His Gift by Joan C. Benson

His Gift by Joan C. Benson

We shared reviews of His Gift on October 10, 2020 and December 5, 2020, and here’s another review for this terrific novel!

His Gift: This historical novel is suitable for all ages, but the main character is in her late teens. This book is written to appeal to the YA audience, the NA audience, and every adult who has ever cared to dream.

Brace yourself for a thrilling race with twists and turns as a young woman is determined to see her dream come true. On the cusp of the stock market crash of 1929, seventeen-year-old Molly has aspirations for a career in music after high school. With the passion of an athlete preparing for the Olympics, she trains relentlessly to become the best she can be.

As her world collapses in unimaginable ways, she is left to find peace and purpose in the midst of her crisis. The message of His Gift is universal to anyone who has ever dared to dream in spite of uncontrollable circumstances. With Molly, the reader will discover the hope and peace found in a life yielded to the Giver of all gifts.

Review of His Gift by Elaine Johnson:

In life, it is easy for us to set goals that we think will bring us a touch of fame, fortune, or celebrity. Our thoughts may have developed from experiences with childhood recognition or a parent’s prodding, but sometimes it arises from an inner longing to develop a natural gift because of the innate satisfaction it brings. Such was the case with Molly, the 17-year-old protagonist of His Gift. Because of her musical ability, her desire to play professionally became a driving force, and she pursued her goal with determination and perseverance. However, when the opportunity came that would catapult her into a professional career, unforeseeable obstacles threatened her dream. The Great Depression had personal consequences she never imagined.

Readers may be able to relate to Molly as they recall their childhood visions of playing football in the NFL, competing in gymnastics at the Olympics, or having their art work hung in prestigious galleries. But few childhood dreams contain the resolve we see in Molly. Her faith in God carries her through her difficulties, though she doesn’t understand how God is working in her life. Many of us have shared that confusion during the pandemic of 2020. How can God allow these circumstances you may have wondered?

Benson’s research into this time period stays true to history, and opens our eyes to the struggles many endured in the 1930s. Her impeccable attention to details would bring a smile to my face, sometimes bringing my own past to mind.

Molly’s courage waffles up and down as she faces her challenges. At last, Molly relinquishes her grip on what she believed was hers and releases it to God’s Sovereignty. She begins to understand that His Gift was not given for Molly’s individual fame or fortune, but for God’s honor and glory. This lesson is for all of us. When we stop trying to do things our way and actively live according to His plan, then we will find deep joy, peace, and contentment.

~ Elaine Johnson, M.S. Education

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Joan C. Benson, Author

Joan C. Benson, Author

Joan Benson is a freelance writer, a former (K-8) classroom teacher and reading specialist, and a wife a mother of four adult children. She enjoys traveling to spend time with her eight cherished grandchildren who live in various parts of the nation. Joan has produced devotional materials for CBN.com, written numerous magazine articles (most recently for LifeWay’s ParentLife and Regent University’s The Christian Leader). She developed children’s Sunday School curriculum for over twelve years for LifeWay. In addition, Joan continues to write for an array of educational publishers (K-12), developing both teacher and student facing materials, including fiction, nonfiction, and assessments. Joan’s debut historical novel, His Gift, was released in July 2020. Joan and her husband, Jan, live in Chesapeake, VA, with their two Bichon Frisé pets.

Grace Fox

Grace Fox

Greetings from Marti Pieper in chilly Seneca, South Carolina. As I wait out the pandemic in my warm home, I can’t help but think about my friend Grace Fox and what her winter must be like where she lives. But I’ll let her tell you about that—as well as her new devotional book, which sounds perfect for such a time as this.

Welcome, Grace! Please tell us about your new book, Finding Hope in Crisis: Devotions for Calm in Chaos.

This devotional contains 90 meditations and thoughtful quotes written to encourage and strengthen those whose minds are on overload. After a year like 2020, we all know people in that position.

For sure! And why did you write this book?

