Three Gifts for Christmas – A New Book, A New Name, And A New Ministry!

We’ve faced many challenges over the last year, especially during the past month, but God has also blessed us with an abundance of gifts ̶ though none are greater than the gift of Jesus!

Today, I would like to celebrate three incredible gifts with you and give God all the glory!

  1. A new book!

Over the last two years, I have had the pleasure and privilege of prayerfully serving Jesus alongside the talented Bunmi Ishola with the WaterBrook and Multnomah Kids Publishing Family. We’ve been working with a gifted illustrator Darshika Varma and are excited to announce the release of What Color is God’s Love? in March 2024.

To God be the glory, the honor, and the praise, praise, praise!

What did Publisher’s Weekly have to say about my new book?

“Xochitl Dixon writes a rhyming tale of the rainbow as a way to explore the full spectrum of God in What Color is God’s Love? (WaterBrook, Mar. 2024)” (Publishers Weekly, September 2023)

All of my books empower children to celebrate diversity, advocate for inclusion and disability awareness, while spreading the Gospel and loving Jesus and their neighbors with their words and actions.

Pre-orders, like written reviews on your favorite review platforms, show my publisher that readers are interested in my books and will support my work going forward. Each book that you pre-order encourages my publisher to keep inviting me to create more books that point to Jesus!

You can help me show my publisher that you want more books like Different Like Me by loving your neighbors and pre-ordering extra copies of What Color is God’s Love? to share as gifts today!

Please use this exclusive Pre-order Link to order your copies of What Color is God’s Love? today:

https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/711471/what-color-is-gods-love-by-xochitl-dixon-illustrated-by-darshika-varma/

Thank you for your partnership in sharing God’s truth and love to the ends of the earth by sharing Different Like Me, Waiting for God: Trusting Daily in God’s Plan and Pace, and What Color is God’s Love? with others.

I can do nothing without God or your ongoing prayers and support.

  1. A New Name!

This gift is not what you might expect. The name I’m talking about isn’t even mine. If you’ve been connecting with me on social media, you may have enjoyed photos of my husband, Dr. W. Alan Dixon Sr., wearing Christmas hats in November-December. We call this tradition the Dixon Christmas Hatstravaganza and Socktacular with Tinsel Ties, Glitzy Glasses, and Callie’s Bandana Bonanza.

This year, I interviewed my husband. I wanted share the backstory and the deeper purpose behind this fun tradition with the readers around the world who return to my social media pages every year to check out my husband’s crazy Christmas hats. During our interview, my husband also reveals his new nickname.

CLICK HERE to watch this exclusive Pause for Prayer Interview.

  1. A new ministry!

Something happened at the end of November. I’ve been struggling as I process the situation and trust God to work out the details. Though it’s been a hard month, through it all God has been revealing Himself intimately and giving me wonderful opportunities to serve Him. Hallelujah!

He’s been nudging me to be more consistent with sharing biblical encouragement and prayers here and through Pause for Prayer (my YouTube channel).

This month, I interviewed authors Christie Thomas, Dorena Williamson, and Valerie Ellis. You will not want to miss what the Lord revealed through our conversations!

To subscribe to Pause for Prayer, please CLICK HERE.

I can hardly wait to see what God has in store for us in 2024, as we live with a passion for Christ, rooted in God’s Word and growing with God’s people.

To God be the glory, the honor, and the praise, praise, praise!

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Books for Maui – I Need Your Help

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16, ESV)

As I prayed for the residents of Hawaii, especially the Native Hawaiians, I asked God to show me how I could help in a practical way. I found out about Books for Maui on Instagram. I signed up right away and shared the opportunity with other authors. However, as soon as I posted the invitation for authors to donate books and services, I received notification that the auction had to close its call for donations early.

They had over 900 authors signed up for the program!

To God be the glory, the honor, and the praise!

I praised God for allowing me to participate.

I’m inviting you to help in one of two ways.

  1. Bid on the auction site between Monday, August 21, 2023 and Friday, August 25, 2023 at midnight Hawaii Standard Time. (link below).
  2. If you aren’t interested in bidding, donate to the reputable organizations on my list (links below).

I donated two packages that you can bid on for yourself or for a friend as a gift.

My Book Bundle Package includes signed copies of Different Like Me, Diferente como yo, and Waiting for God: Trusting Daily in God’s Plan and Pace. This package also includes an Author Visit via Zoom.

The Author Visit can be used on 1 of 3 different ways.

  1. You can invite me to read Different Like Me for a school classroom, for a children’s ministry event or Sunday morning class, a MOPS group meeting, or any group event that includes readers who would enjoy an engaging reading of Different Like Me.
  2. If you are an aspiring children’s book writer, you can also use the Author Visit as a one-on-one meeting to discuss your writing. You would have the opportunity to share a sample of your work with me (1,000 words or less) for general feedback via a live Zoom chat.
  3. If you are interested in reading Waiting for God: Trusting Daily in God’s Plan and Pace, the Author Visit can be used for a Bible Study Group, a book club, or any group of readers who enjoy the devotions I write for Our Daily Bread.

My Manuscript Critique Package includes a signed copy of Different Like Me, a critique of one manuscript for children, and a one-on-one Zoom meeting to discuss my feedback and your writing journey. Though I have decades of experience and publishing credits in prose, my specialty for children’s books is writing in rhyme.

What is the Books for Maui Auction? 

On Tuesday, August 8, 2023, a wildfire swept through Lāhainā on the island of Maui. It quickly consumed hundreds of structures and destroyed families.

Although seen by some as a tourist destination, Lāhainā has deep ties to Native Hawaiians as the former capital of the Hawaiian Kingdom and a place of great political power, history, and cultural significance. It is home to a vast number of Native Hawaiians, who are currently in great need and are leading much of the disaster relief efforts.

Due to gentrification of Lāhainā, there are clear disparities between residents and we want to support those with familial connections to this `āina (land).

This auction is designed to raise money for Maui relief efforts.

If you want to bid, please use this link to visit the Auction Site for Book for Maui:  https://www.32auctions.com/BooksforMaui

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If you do not want to bid on any of the over 900 books or services BUT WOULD LIKE TO DONATE to help the Native Hawaiian people through this relief efforts, please use the following links and donate directly to these reputable organizations.

Hawaii Community Foundation – Maui Strong: https://www.hawaiicommunityfoundation.org/maui-strong

Kamehameha – Ho’ōla Maui: bit.ly/3DXIMMY

Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement Kāko’o Maui https://www.hawaiiancouncil.org/

Maui Food Bank: https://mauifoodbank.org/

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Please join me in praying for the Books for Maui team as they serve in this unique way and continue praying for those who have been effected by the fires in Hawaii, especially the Native Hawaiians who are leading much of the relief efforts.

Thanks for helping me make a difference as we love our neighbors in Hawaii.

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Redeeming Hope – A Personal Story of Loss, Lament, and Letting God Use Our Heartbreaks

(Loving Note: This article touches on grief after miscarriage.)

I concentrated on breathing slowly, trying to ignore my husband’s useless attempts to comfort me as we walked out of the doctor’s office. Alan dug his keys out of his pocket as we approached the car. “At least you weren’t that far along,” he said.

Hugging my purse to my chest, I glared at my husband. Almost five months seemed far enough along to me. I blinked away the stinging in my eyes as I remembered the nurse’s failed attempt to comfort us by saying that “the fetus had stopped developing” so she doubted I was “as far along as my chart indicated.”

The fetus? No. The baby stopped developing. My baby, who was far enough along to have a heartbeat and far enough along to be a loss, was worth grieving.

Alan opened my car door and placed his hand on my shoulder. “It’s not that big of a deal,” he said. “This happens to a lot of people.”

