this is happening to me (and to Tim). He is made strong in my weakness. His plan will be revealed in His time.

I know I’m not the only one out there who is struggling with this battle, so I offer a prayer for you and for myself:

Kelly IrvinHeavenly Father, You are the Great Physician. I ask for a miracle of healing for myself and others who are suffering ailments they can’t bear. I know You will do what is best for Your children. You will provide for us in all our needs as You see fit. Give us the strength and the perseverance to run the race You have set for us. Strengthen our faith even as our bodies fail. We ask this in the mighty name of Your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.


Kelly Irvin is a Kansas native and has been writing professionally for over 30 years. She and her husband, Tim, make their home in Texas. They have two children, two grandchildren, two cats, and a tankful of fish. To learn more about her work, visit


Amish Devotional: It’s Not About Me by Mary Ellis

A Plain Man“But those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” Matthew 23:12 ɴʟᴛ

My mother had her own version of that particular Scripture: Stop tooting your own horn. And her favorite: The less said about one’s self, the better.

The immortal maxims of my late mother still ring in my ears today, making me smile. The problem is Mom was a stay-at-home housewife, not a published author. How does a Christian balance being humble with the necessity of self-promotion, essential in many careers? Not only writers, but musicians, dancers, actors, salespeople, public speakers, sports figures and—of course—politicians must do quite a bit of horn-tooting to stay in the game. Often this type of marketing is not only expected, but required in the fine print of contracts. When I struggle with the dilemma of promotion vs. setting oneself above others, I take a lesson from the Amish.

After studying their culture for years, I learned the Amish are reluctant to draw attention to themselves or their accomplishments. In my most recent Amish book, A Plain Man, Caleb struggles upon his return to his family after a five-year rumschpringe. Caleb must not only give up his electric tools, English clothing, and pickup truck, but also his need to take credit for personal achievements. In Cleveland at the carpenters’ union hall, Caleb had to make sure everyone knew about his superior abilities. He needed to stay above his peers. But among the Amish, everyone works together without any one man or woman getting the glory. Now Caleb must find a balance between using the skills God gave him and humbling himself in the community and before his Lord.

As an author, I too must walk a tightrope between not puffing myself up and spreading the word when I release a new book about God’s infinite grace, mercy, and love. If the Lord continues to put words into my head, I will weave them into gentle stories about the Amish or romances about strong women in history. But I must never forget: It’s not about me. It’s all by His hand and for His glory.


Mary EllisMary Ellis has written twelve bestselling novels set in the Amish community. Before “retiring” to write full-time, Mary taught middle school and worked as a sales rep for Hershey Chocolate. She has enjoyed a lifelong passion for American history and is an active member of the local historical society. She has recently finished several romances set during the Civil War and is currently working on a series of mysteries titled “Secrets of the South.” The Last Heiress is her latest release. She can be found on the web at or on Facebook.


Amish Devotional: Devoted to Prayer by Vannetta Chapman

juliaSometimes it’s difficult to show others how much we care. Our children are so busy. Our family is sometimes spread out across the country. And our friends are often trying to go a dozen directions at once. What’s a person to do?

I suppose we could shrug our shoulders and say “It’s too hard.” Or we could do what Paul admonished us to do: “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).

In my story, A Wedding for Julia, my main character finds herself in despair after the death of her father. Not only are she and her mother alone now, but it seems that the dreams she has held so close will never come true. How can they? But what is impossible with man is possible with God, and soon Julia finds her life radically changing as she marries, then opens her new restaurant, and eventually faces one of the worst natural disasters in Wisconsin history. How does she find her way through? How does she help those she has grown to love so dearly?

She prays. Oh, I don’t mean she stops cooking or cleaning or gardening. No, she continues doing all of the things that she’s always done, but she does it with an attitude of prayer. She prays for her husband, her mother, and her community. She prays for strangers who are caught in the storm’s path. She prays for herself, that she might have the strength and wisdom needed.

When my family has problems, my first instinct is to fix them! I want to come up with solutions, lay out a battle plan, and turn things around. But is that the best course? Or should I pause and pray? While I write and clean and attend to my daily chores, should I petition God? When someone near me is hurting, can I trust them to God’s care?

We know what the Bible says to do, and maybe with time—and practice—we can learn to do that very thing. We can begin to “pray without ceasing.” And together, we can invite our heavenly Father into our midst, where He can direct our paths.



Vannetta ChapmanVannetta Chapman has published more than 100 articles in Christian family magazines. She discovered her love for the Amish while researching her grandfather’s birthplace in Albion, Pennsylvania. Vannetta is a multi-award-winning member of Romance Writers of America. She was a teacher for 15 years and currently resides in the Texas Hill country. Her first two inspirational novels—A Simple Amish Christmas and Falling to Pieces—were Christian Book Distributors bestsellers.