Finding Hope in Crisis: Devotions for Calm in Chaos by Grace Fox

Finding Hope in Crisis: Devotions for Calm in Chaos by Grace Fox

I’ve faced a few crises, and I understand the need for encouragement from God’s Word in those desperate times. I also understand how it’s difficult to be in that position and remember what day it is let alone focus on reading and recalling a lengthy Scripture passage. I wrote this book to provide a resource for those whose hearts are heavy and minds are on overload. My prayer is that they’ll find each day’s brief meditation doable and, as a result, discover the hope and strength needed to survive and thrive in their circumstances.

That sounds like a wonderful way to minister through your writing. What do you hope readers will take away from this book?

I hope readers will grow in their knowledge of who God is—wise, sovereign, strong, and good. As they grow in their understanding of His character, they will learn to trust Him even though they feel like their lives have flipped upside down. Trust will help them hold onto hope, and fear won’t be able to drag them into despair.

How has God used the message of your book in your own life?

I wrote this book during the pandemic and a family crisis that involved my elderly mother and her battle with a brain tumor. At the same time, I was suffering from a frozen shoulder and a broken tailbone. Studying the Word and writing these meditations kept my mind on God and His promises during those difficult days. The overall message of learning to trust His wisdom, sovereignty, strength, and goodness kept me anchored in the storm.

That’s beautiful. What themes do you return to again and again in your writing?

I always return to the importance of knowing who God is. Everything about us flows from those beliefs, so we’d better ensure we’re basing our beliefs on the truth of God’s Word.

I love that. Tell us about your most touching moment with a reader.

One day about seven years ago, I felt very discouraged with my writing career or lack thereof. Seriously, I was ready to quit writing and turn my entire focus to working alongside my husband in our ministry. I remember praying, “God, if You want me to stop writing, then I’m ready and willing. But if You want me to persevere, then I’m ready and willing. Please show me what direction You want me to take, and do it today.”

My phone rang five hours later. A woman’s voice said, “Is this Grace Fox, the author?” I said yes. She continued, “Please don’t think I’m a whacko or a groupie. I’ve never called an author, but today I felt compelled to phone you and tell you that your book, Moving From Fear to Freedom changed my life. And for what it’s worth, I also feel compelled to say, ‘Please keep writing. We need more books that teach the truth.’”

I sat in stunned silence for a few moments, and then I started to cry. I told her what I’d prayed that morning, and then she started to cry. “I heard Him,” she said. “I heard God!” “Yes, you did,” I said. “And you did what He said even though obedience didn’t feel comfortable. Thank you for listening and obeying.” An unforgettable moment, that was.

Truly unforgettable! What ministries are you involved in, and why?

In 2007, a USA-based mission organization –“International Messengers”—contacted my husband and me and asked us to launch its Canadian office. We’d been missionaries in Nepal in the ’80s, and we’d worked at a year-round Christian camp from 1996-2007, so we were well familiar with career missions and said yes to this new opportunity.

Our interdenominational organization is a sending agency that serves 225 missionaries in 28 countries. We recruit, train, and lead volunteer teams to host evangelistic English-learning family camps in Eastern Europe every summer. As part of my role, I teach missionaries-in-training in the Middle East and have trained pastors and church leaders in Nepal. Why do I do these things? Because I felt God’s call on my life to career missions when I was in sixth grade. Believers are to be His ambassadors, and this ministry is His specific assignment for me within that capacity.

And you carry it out so well, I know. But it seems everyone struggles with time management in our 24/7 world. How do you stay disciplined and meet your deadlines?

I list my writing deadlines on paper and keep that paper beside my computer at all times for easy reference. I gauge how much time each assignment will take and what my schedule looks like, and I do my best to stick to it. If that means spending less time on social media, so be it. If it means having to get up at 4:30 for several mornings, I do it. It helps that my husband works from home and offers to help with household tasks like laundry and meal preparation when deadlines are tight.