Shrugging away from his touch, I slid into the passenger seat as anger, confusion, and resentment widened the gap between us. Staring out the window in silence didn’t stop my husband from bombarding me with what I now recognize as well-intentioned platitudes used to process his own confusion and grief.

Over the next few weeks, I concealed my feelings behind a lipstick-glossed smile at work. But baby-sightings in-person and on television triggered explosions of grief. At home, I lashed out at my husband.

Eventually, I asked for a divorce.

Please click here to visit the God Hears Her Blog and read the rest of my story in “Redeeming Hope.”

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Saved by Words AND an Opportunity to Share God’s Love with Local Libraries

Suggested Reading: John 1:1-18

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” John 1:1

As a latchkey kid, I spent a lot of time alone. Books became my best friends. Music became my therapist.

I traveled the world and learned how to see beyond my personal space through the pages of picture books and novels, and as I sang the songs that touched the depths of my soul. So, for years, I thought words changed and saved my life.

Words gave me power as I began writing. I wrote poetry to explore my emotions and express my feelings. I wrote fiction to escape my world.

But it wasn’t until my thirtieth year on this earth that I read the words that truly saved my life ̶ the Good News, the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” John 1:1

I met the Word ̶ Jesus, Emmanuel, God with us ̶ through the Gospel of John in 2001.

I got to know the Word a little bit better every time I opened up my Bible and prayerfully read and studied the God-breathed words of Scripture that the Holy Spirit used and still uses to transform me. And now, God has blessed me with the pleasure and privilege of sharing His truth and love with readers around the world through the words He empowers me to write.

To God be the glory, the honor, and the praise!

This is why I thank God for every book He used to prepare my heart for Him and for every ministry opportunity He provides so I can share Him with others, whether it’s by placing a Bible in someone’s hands or writing the words He uses to touch someone’s heart.

This is why I’m so excited about the 2023 Love Your Librarian Book Giveaway!

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As a child, I didn’t go to church. I knew God existed, but I had never even seen a real Bible until I stole my first Bible in 2001. (Don’t fret or judge. I paid for that Bible two years later, after I learned that there was a small fee required to replace the Bibles taken from the church.)

Now, as I look back on the books I read during my countless hours in libraries as a child, I can see how God used many of those books to prepare my heart to receive the Gospel. I can see how God used those reading adventures to equip me for a lifetime adventure of enjoying Bible reading as an adult.

Our libraries need books written with a Christian worldview and books written to point readers to a life-saving relationship with the Word ̶ Jesus!

Yes. Dr. Seuss ignited my love for poetry. Mercer Mayer and Beverly Cleary sparked my love for humor and storytelling. However, The Berenstain Bears, Where the Red Fern Grows, and The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe planted seeds of faith in my heart.

And this is why I thank God for every opportunity He gives me to write books for His glory, to support libraries, and to place Christian books on those library shelves and into the hands of young and older readers.

I would love to hear your stories about how God used children’s books and libraries to encourage you, comfort you, and draw you closer to Him during your childhood.

I would also like to invite you to join me in blessing your local public, church, school, or Free Little Library with16 Christian children’s books that honor God today!

I’m one of 11 Christian authors participating in the 2023 Love Your Librarians Book Giveaway on Instagram.

Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord!

To ENTER for your chance to have 16 of our Christian Children’s books donated and sent directly to your library, all you have to do is:

  1. FOLLOW ALL 11 participating Christian authors on Instagram.
  2. Write the NAME, CITY, and STATE of your favorite church, school, public, or Free Little library in the comment section under THE ORIGINAL POST ON INSTAGRAM (Click HERE).
  3. ASK OTHERS TO ENTER (following all giveaway rules) on behalf of your selected school, church, public, or free little library.
  4. TAG the teacher, school, church, or public library or the librarian so they can ask others to enter on their behalf.

We’ll announce the randomly selected library that will receive these 16 Christian books on February 14, 2023 by 10 am Pacific.

NOTE: The mailing address of the randomly selected library chosen to receive these 16 books MUST BE LOCATED IN THE CONTINENTAL U.S. to be eligible for this Love Your Librarian Book Giveaway, which is in no way sponsored, endorsed, administered by, or associated with Instagram or any other organization.

Thanks for joining the FUN and showing your love to our amazing librarians and the communities they serve!

I’m looking forward to hearing your stories about the wonderful ways God used libraries, books, and writing to encourage you, comfort you, embolden you, and prepare you during your childhood.

And I’m looking forward to growing closer to Jesus as we spread His Word together!

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I am including the list of the 11 Christian authors and the 16 books we’re donating for the 2023 Love Your Librarian Book Giveaway.

I’m adding our websites so you can partner with us in ministry by: praying for us, subscribing to our blogs, liking or following our social media pages, and supporting us by buying our books, reviewing our books, and sharing our books with others.

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Chosen and You Are by Emily Assell

You Come from Greatness by Sara Chinakwe

Lions to the Rescue and Mystery of Crooked Creek Road by Amanda Cleary Eastep

Different Like Me by Xochitl Dixon

Chasing God’s Glory and Cora Cooks Pancit by Dorina Gilmore-Young

Easter is Coming and God, I Feel Sad (with Michelle Nietert) by Tama Fortner

Bedtime in the Barnyard by Dandi Daley Mackall

God, I Feel Sad by Michell Nietert with Tama Fortner

Unbetrothed by Candice Pedraza Yamnitz

Her Story, Her Strength and God’s Love is Like Sunshine by Sarah Parker Rubio

God’s Beloved Community and Color-Courageous Discipleship by Michelle T. Sanchez

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FREE Praying Christian Women’s Online Conference AND Zoom Link for TODAY’S Live Zoom Book Launch Party

 

The enemy tried desperately to distract, discourage, and defeat me as I prepared my message for The Praying Christian Women’s Online Conference.
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I can hardly wait to share the empowering truths God began revealing as I cried out to Him when I couldn’t take one more step, after I realized I couldn’t WALK or STAND on my own in January 2022.
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Please join me for this sweet time of prayer, learning, and fellowship during The Praying Christian Writer’s Conference.

On DAY 2 of the conference, I’ll be sharing Fireproof Faith: Praying and Living in the Power of the Holy Spirit.

REGISTER TODAY with an easy 4-Step Registration Process!

You can enjoy the conference for FREE (see details about free access in the “4-Step Registration Process” below) OR you can order an ALL ACCESS PASS that gives you UNLIMITED ACCESS, so you can watch the messages at your own pace and multiple times. With the ALL ACCESS PASS, you can watch any or all of the messages whenever you need encouragement.

The Praying Christian Women’s Leadership Team is offering SPECIAL PRICING during the conference, January 23-25, 2023 (see details in the “4-Step Registration Process” below).

Please USE THE LINK that goes directly to MY REGISTRATION PAGE by using the QR CODE in the graphic I shared with this post OR by CLICKING HERE.

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4-Step Registration Process:

Step 1: Everyone must register for the FREE conference. Please use the QR Code I provided in the graphic with this post, which leads to MY REGISTRATION PAGE, or visit MY REGISTRATION PAGE by CLICKING HERE. You will have an opportunity to upgrade to the All Access Pass when you register.

Step 2: Check your inbox. The Praying Christian Women Leaders will confirm your registration, but you may need to check your junk or SPAM folder if you don’t see it right away. The Praying Christian Women Leaders will then e-mail you each morning of the conference (January 23rd, 24th and 25th) with the links to that day’s sessions, and again that evening with a recap. If you choose the All Access Pass, a link will be sent to you when the conference is over for lifetime access to all sessions.

Step 3: Enjoy the conference! Watch as many sessions as you’d like, all completely free within 24 hours of going live.

Step 4: Consider the All Access Pass if you don’t think you’ll have time to watch all of the sessions you want, or if you’d like to enjoy the conference all at once when you have a bigger chunk of time. With more than twenty speakers lined up, it might be hard to take it all in! The All Access Pass will be $49 for the duration of the conference, but after it’s over the price jumps to $79 so grab it sooner than later if you think you’ll want it!

