Our 2019 Advent Journal, All the Generations: From Genesis to You, is an offering written by our entire Blessed is She team! For the first time this year, we will be journeying together as a community not only through the Advent season, but through the Christmas season as well.
We want you to get to know the women who will spiritually walk by your side through these transformative seasons. In order to help you get to know the heart behind the Advent Journal, for the next several weeks, we’ll sit down with the writers for each week of Advent and Christmas.
Coffee Break with the Advent Journal Writers
Consider this a quick moment over coffee with the Advent Journals writers. We asked the writers of each week the same questions:
- Why she shared the particular story she shared in her Advent Journal writing.
- Her favorite Scripture passage from the day.
- Her hope for us all in healing we’re praying for in ourselves and our families.
Let’s hear from the writers of Week 1.
Jenna Guizar // Founder & Creative Director of Blessed is She
1) I was excited to set the scene for the rest of the book on the first day. It’s an honor to write for this, and I couldn’t be more excited for you to unpack alongside us these stories from our lives where God has healed and continues to heal to this day. This book is truly a gift to women, starting with the vulnerability of the writers writing for it with authenticity and love.
2) “God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him” (Genesis 1:27).
3) I’m looking forward to our readers to look into their own story the Lord is weaving in their lives, in their families. He is doing something new, day in and day out, and sometimes we have to pause long enough to notice it. So I’m excited to dive in alongside our reader and start to notice with her.
Beth Davis // Director of Ministry Advancement for Blessed is She
1) Learning the Father’s true heart has been one of the most liberating, healing experiences of my life. As I’ve come to know what God is really like through prayer and Scripture, has helped me to start running to Him in pain or shame, rather than avoid Him out of fear. I want every woman to know how loving and gentle their Father is toward them.
2) “Where are you?” (Genesis 3:9).
3) Family tension and heartache runs so deep, it can sometimes feel hopeless. But nothing is beyond God, nothing is too broken to heal and restore. When the relationship seems too lost or the weight of it is overwhelming, I want them to know God can be trusted with it all, even if it’s just letting Him in bit by bit.
Nell O’Leary // Managing Editor for Blessed is She + Writer
1) Unexpected twists and turns in our lives are often under-shared. I like presenting myself like I have it all together but this story was one where we were so upside-down as a family, and that’s how we learned to trust the Lord.
2) “But I will establish my covenant with you” (Genesis 6:18).
3) I hope that this book and all its stories and all our vulnerabilities invite women to sit with theirs and not be ashamed to bring them to God for healing and His loving tender touch.
Lindsay Durrenberger // Executive Assistant for Blessed is She
1) I chose this story because it is the most blatant example of God’s unbelievable provision in my life, and also because it was the one time in my life that I really, truly, inexplicably trusted Him. I didn’t question if He would come through; I knew He would, and that is pretty rare for me!
2) “Look toward the heaven and number the stars, if you are able to number them” (Genesis 15:5).
3) More than anything, I want the reader to feel seen, no matter what her family situation—wounds and all—may look like. I want her to find healing in the notion that she is not alone; she has us in addition to her Father.
Olivia Spears // Blog Manager for Blessed is She + Writer
1) Abraham’s faith is held up as a an example throughout the Old and New Testaments. So many of us want to have that kind of deep faith and trust in God, but I think there’s parts of all of us that hold back a bit. There are countless moments in life when we want to respond freely and readily to the Lord, like Abraham and Mary did, but we can all relate to hesitation of heart.
2) “By myself I have sworn, says the LORD . . . ” (Genesis 22:16).
3) My prayer is that this helps the reader more closely examine those parts of their hearts in relation to their family that they haven’t quite fully surrendered to the Lord. These areas are so tender and can be deeply painful, and it’s difficult to entrust them to someOne else and to let them go. I hope that we can all be inspired by Abraham’s response.
Megan Hjelmstad // Instagram Stories Manager for Blessed is She + Writer
1) I chose this story because seeking counseling was a huge turning point in my journey of healing. Not just emotional and relational healing, but spiritual healing—peeling back the layers to trust God more, accept His love, and by extension begin to realize my true worth. Even though I had a great childhood and a loving, faith-filled family, counseling helped me understand that we are all still human, we all still suffer wounds and inflict wounds throughout life, and it’s a beautiful gift to receive practical tools to better relate to each other and our God in both our brokenness and our striving.
2) “[Jacob] went on before them, bowing himself to the ground seven times, until he came near to his brother. But Esau ran to meet him, and embraced him, and fell on his neck and kissed him, and they wept” (Genesis 33:4).
3) I hope this devotional reminds readers that they are not alone—these heartaches and relationship wounds and human error have been around since the Fall. I pray they’re also assured daily of God’s enduring presence, reminded that He’s right here with us in it, just as He’s been since the Fall, in the very worst of our mistakes and the very deepest of our wounds. He’s always working to redeem us through it when we let Him, and always restoring us to Himself and even to each other wherever possible.
Susanna Spencer // Theological Editor for Blessed is She + Writer
1) I related to Joseph in the Scripture who faced unexpected hardship, but saw God’s hand bringing good in it. In my story God uses my suffering for the sake of my family to grow in love and holiness—for Joseph it was the same.
2) “God sent me before you to preserve life” (Genesis 45:5).
3) I hope that it helps our readers see how God is using their suffering, even family hurts for something greater than they can see now.
Come Pray with Us?
We cannot wait to share our stories, hear your stories, and help you find the healing that God so desires in your family this Advent and Christmas season.
If you haven’t grabbed your Advent Journal yet, you can find it here!
Week 2 writers will be shared next week!