Great encouragement! What are your hobbies or activities or passions outside of writing?

I enjoy walking, photography, beginning watercolor painting, and sailing. My husband and I live on a forty-eight-foot sailboat near Vancouver, British Columbia, and the coastal islands provide scenic, solitary space when we need to step back from ministry and rest. I also value every minute I get with my three children, their spouses, and my nine grandchildren.

I understand! Now, please tell us about your next project.

I taught two women’s Bible studies via Zoom during the latter half of 2020 and am developing them into projects that other women’s groups can easily use.

Marti Pieper

Marti Pieper

I know those will meet a need as well. Thank you, Grace, for sharing your work and your life with us today.

Learn more about Grace and her book by visiting Grace’s website or Grace’s blog.

For His glory,

Marti Pieper

Marti’s website

Cuddle-Up Prayers by Michelle Medlock Adams

Cuddle Up Prayers

Interested in a book that will help you pray with your toddler?

Cuddle up close with this collection of toddler-friendly prayers. These simple prayers cover everything little ones may want to talk to God about, such as asking for help, thanking God for food or friends, or just talking about what they think and feel. With its cushy, padded cover and sturdy pages, Cuddle Up Prayers is durable enough to withstand years of use from growing kids. As you spend time praying with your child, they will quickly discover that any time is a good time to talk to God.


A review by Nancy Sanders, reprinted by permission:

Is your child feeling sad? Are they happy? Or feeling thankful? Then it’s the perfect time to talk with God about how they feel…and this adorable book helps them get started.

With simple prayers of childlike faith, this board book helps littles learn to talk with God through prayer. Whether they feel jealous…or are celebrating their own God-given unique qualities…the prayers in this sweet board book with rhyming text help kids connect with God.

And the art is so adorable! With a variety of animal characters, every child will connect, no matter where they live around the world or what their background is.

A great way to cuddle up with your child…and talk together with God!

Here is a sample prayer:


I thank you for another day.
I know it will be good.
Help me to have a happy heart
And do the things I should.

No matter what, I’ll wear a smile.
I thank you for this day.
Help me to spread your joy around
At home, at school, and play.

Especially in these challenging days, it’s important to encourage children to talk about their feelings. And especially to teach them that God cares about everything they feel or think and wants to hear them talk with Him. This is a perfect book to use to help toddlers and little ones understand the importance of prayer and how to talk with God.

~ Nancy I. Sanders, author of The Very Oldest Pear Tree

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Michelle Medlock Adams, Author

Michelle Medlock Adams, Author

Michelle Medlock Adams is a NY Times best-selling ghostwriter and an award-winning journalist of more than 1,700 articles and 100 books. With close to 4 million copies sold, Michelle has earned over 70 industry awards from the Associated Press, the Society of Professional Journalists, and the Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards, to name a few.

Michelle is celebrating the recent release of her children’s books, Cuddle-up Prayers, I Love You Bigger Than the Sky, and Writing & Selling Children’s Books in the Christian Market: From Board Books to YA, a book she coauthored with her agent Cyle Young. Michelle is also a much sought after writing instructor, having taught at more than 100 writers conferences. And, she has served as an adjunct professor, teaching “Writing for Children” at Taylor University three different years.

When not writing or teaching writing, Michelle enjoys bass fishing with her husband Jeff and watching Doris Day movies. To learn more, check out her website at: www.michellemedlockadams.com online.


Anne Greene, Author

Anne Greene

I’ve experienced God’s happily-ever-afters in my life many times since I became a Christian at age twenty-one. I suffered a difficult childhood. When the Lord made me a new creation in Christ Jesus, He began my emotional healing that transformed me into the happy, content person I am today.

Again, when my first husband died early in our marriage leaving me with almost no money and two young children, I learned first-hand the Lord does take care of His children. When the first love of my life died, I felt physically torn in half. I often looked down at my body to see if I was bleeding. But God became my constant companion and took my torn halves and knit them back together. He gave me the verse, Deuteronomy 31:6—The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you: He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. He kept His promise. At the right time He brought a new forever love, a new husband into my life. Through that experience I know without a single doubt that I have complete freedom to trust God. He loves to make His children happy.