SPECIAL THANKS: Thank you for using the QR Code I provided in the graphic with this post, which leads to MY REGISTRATION PAGE, or visiting MY REGISTRATION PAGE by CLICKING HERE when you register for this FREE Online Christian Women’s Prayer Conference. I hope you will enjoy the FREE conference. But I encourage you to join me in ordering the All Access Pass, so you can enjoy the conference at your own pace and refer back to any or all of the messages with the special UNLIMITED ALL ACCESS PASS.

If you have any technical difficulties or questions, now or after the conference, please contact The Praying Christian Women Leaders any time by emailing them at:  [email protected]

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I’m praying for you and PRAISING GOD as we step into 2023 with Spirit-empowered courage and confidence!
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To God be the glory, the honor, and the praise, praise, praise!

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I am so excited to invite you to a virtual book launch to celebrate the release of You Come from Greatness by Sara Chinakwe (chin-ah-kway).

Click here to join us LIVE TODAY Saturday, January 21, 2023 at 11 am Pacific Time.

“You Come from Greatness is a celebration of Black history, an anthem for future generations, and a reminder for young readers to embrace their God-given worth. You will follow in the footsteps of greatness, kings and queens, doctors and dancers, poets and inventors ̶ like them, you were born to shine.”

When I first read You Come from Greatness, I was in tears. This book is everything I was looking for when my sons were growing up! This is the endorsement and review I wrote after reading Sara’s book:

In You Come from Greatness, Sara Chinakwe’s poetic prose and Ken Daley’s vibrant illustrations celebrate some of the great Black men and women who made a difference in Black History . . . American History . . . or more accurately, World History. Though written first as an affirming love letter to empower Black readers, young and older, You Come from Greatness can encourage all readers to honor past and current Black leaders, while embracing their own power and purpose as God’s intentionally designed and diverse image-bearers. You Come from Greatness is a much-needed resource that can embolden world-changers, with their identity secured in Christ, for generations to come.

– Xochitl Dixon, Our Daily Bread writer and the author of the 2021 ECPA Christian Book Award Finalist, Different Like Me and Waiting for God: Trusting Daily in God’s Plan and Pace.

Please love your neighbors by ordering your copy of You Come from Greatness and extra copies to share as gifts and to donate to local libraries, schools, and churches TODAY, and please take a few moments to write a short review on Amazon. (CLICK HERE to order your copies of You Come from Greatness: A Celebration of Black History by Sara Chinakwe TODAY!)

The more reviews Sara has, the more Amazon will help her reach more readers with this beautiful message of hope that points to God and empowers readers to DREAM BIG and be all God created them to be.

You’re invited to join us for a LIVE Zoom Book Launch Party TODAY!

I’ll be serving as the moderator. We’ll have book giveaways, an exclusive Q&A with the author, and more.

Click HERE or see the Zoom Link information below this post to join us LIVE TODAY Saturday, January 21, 2023 at 11 am Pacific Time.

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Xochitl Dixon is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.
Topic: You Come from Greatness – LIVE Zoom Launch Party with Sara Chinakwe
Time: Jan 21, 2023 11 AM Pacific Time (US and Canada)
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 891 7234 1937
Passcode: 265089
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Find your local number: https://us06web.zoom.us/u/kcVdp5yli7
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Radical Forgiveness Begins with a Prayer AND a LIVE Zoom Book Launch Party Invitation

(Suggested Reading: Matthew 5:43-48, The Message)

My husband and I enjoyed a community event to honor the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on Monday. I’m smiling and praising God as I remember the beautifully diverse people surrounding us, standing-room-only.

As I reflected on the messages shared by the speakers, God brought to mind a woman who had sent me a private message chastising me over a year ago. She scolded me for using my writing platform to speak against systemic, institutional, and generational racism. I had responded with an invitation to pray and discuss these issues so we could better understand each other.

She then replied with a long email with a sharp and condescending tone, informing me of “all” my “wrong thinking.” She “didn’t mind me talking about celebrating diversity,” though she claimed “God doesn’t see color.” She said I needed to stop saying that the church should speak against systemic racism because “systemic racism isn’t a real thing.”

After all, she insisted, “racism ended with the Civil Rights Movement and everyone is treated the same and has equal opportunities in life now.” She ended her lesson with a list of a few famous African Americans who were “successful because they worked hard and had the same opportunities as everyone else,” which was her way of providing “proof that racism isn’t a problem now.”

When I first read her message, I got angry. My first impulse was to blast her in an email response and tell her how wrong she was about the things she claimed. I wanted to give her a point-by-point argument to prove she was wrong and I was right.

But the Holy Spirit stopped me in my tracks.

Instead, I called a friend who I knew would pray with me and offer wise counsel on how to deal with the situation.

After I read her the email, with tears flowing and my anger seething, I listened as she spoke wise words and sighed with relief as we prayed together. She recommended I ignore the email and pray for the woman but told me it was my decision to make as I prayed over the situation on my own.

After praying for days, I decided not to respond.

My words wouldn’t change the woman’s mind. She was convinced she was right, even though she was not a woman of color and could not possibly understand what she didn’t know or hadn’t experienced.

Maybe one day she would be open for a conversation, but my friend and I agreed that the woman’s tone and choice of words proved she was closed for discussions or learning opportunities at that time.

Besides, an email would not have been the best choice to communicate with her.

I thought my decision to pray for her and ignore her was wise, until I forgot to pray for her. Then, over a year later, I had to be in the same room with that woman during an event. As soon as I found out she would be attending the event, I started realizing that I had not completely forgiven the woman.

I asked God to forgive me and to help me forgive.

Then, I prayed He would bless that woman. Still, I didn’t really know if I’d really forgiven her as Christ had forgiven me . . . completely, unconditionally, and lovingly.

So, I kept on praying over the months I prepared for the trip, as I packed for the trip, as I traveled, as I got dressed for the first day of the event, as I entered the room, and as I walked up to her and said hello.

To my surprise, I felt relief, the peace of God, and an overwhelming sense of compassion toward the woman.

I continued praying this short blessing over her whenever I saw her: Lord, show her the limitless depth of Your love for her and help her love others as You love her.

I praised God when several of the speakers during our meeting spoke about the same things she had chastised me for sharing on my platform. I had no idea these topics would be on the agenda, but God did.

I prayed for her heart to be softened to the biblical truths being shared by others.

I also prayed God would soften my heart toward her and others who didn’t agree with me about these issues and any other beliefs or opinions I held, regardless of how right or biblical those beliefs and opinions.

As I prayed, the Holy Spirit led me to Jesus’ words:

“You’re familiar with the old written law, ‘Love your friend,’ and its unwritten companion, ‘Hate your enemy.’ I’m challenging that. I’m telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst.

When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the supple moves of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves.

This is what God does. He gives His best ̶ the sun to warm and the rain to nourish ̶ to everyone, regardless: the good and bad, the nice and nasty.

If all you do is love the loveable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that.

If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that.

In a word, what I’m saying is, Grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity.

Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.” (Matthew 5:43-48, The Message).

God is still working on me, even as I type these words.

But as I practice surrendering to the Holy Spirit’s transforming love, I refuse to allow the enemy to distract me from fulfilling the Great Commission (sharing God’s truth and love to the ends of the earth) and the Greatest Commandment (loving God and others, loving my neighbors as I love myself).

As I pray for our world and for me to follow the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s example of loving like Jesus, I have committed to loving God and others as I share His truth and love wherever He leads me.

To love like Jesus begins with a prayer of surrender, the resolve to forgive as He has forgiven me, and a desire to stand firm on the God-breathed words of Scripture while being faithfully obedient to His Word, which is only possible through the power of the Holy Spirit.

So, as I pray for others, as I pray God will continue transforming my heart and mind, I’m trying to follow God’s leading and make the world around me a little better.

How?

I’m speaking against injustice and doing my part to reveal that, according to the Bible, systemic, institutional, and generational racism are sins that the enemy wants to use to divide and defeat us.

I’m sharing my devotional, Waiting for God: Trusting Daily in God’s Plan and Pace, with those who are weary as they trust God to work in and through their lives each day.

I’m sharing my children’s picture book, Different Like Me, now available in Spanish Diferente como yo, to help children (and some adults) celebrate our differences and our sameness as God’s beautifully and intentionally diverse and purposefully connected people.

I’ve completed two more picture books, scheduled to release in 2024, that equip and encourage readers to nurture deeper relationships with God and others while celebrating, embracing, and advocating for diversity and inclusion. Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord! I can hardly wait to share more about these books! To God be the glory!

I’m using my platform as an author and speaker to promote peace and love while working toward creating safe spaces to experience a taste of the world the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke of in his speeches, specifically “I Have a Dream.”

I’m being intentional about lifting other “Kingdom Subjects” up in Christ’s love, supporting them as God uses them for His glory.

And I am praying for you, our world, and for my heart so we can be rooted in God’s Word while growing in love with God’s beautifully diverse and purposefully connected people!

As Alan and I settle into our new community, we’re excited to see what God has in store for us.

He was recently asked to join the Solano County Black Chamber of Commerce. We’re praying he can use his God-given gifts to promote God-honoring changes in our community. Thank You, Lord!

Because we live in a world that hates God, more wounds will be inflicted, more conversations will be uncomfortable, and those lines of division will be drawn in hardened concrete instead of sand.

But, as always, love will prevail!

When I thought about that woman today after the event that honored Dr. King’s life, I thought about Dr. King’s sacrifices and his love for all people, including those who hated him. I also thought about Jesus’ sacrifices and His love for all people, including those who hated Him.

As I type these words, I am praying for the woman in the story above, any other person who has offended and hurt me in the past, and anyone who is going to offend and hurt me in the future. I am asking the Lord to help me release my offenders into His loving and merciful hands. I’m asking Him to help me to live with a heart committed to radical forgiveness, so I can forgive others as Jesus has radically forgiven me.

Radical forgiveness starts with a prayer, just like the prayer Jesus said while on the cross at Calvary.

As we pray over our current relationships and dig deeper into Scripture, we can ask the Holy Spirit to help us submit to His loving and wise counsel and empower us to rely on His life-transforming love and limitless wisdom and power.

I look forward to hearing your stories of how God is blessing you with freedom and peace, as we commit to loving like Jesus by forgiving as He forgave us!

Holy Spirit, thanks for opening our eyes to see when we’re blinded by unforgiveness. Please forgive us for not trusting You to be judge according to Your perfect will and to extend mercy whenever You want to extend mercy. Give us hearts that overflow with Your love, the love that the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. exemplified through his life, and the love his family continues to exemplify, as we work together to bring about the changes necessary for Dr. King’s dream to become a reality.

Please remind us that You were intentional when You created Your image-bearers to be diverse and to live and love within diverse communities. Please eradicate racism from this world and from our hearts, Lord. Help us to be willing to listen to one another so we can learn from one another so we can love one another the way You love us . . . selflessly, unconditionally, and intentionally.

Please wrap us in Your supernatural peace as we walk in the freedom and joy of love, which defeats the lover of hate and dissension, the devil, and begins with our commitment to forgive as we’ve been forgiven. In Jesus’s name, Amen.

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I am so excited to invite you to a virtual book launch to celebrate the release of You Come from Greatness by Sara Chinakwe (chin-ah-kway).

You Come from Greatness is a celebration of Black history, an anthem for future generations, and a reminder for young readers to embrace their God-given worth. You will follow in the footsteps of greatness, kings and queens, doctors and dancers, poets and inventors ̶ like them, you were born to shine.”

When I first read You Come from Greatness, I was in tears. This book is everything I was looking for when my sons were growing up! This is the endorsement and review I wrote after reading Sara’s book:

In You Come from Greatness, Sara Chinakwe’s poetic prose and Ken Daley’s vibrant illustrations celebrate some of the great Black men and women who made a difference in Black History . . . American History . . . or more accurately, World History. Though written first as an affirming love letter to empower Black readers, young and older, You Come from Greatness can encourage all readers to honor past and current Black leaders, while embracing their own power and purpose as God’s intentionally designed and diverse image-bearers. You Come from Greatness is a much-needed resource that can embolden world-changers, with their identity secured in Christ, for generations to come.

– Xochitl Dixon, Our Daily Bread writer and the author of the 2021 ECPA Christian Book Award Finalist, Different Like Me and Waiting for God: Trusting Daily in God’s Plan and Pace.

Please love your neighbors by ordering your copy of You Come from Greatness and extra copies to share as gifts and to donate to local libraries, schools, and churches TODAY, and please take a few moments to write a short review on Amazon.

The more reviews Sara has, the more Amazon will help her reach more readers with this beautiful message of hope that points to God and empowers readers to DREAM BIG and be all God created them to be.

You’re invited to join us for a LIVE Zoom Book Launch Party. I’ll be serving as the moderator. We’ll have book giveaways, an exclusive Q&A with the author, and more!

Click here to join us on Saturday, January 21, 2023 at 11 am Pacific Time. 

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You can learn more about Sara and connect with her on her website at www.sarachinakwe.com today.

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To order your copies of You Come from Greatness by Sara Chinakwe, please click here!

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Xochitl Dixon is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.
Topic: You Come from Greatness – LIVE Zoom Launch Party with Sara Chinakwe
Time: Jan 21, 2023 10:45 AM Pacific Time (US and Canada)
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 891 7234 1937
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Ten Blessings You’ll Find at the End of Your Rope – AND – Book Launch News

Suggested Reading: Matthew 5:1-12 (The Message)

During a conversation at a local coffee shop, my friend shared that she’d been struggling with pain after an injury that required months of physical therapy.

“I’m sorry,” I said. “I’ll pray for you.”

“I know I’m going to get better,” she said. “But I don’t know how much longer I can take the pain.” She sighed heavily as she stirred a packet of sugar into her coffee cup. “How do you do it?”

“Do what?”

“How do you stay happy? How do you stay strong? Why aren’t you falling apart?”

I shook my head as I gently slapped my hands, palms down, on the table. “You haven’t read my book yet, have you?”

She raised her eyebrows and smirked as she tilted her head. “Are you really plugging your book now, when I’m losing it . . . right in front of your face?”

I laughed, leaning back into my chair. “No,” I said, lifting my cup of coffee in the cheers-position. “But if you had read my book, you would know that I do fall apart. I call those moments my wah-baby-meltdowns. And I don’t ‘stay happy’ or ‘stay strong.” The only way I make it through each day is by giving up.”

She picked at her blueberry muffin, sniffed, and narrowed her eyes. “That makes no sense.”

I exhaled. “When I say ‘giving up,’ I mean surrendering to the Holy Spirit.”

She wrapped both hands around her drink container. “What?”

“I mean refusing to try to do what God never asked me to do. When I quit striving to do the Holy Spirit’s job, I’m ready to invite Him to do what He promised.”

The truth lingered in the silence between us.

I reached across the tables, nodding an invitation to place her hands in mine. “Let’s pray.”

We didn’t care who was listening as we approached God’s throne of grace from our small corner table in that crowded coffee shop. After I whispered a grateful Amen, I shared some of the ways God helped me through one of the toughest seasons in my healing journey ̶ the months during which He empowered me to write Waiting for God.

My friend stood to give me a gentle hug. “Okay,” she said, “maybe I need to order your book.”

“Maybe?”

We enjoyed the rest of our visit wrapped in God’s peace.

A few months later, my friend called to let me know that she has completed her physical therapy and was no longer struggling with daily pain. She committed to praying for me regularly. “I still don’t know how you do it,” she said.

“You still haven’t read my book, have you?”

She laughed. “You just don’t give up, do you?”

“Wrong again,” I said. “I give up daily, Sis. And the Holy Spirit never lets me down.”

After we prayed, I hung up the phone. Callie, my service dog, approached me with her tail wagging low. She nudged my hand with her snout and looked at me with her droopy hound-eyes. When I smiled, she placed her front paws on the edge of my seat and leaned in for a hug.

I wiped away the tears God had used to refresh my weary spirit.

Though my healing journey remains hard and often feels overwhelming and unending, I still believe that giving up and relying on the Holy Spirit is the best answer.

This year, as I read the Bible in a year with the Our Daily Bread reading schedule, I’m enjoying meeting God daily using The NIV and The Message Parallel Study Bible. (More details on how you can join me below.)

 

In Matthew 5:1-12, I discovered ten blessings we can find when we’re worn out and whipped up and barely hanging on to the end of our ropes. Those blessings are only attainable when we give up and invite the Holy Spirit to do what only He can do.

Jesus noticed those who committed to walking with Him, especially when the path of faith required uphill and undeniably hard paths. Scripture says that Jesus “sat down and taught his climbing companions” what is now known as the Beatitudes.

As I listened to the familiar teaching in this unfamiliar translation, the Holy Spirit affirmed these blessings:

  1. ‘You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.”

When we realize we can’t go on or we have nothing left to offer, we’re ready to receive God as our only hope. This position of submission prepares us to step aside, to stop striving, to stop trying to do God’s job so we can experience the wonderful things God has already planned for us.

  1. “You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.”

Instead of hanging on the false hope of self-help or clinging to things we have falsely believed would fulfill us and keep us on steady ground, we can let go and trust God to hold us close. As we free-fall by faith, God will remind us why we need to remember that He is always with us, always working, always enough, and always all we need.

  1. “You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are ̶ no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.”

Though we should enjoy growing, serving the Lord with excellence, and using the gifts He’s entrusted to us for His glory, the idolatry of self-reliance and self-worship can sneak up on us. Being self-focused leads us into attitudes that breed divisive competition and self-defeating comparison. With our value secured in Christ alone, we can experience complete and lasting contentment.

  1. “You’re blessed when you care. At the moment of being ‘care-full,’ you find yourselves cared for.”

Though self-care is biblical and important, the purpose of biblical self-care is to be replenished by the Holy Spirit so we can serve Him and others more and more effectively. When we’re generous in loving others, we’ll discover that God always meets our needs and often blesses us more through the moments we thought He was using us to bless others.

  1. “You’re blessed when you get your inside world ̶ your mind and heart ̶ put right. Then you can see God in the outside world.”

Realizing the depth of our depravity helps us recognize the depth of our endless need to depend on God’s life-transforming love and mercy. As the Holy Spirit makes us more like Jesus, from the inside out, He gives us an eternal perspective. We can see God’s fingerprints in the world. We can praise Him as we acknowledge His continual work in the small miracles we once considered ordinary moments in this extraordinary God-given gift we call life.

  1. “You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family.”

When we discover the beautiful complexity of God’s intentional design for the interdependence of His image-bearers, we can embrace our purpose as one uniquely created and unconditionally loved member of the Body of Christ. As the Holy Spirit empowers us to live like we truly believe we are better together, we can become peacemakers devoted to God’s purpose. With our confidence rooted in Christ, the Holy Spirit empowers us to value of each person God made as we celebrate our connectedness in His Kingdom-Mission.

  1. “You’re blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God’s kingdom.”

As Believers in Jesus surrender to the Holy Spirit, we begin to look like Jesus, love like Jesus, and live for Jesus. As He affirms His life-changing love for us, He will change the desires of our hearts and align our wills with His. He deepens our devotion to Him and His purposes, so we can stand firm on His infallible and unchanging Word. Though those who oppose and reject Jesus will oppose and reject us, we will continue to speak His truth with Spirit-empowered boldness and fierce faith.

  1. “Not only that ̶ count yourselves blessed every time people put you down or throw you out or speak lies about you to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable. You can be glad when that happens ̶ give a cheer, even! ̶ for though they don’t like it, I do!”

Our Kingdom-Purpose reaches beyond our personal space or comfort. We can rejoice in the victory we know Christ has already won, as He empowers us to love those who mock, reject, or deny Him. When we embrace Jesus’ love for us, we can live to express our love for Jesus. The cost of discipleship ̶ the prices we pay for following Him ̶ is higher than we dreamed possible but worth every bit of struggle as we celebrate the ones who step out of the darkness and into God’s glorious light.

  1. “And all heaven applauds.”

As long as there are people in this world who have not heard the Gospel and accepted Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior, the Holy Spirit will equip us to fulfill the Great Commission and the Greatest Commandment. When we share God’s truth and love to the ends of the earth, the cheers from heaven will drown out the jeers from those who reject Jesus. We can praise God for loving and saving us, but we can’t stop sharing the Gospel or praying for those who don’t know Jesus’ life-transforming truth and love intimately.

  1. “And know that you are in good company. My prophets and witnesses have always gotten into this kind of trouble.”

Believers in Jesus who came before us, stand with us, and are being prepared to join our faith-walk are intertwined with one another. We thrive when we realize we are always at the end of our ropes, because we can do nothing without Jesus. We need Him and each other as we move forward by faith, in victory, embracing out dependence on the Holy Spirit with joyful shouts of praise.

To God be the glory, the honor, and the praise, praise, praise!

(Scripture in bold, Matthew 5:1-12, The Message)

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Loving Savior of the World, thank You for always being with us, always working, and always being all we need. Please make us more like You so we can love like You. Empower us to surrender to the work of the Holy Spirit, one breath at a time, as we fulfill the Great Commission and the Greatest Commandment. Please give us opportunities to share Your truth and love to the ends of the earth, proclaiming the Gospel and praising Jesus as Lord wherever You lead us. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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To join me in reading God’s Word every day, using the Our Daily Bread Bible in a Year Reading Schedule, please subscribe to receive the daily devotions from Our Daily Bread.

The daily Bible reading is below each devotion, which you can choose to receive via email or the Our Daily Bread app. (To subscribe to Our Daily Bread, Click here!)

I plan to post a reflection or a prayer every week on my blog. If you are not a member of my blog family yet, please subscribe today.

I have been struggling with increased pain and fatigue, so please pray for me and extend me a bit of grace if am not able to post weekly on this blog. God has been blessing me with all I need to complete the wonderful writing and speaking ministry opportunities He’s been sending my way. Your prayers have been priceless gifts!

I am reading the daily Scriptures, following the Our Daily Bread Bible in a Year reading schedule. I am also praying for those of you who are joining me.

If you are reading this post in your email, please click the title and visit my blog to make a comment under this post. DO NOT REPLY TO THIS EMAIL.

I’m looking forward to being rooted in God’s Word and growing with God’s people. That means YOU!

Thanks for being a member of my blog family and for supporting Callie the Service Dog and me as we serve the Lord together.

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You Come from Greatness by Sara Chinakwe releases on January 17, 2023, BUT you can PRE-ORDER YOUR COPIES TODAY and help support one of my favorite children’s picture book authors! Stay tuned for more details about Sara’s book launch party and special book giveaways!

I met Sara Chinakwe during an online workshop for Christian writers. When she told me about her book, I said, “We have to be friends!”

It is my pleasure and privilege to introduce you to my sister in Christ and fellow author, Sara Chinakwe, as we celebrate the release of her first children’s picture book, You Come from Greatness.

Sara is a wife and mother, life-long learner and educator found her passion in early childhood education. A God-breathed vision led Sara to start writing professionally. She started Faithful Life Ministries to help women pursue their Godly purpose. She has created several self-published devotionals and resources to help women and children grow in Christ. You can connect with her on Facebook, Instagram, and on her website.

In You Come from Greatness, a young boy learns that he is walking in the footsteps of greatness through a vibrant, lyrical retelling of Black history—both a love letter to Black children and an anthem empowering them to know their God-given worth.

You Come from Greatness celebrates family and historical change makers and status shakers, from inventors, engineers, astronomers, and doctors to philosophers, storytellers, and world leaders. Empowering readers to step into their own God-given greatness, each page of poetic prose and vibrant illustrations honors the legacy and impact of Black ancestors whose determination, strength, dedication, creativity, and leadership contributed to making the world better.

The twenty short biographies at the end of You Come from Greatness can be used in curriculum that prioritizes the value of diversity and inclusion.

I am so excited about this beautiful children’s picture book. I have multiple copies on the way, one for my personal library and two for my grandbabies.

Please help me support Sara by ordering your copy of You Come from Greatness and a few extra copies to share as gifts today!

Thanks for celebrating diversity and inclusion as we show the world that representation matters in God’s beautifully and intentionally diverse Kingdom.

To God be the glory, the honor, and the praise!

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Thanks for all of you who have been supporting the ministry God has entrusted to me by loving your neighbors and ordering extra copies of Different Like Me, Diferente como yo, and Waiting for God: Trusting Daily in God’s Plan and Pace.

Your prayers and encouragement are priceless gifts that God uses to help me press on by faith, especially when I’m struggling with pain and fatigue management. I can do nothing without God or your ongoing prayers, encouragement, and support.

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SHOUT-OUT to those of you who have written reviews on Amazon.

Every review makes a difference and helps Amazon know that they need to share my books with more readers. So when you write a review, you’re helping me share God’s truth and love to the ends of the earth. To God be the glory!

We need more current reviews, so if you haven’t yet, please take a moment to write a review on Amazon.

You are making a difference!

I thank God for you and am praying for you as I type these words.

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Give the Gift of Radical Forgiveness for Christmas and a Mega-Bundle Book Giveaway!

(Suggested Reading: Luke 23:32-43)

As Christmas approaches, some of us are looking forward to holiday gatherings and some of us wish we could avoid folks in our inner circle.

Even as lights twinkle and carolers sing, some people are wrestling with unresolved conflicts. Some have given up on relationships, licking old wounds and straining their backs to adjust their grudge-sacks.

The enemy doesn’t have to work hard to divide God’s people when we do most of the legwork for him.

It is healthy to create boundaries. It’s important to accept that some relationships are not going to be . . . or should not be . . . restored. But unforgiveness disrupts peace, diminishes joy, and places us in disobedience to God.

So, how are we supposed to get right with God and celebrate Christmas if we’re struggling with unforgiveness?

I had to learn the hard way.

A few years ago, at different times in the same year, two women ended their friendship with me without giving me reasons. Though I asked them several times to tell me what I’d done to make them angry enough to end our friendship, I still have no clue.

As I grieved both friendships, I asked God to reveal what I’d done.

Through mutual friends, I found out both women had gossiped about me. I didn’t know what they said, but it didn’t matter. In that moment, I knew they weren’t really my friends.

I decided to pray for them and give them space since we didn’t have to run in the same circles very often.

But when I saw both of them at an event, I started getting mad again. That’s when God reminded me that my unforgiveness impacted my relationship with Him more than anyone else.

I found a quiet place on campus to pray for them and release them into God’s hands. I kept on praying blessings over them, every time I saw them.

Eventually, the Holy Spirit freed me from the bondage of my unforgiveness.

How did I know I was freed?

Whenever I saw those women, I felt peace and was able to be kind . . . even when they weren’t kind in return.

That freedom and peace allowed me to be ready when God blessed me with some unexpected ministry opportunities.

Though losing those friends hurt my heart, forgiving them allowed me to move forward and meet other friends as I stepped into those new ministry opportunities God provided. He’s still bringing new people into my life and blessing me with more ministry opportunities. He’s also helping me appreciate and nurture healthier relationships with old and new friends who want to be in my life.

BUT extending forgiveness, especially when the offender is not repentant, is hard . . . really hard!

It’s easy to love kind neighbors, the neighbors who agree with us, encourage us, and understand us. Who wouldn’t love neighbors who ask for forgiveness when they’re wrong and who are honest about their feelings so we can seek forgiveness when we’ve offended them?

But Jesus calls us to love all of our neighbors, including the ones who need the most grace, the ones who are as depraved and dependent on God’s mercy as we are.

No matter how many times we cry out to God, trying to justify the list of people we’ve tucked in the dark corners of our unforgiving hearts, the words He gave us in Scripture don’t change.

“What do You want me to do, Lord?”

Forgive.

But I’m angry.

Forgive.

But I’m tired of forgiving when there seems to be no remorse.

Forgive.

But I’m still hurt.

Forgive.

But I’m afraid to get hurt again.

Forgive.

In Ephesians 4, God commands us to forgive as we’ve been forgiven (v. 32).

While Jesus hung on the cross, He willingly submitted to the nails that pierced His hands and feet. He paid the insurmountable debt our wickedness earned.

During Christ’s earthly ministry, He had countless reasons to hold grudges, to become bitter, to seek revenge, to refuse to forgive . . . especially when He chose to endure the suffering on the cross.

But as He looked at the people who cheered for His execution‒those who mocked Him without remorse or repentance‒Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34, NIV).

The people Jesus asked the Father to forgive didn’t admit their wrongs or apologize.

Still, Jesus forgave.

In Total Forgiveness, R.T. Kendall states that “[asking] the Father to forgive them showed that not only had [Jesus] forgiven them and released them from their guilt, but also that He asked His Father not to punish them or take revenge on them . . .” (p. 3).

Our loving Savior intended on offering us radical forgiveness before He left His heavenly throne, put on flesh, and allowed Himself to be wrapped in swaddling cloth and placed in a manger.

When Jesus hung on the cross, bruised and bloody, He willingly paid the price for my sins . . . for your sins . . . before we could even think of repenting . . . before we even realized our need for repentance.

When we think of Jesus in the manger, we cannot forget the cost of the cross.

Jesus demonstrated selfless love and forgiveness on that cross and asks us to do the same when we’re struggling to forgive others.

So this year, would you join me in asking God to help us give the gift of radical forgiveness for Christmas?

By offering radical forgiveness, we’re not condoning, minimizing, or even forgetting an offense. God is righteous and just. He can be trusted to handle every situation.

In Scripture, He promises that we will all be held accountable for our actions, our words, and our attitudes. But He is also He full of compassion.

God understands our need to process and heal, but He still asks us to forgive so we can be in right relationship with Him.

He knows when it’s time to take someone out of our lives, most of the time for reasons we may not know or understand on this side of eternity.

He also knows what it will take to build a better relationship after we face the conflict and trust Him to heal the rifts, beginning with our willingness to obey His command to forgive as He has forgiven us.

Forgiveness–placing the offense and the offender into God’s trustworthy hands–draws us closer to God and frees us from carrying burdens that don’t belong to us.

We can trust Him to work in and through their lives as He continues working in and through our lives.

We can choose victorious freedom through right relationships with God and others, instead of insisting on being right, instead of gloating in someone else’s remorsefulness, instead of demanding apologies before forgiving.

As imperfect humans in desperate need of our Savior and Redeemer Jesus Christ, we will need to forgive others and ask for forgiveness all the days of our lives.

Radical forgiveness requires an ongoing commitment to surrender to the Holy Spirit, but begins with the choice to love Jesus and others like Jesus loves us.

Will you give the gift of radical forgiveness for Christmas this year?

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Lord, thank You for forgiving us and for empowering us to forgive. Please prepare our hearts to receive and submit to Your truth and love. Show us our wickedness and lead us into the way everlasting (Psalm 139:23-24). Help us recognize, confess, repent, and turn away from our sins. Even if the restoration of a relationship isn’t possible, help us forgive others as You’ve forgiven us so that we can experience the peace and freedom of radical forgiveness. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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I would love to hear your story in the comment section below. I’m praying for us!

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BOOK GIVEAWAY!

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I’m one of 16 Christian authors participating in the 2022 Giving Hope for the Holidays Mega-Bundle Book Giveaway!

To ENTER for your chance to receive these 25 Hope-Giving Books, please visit my Instagram page today.

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Here is the list of the 16 authors AND the 25 books we’re giving away:

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You Are: Speaking God’s Word Over Your Children and Chosen: Claiming Your Kingdom Purpose, board books by Emily Assell, founder of Generation Claimed at @generationclaimed

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HUES of You: An Activity Book for Learning About the Skin You are In by Dr. Lucretia Berry, founder of Brownicity at @lucretiaberry

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Jack vs the Tornado and The Hunt for Fang, middle grade novels by Amanda Cleary Eastep at @book_leaves

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Different Like Me, a 2021 ECPA Christian Children’s Picture Book Finalist, and Waiting for God: Trusting Daily in God’s Plan and Pace, a 31-day devotional by Xochitl Dixon at @xochitl.e.dixon

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Simply Christmas: A Busy Mom’s Guide to Reclaiming the Peace of the Holidays, a devotional by Tama Fortner at @tamafortnerbooks

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Cora Cooks Pancit, a children’s picture book, and Walk, Run, Soar: A 52-Week Running Devotional by Dorina Gilmore-Young and Shawn Young at @dorinagilmore

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TAMAR: Rediscovering the God Who Redeems Me, a Bible Study by Shadia Hrichi at @shadiahrichi

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Sweet Tea for the Soul: Down-Home Devotions to Comfort the Heart (Sequel to From Grits to Grace), a devotional by Linda Kozar at @lindakozar

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The Complete Guide to the Prayers of Jesus: What Jesus Prayed and How It Will Change Your Life Today, a nonfiction book by Janet McHenry at @janetmchenry

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Far from Home: Discovering Your Identity as Foreigners on Earth, a nonfiction book by Mabel Ninan at @mabel_ninan

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Navigating the Blues: Where to Turn When Worry, Anxiety, or Depression Steals Your Hope, a 90-day devotional by Katara Patton at @katarawp **Scheduled for release on January 3, 2023.**

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Walking in Tall Weeds and A Long Time Comin’, Contemporary Southern fiction by Robin W. Pearson at @robinwpearson

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God’s Beloved Community (Children’s Picture Book), and Color-Courageous Discipleship (Discipleship for Adults), and Color-Courageous Discipleship Student Edition (Discipleship for Youth/Teens) by Michelle Sanchez at @michelle_t_sanchez

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5-Minute Devotions for Teens: A Guide to God and Mental Health and Restore My Soul: The Power and Promise of 30 Psalms by Laura Smith at @laurasmithauthor

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This Life We Share: 52 Reflections on Journeying Well with God and Others and Life is Sweet, Y’all: Wit and Wisdom with a Side of Sass (inspirational gift book with southern humor and recipes) by Maggie Wallem Rowe at @maggiewallemrowe

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Brown Baby Jesus, a children’s picture book by Dorena Williamson at @dorenawilliamson

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On Monday, December 19, 2022 at 8 am Pacific, we’ll announce the randomly selected recipient of these 25 Christian books on Instagram.

TO BE ELIGIBLE TO ENTER this mega-bundle book giveaway, you MUST LIVE IN the Continental U.S.

The 2022 Giving Hope for the Holidays Mega-Bundle Book Giveaway is in no way sponsored, endorsed, administered by, or associated with Instagram or any other organization.

Thanks for joining the FUN!

Merry Christmas!

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Can I walk by faith when I’m running on fumes? (Great News & Special Event)

Suggested Reading: 2 Corinthians 4:1-18

Some of you noticed I’ve been MIA (Missing in Action) ever since I posted “Can I Be Sad and Still Have Strong Faith?” on March 2, 2022. Thanks to those who reached out to check on me.

I’m back! Praise the Lord! I can hardly wait to share all that God has been doing in what looked like my stillness or absence. Hallelujah!

Over the last seven months, God blessed me with nine incredible ministry opportunities that have kept me busy, along with my monthly contributions to Our Daily Bread.

  1. I was invited to join a diverse team contributing to a brand-new The Message Devotional Bible for women.
  2. My first children’s picture book, the 2021 ECPA Children’s Book Finalist Different Like Me, is now available in Spanish, Dutch, and Simplified Chinese.
  3. In 2024, WaterBrook & Multnomah Kids will be releasing TWO of my children’s picture books that, like Different Like Me, celebrate diversity and inclusion through representation.
  4. I’ll be hosting a new series and sharing interviews with some of my favorite Christian authors on my Pause for Prayer YouTube channel, starting Sunday, November 13, 2022. Subscribe to my blog and order your copies of Waiting for God: Trusting Daily in God’s Plan and Pace.
  5. I’ve been invited to join the diverse group of women contributing to the God Hears Her Blog and have devotions included in God Hears Her (2017), God Sees Her (2020 ), and God Loves Her (2022).
  6. I signed the contract with Our Daily Bread Publishing for my second devotional, which will release in 2024. No spoilers!
  7. I’ve been invited to write a few extra articles for Our Daily Bread special editions, including a book on Ecclesiastes for women.

8 & 9 are secret projects that God entrusted to me. I’m still working, praising God, and praying for readers as He leads me on these incredible adventures. To God be the glory, the honor, and the praise!

If you’re connected with me on Instagram or Facebook, you may know that I’ve had a few health setbacks that have limited my mobility more and increased my chronic pain and fatigue.

My husband, who serves as my caregiver, has also had a few unexpected health issues. And Callie the Service Dog has had two operations. By God’s grace, her tests came back cancer free.

Our transition from Wisconsin back to California in September 2020 has been difficult, but we’ve seen God working in amazing ways through the trials on this side of eternity. Hallelujah!

We’re in our new home, a miracle story I’ll be sharing in an upcoming devotional. Oh, I hope you’re ready to praise God!

Our son Xavier got married and had a beautiful baby boy this year! My stepson, AJ, is engaged to a young lady with three lovely girls. They had a son together. So, that means I’m a grandma to five! My grandbabies call me Lolli and my husband Pops.

To God be the glory, the honor, and the praise, praise, praise!

With all of this going on, I’ve kept on writing and making deadlines through the power of the Holy Spirit.

My awesome editors extended grace when needed, too. But over the last week, I’ve been struggling. I knew I had work to do, but I couldn’t get up from the sofa. I didn’t want to get up. I didn’t want to do anything. I felt . . . empty.

I couldn’t deny my physical, emotional, or mental weakness. As I asked God what He wanted me to share, besides giving an update to explain where I’ve been since March, He led me to the following verse:

“Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart.” 2 Corinthians 4:1

As the pain and fatigue increased, God nudged me deeper into His Word to consider what came before and after that “Therefore” in verse 1.

“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom” (2 Corinthians 3:17). Amid that freedom, the Holy Spirit transforms us to reflect the image of Christ (v. 18). God expects us to fulfill the great commission and greatest commandment in different ways, using the variety of gifts He’s entrusted to each of us. However, God has never said we need to be strong enough on our own.

True freedom and strength requires submission to the Holy Spirit, who is always working to make us more like Jesus.

After we’ve “renounced,” or confessed, our “secret and shameful ways,” aka our sins (v. 2), we can stand firm in the freedom of Christ that is only possible when we build on God’s infallible truth and live in surrender to His Holy Spirit.

“For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us” (2 Corinthians 4:6-7, NIV, emphasis mine).

The treasure, the light of the gospel, is the Good News that we’re commissioned to share to the ends of the earth, the message of Jesus that changes lives through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Yes, the Holy Spirit dwells in us so we can shine for Jesus! So why would Paul compare our earthly bodies to jars of clay that were common, of minimal value, and easily broken into useless pieces? Because he is affirming where we derive our strength. In our self-centered pride and fear, we often hinder the Holy Spirit from working by claiming we just need a little help from Him instead of admitting we can do nothing without Him.

God knows we’ll be stretched to our limits and acknowledges the sufficiency of His presence and power.

We will be “hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed” (vv. 8-9). The tension of surrendering and accepting God’s grace never ceases (vv. 10-14).

All this if for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God” (v. 15).

It’s all about Jesus and sharing His Good News as we love God and each other! Hallelujah!

“Therefore, we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day” (v. 16).

Our weakness doesn’t surprise God or make us ineffective in His Kingdom.

Rather, when we embrace that weakness, we’re ready to admit we need God to be our everything. When we can’t get up, when we can’t handle one more thing, when we can’t even imagine taking one more step . . . that moment is when we can experience the promised freedom of surrender to the Holy Spirit.

“For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (vv. 17-18).

Even the strongest believer is limited by human frailty.

Before we’re running on fumes, God invites us to place our trust in Him alone.

We can’t, BUT by God’s mercy and faithful goodness He continually affirms that He can, He always could, He always has and He always will.

“Therefore, in order to keep me from being conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in my weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:7-10, NIV, emphasis mine)

Hallelujah!

Holy Spirit, please empower us to surrender to You so that we can experience the freedom of total reliance on You today and every day. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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SPECIAL EVENT

I’ll be joining over 40 authors at the Bridgeway Church Pop-Up Book Fair on November 18, 2022 at 5-9 pm at Bridgeway Christian Church, 8150 Industrial Blvd., Roseville, CA 95678. For more information, please click here.

I’ll be selling and signing copies of Different Like Me, Diferente como yo, and Waiting for God: Trusting Daily in God’s Plan and Pace.

I’ll be doing a special reading with Callie the Service Dog and will have lots of exclusive giveaways at my table. I look forward to seeing you there! To check out my Special Event Author Page with details about prices and giveaways, please click here.

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Can I Be Sad and Still Have Strong Faith?

I’ve lost count of the days I sat alone, sometimes laid up in bed struggling with pain management and sometimes wrestling with guilt because fatigue sucked up more than half of my day. No one heard my sobs, except God and my service dog who tried her best to lick away the problem she didn’t understand. I shared my one-and-done work related post, so one missed me on social media.

Then, I wept.

Embracing the sadness, I surrendered to the tears. But why was I sad? I’ve struggled with depression in the past, triggered by a hostile work environment. These tears felt different, refreshing in a way. Still, I had no idea how to explain why I was experiencing this sadness.

Sure, my road is tougher than I would like it to be. But God has also blessed me with so many reasons to be grateful every day. I enjoy a full workload and mean every word I type as I invite others to join me in praising Him. So, why did I need to cry alone?

I didn’t have an answer, so I simply allowed my feelings to flow.

Some folks insist that everyone needs a good cry. I believe that statement. But for some reason, I knew these tears meant more than an overflow of feelings. As I sat in the quiet room, stroking my service dog’s soft fur, I thanked God.

The ministry of tears had once again brought me to the foot of the cross, eyes gazing at the unchanging truth that kept me rooted in faith.

I couldn’t share those tears. I had to let them finish their work of cleansing my weary soul, emptying my aching heart, clearing my jumbled mind. When the streaks of salty woes eased to sniffles, peace pressed into me, first in my chest then rolling over my shoulders and off my back as I exhaled.

Can I be sad and still have strong faith?

I used to struggle with that question. I’d always been quick to feel, open to sharing with transparency and boasting in my weaknesses while proclaiming the strength of Christ alone. Was I wrong? Did my easy weeping reveal a weak spot in my faith?

I’ve been told that people with strong faith can’t be sad because their hope is in Christ. I’ve been told that my faith is weak, that I don’t want to be healed, that I don’t believe God can heal, because I’m still battling chronic pain and fatigue. But my walk with Jesus and my sacred strolls through the Bible have proven those claims false.

As I wept today, for no particular reason, I looked to the psalms for answers and found a rock-solid foundation of hope.

I could hear the psalmist David sighing as he began his prayer with confident surrender.

“Answer me when I call to you, O God who declares me innocent. Free me from my troubles. Have mercy on me and hear my prayer.” (Psalm 4:1)

David turned his words toward his offenders then announced what He could depend on with a shoulders-back and head-raised proclamation of faith.

“You can be sure of this: The LORD set apart the godly for himself. The LORD will answer when I call.” (Psalm 4:3)

Those are not the words of a doubting sinner. Those are the words of a victorious king reliant on the King of Kings.

Turning back to listeners, David encourages obedience and trust in the Lord before interceding in prayer then intimately speaking to God regarding his personal testimony without missing a breath.

“Let your face smile on us, LORD. You have given me greater joy than those who have abundant harvests of grain and new wine.” (Psalm 4:6-7)

David acknowledges God’s ability to meet His needs while he is still in need.

His faith shines with a bold assurance in God’s promised provision. But it’s clear that David is still suffering. I can imagine his head bowed because I bow my head as I pray with David.

“In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, O LORD, will keep me safe.” (Psalm 4:8, emphasis mine)

As I look around me, I see suffering that is hard to hide and suffering hidden behind a smile and a dismissive “I’m fine.” I’ve been guilty of the latter, wanting to protect God’s reputation by pretending everything was good in my life.

Now, I know better because I know God better.

Can I be sad and still have strong faith?

The psalmists would answer yes and prove their stance with their songs of praise and lament. The disciples would say yes and display their scars of faith like badges, as they willingly shared in the suffering of Christ. The Saints of the Old Testament would gather around and swap stories of God’s faithfulness, trustworthiness, and power through their toughest moments. They all knew sadness and had faith.

As I tried to understand the reason for my gush of feelings, I asked God for clarity. He took me to dictionary .com on a hunt for meaning.

Sadness is “an instance of sorrow.”

If that’s true, then sadness is also an emotion that will pass, not our identity.

Sadness is not a shawl of shame that needs to be denied or minimized.

Sadness proves that we feel, that we care, that we’re alive, that we’re still fighting, still trusting, still walking by faith.

How does God respond when we’re sad?

“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” (Psalm 51:17)

We can stop fearing sadness and trying to avoid tears when we begin to understand the ministry God does as we surrender to the emotions He gave us to experience.

Our tears are prayers God hears, songs of worship God receives, and expressions of trust God accepts as He walks us to the promises He will undoubtedly fulfill.

Loving Lord, thanks for knowing how much we need to feel sadness, how much we need to experience the overflow of tears, and how much we need to encounter You in the instances of sorrow You use to deepen our dependence on Your enduring mercy and love. Help us trust that You never let a tear slip down our cheeks without Your acknowledgement. And help us rest in the surety of Your all-encompassing grace. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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If your heart is weary and longing for answers—for healing, for provision, for miracles—Waiting for God renews your hope with strong biblical truth and encouraging Scripture-based prayer. Guided to inhale God’s Word, exhale in prayer, and rest in God’s love, you will be restored, able to worship the Lord even when the wait feels endless.

Xochitl Dixon shares her personal stories and the experiences of others to help you reclaim your peace and joy, knowing God has not forgotten you.

You can order your copies of Waiting for God: Trusting Daily in God’s Plan and Pace from Amazon. Don’t forget to love your neighbor by ordering extra copies to share as gifts.

To God be the glory!

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