Now, when God takes me out of my comfort zone and walks with me through difficulties, I can look back on His faithfulness and set my trust in Him.

Knowing God is in charge and He truly cares allows me to write happy-ever-after endings to all my books.

ANNE GREENE delights in writing about alpha heroes who aren’t afraid to fall on their knees in prayer, and about gutsy heroines.  Anne hopes her books transport the reader to awesome new worlds and touch hearts to seek a deeper spiritual relationship with the Lord Jesus. Read More about Anne at www.AnneGreeneAuthor.com.



Kathy Howard
Kathy Howard

Kathy Howard

Greetings from Sarah Sundin in California! Today I have the joy of interviewing multi-publishing author and popular speaker Kathy Howard. Kathy’s sharing today about her new devotional book, which sounds amazing!

Welcome, Kathy! Please tell us about your book Deep Rooted: Growing through the Gospel of Mark.

Deep Rooted is a 40-day devotional journey through the life and ministry of Jesus. Its unique format shows readers how to interact with and apply Scripture, not just read it. The meaty, daily devotions use a simple study framework to help readers be transformed by God’s Word, not just informed.

I love the idea of a meaty devotional! What inspired you to write this book?

Deep Rooted by Kathy Howard

Deep Rooted by Kathy Howard

I lead a Bible reading group on Facebook that’s been active for several years. It includes thousands of women from all over the world. The format I use there has been encouraging and equipping them to get into the Bible. Seeing how God has used this group inspired me to want to take the same principle to a larger audience.

Why did you write this book?

I want to equip readers with the tools they need to study Scripture for themselves every day. This journey through Mark guides them to use these tools and develop a habit of being in God’s Word.

So important! What surprised you the most during the research or writing of your book?

I’ve read the Gospels many times. I’ve studied Jesus’ life and ministry. But studying it all again and writing the devotions gave me a fresh and deeper experience with Jesus. It was a wonderful time with Him!

What themes do you return to again and again in your writing?

God called me to be a Bible teacher. My writing and ministry on social media are extensions of that call. I want to share biblical truths and principles and help others to study God’s Word for themselves.

Tell us about your funniest moment with a reader.

Don’t know if I could call her a “reader” of mine, but this is a great story. I was doing a book signing for one of my new Bible studies at a LifeWay store. (Yes, it’s been a little while since this happened.) The store set me up at a table right inside the door. There were stacks of books and posters with my face and book cover. A lady came through the door and walked purposefully up to the table. I thought she must have come for the book signing! I smiled and greeted her. Her response? “Can you tell me where the Beth Moore Bible studies are?” Funny, but humbling!

I have a “Why are your books here and not Beth Moore’s?” book-signing story too! The Lord certainly keeps us humble. What ministries are you involved in, and why?

I fell in love with God’s Word through a women’s Bible study when I was a young mom. That fostered my passion for teaching others. I’ve been involved in women’s ministry leadership for decades. I love teaching in my local church and training other Bible study leaders. I also support and participate in missions as much as I can. Sadly, COVID has hindered any mission trips this year.

So many vital things COVID-canceled. But reading isn’t one of them. What do you read for pleasure? What are you reading right now?

I love fiction set during WWII. Right now, I’m reading a novel called The Flight Girls by Noelle Salazar. It focuses on civilian women trained by the army to fly during WWII. I am also reading Adamant by Lisa Bevere and several commentaries on Ezra and Nehemiah for a potential Bible study project.

That sounds fantastic! So what are you working on now? Please tell us about your next project.

Heirloom: Living and Leaving a Legacy of Faith will release in August 2021. This 52-day devotional combines ancestral, historical, and biblical stories of faith with biblical principles for leaving a spiritual legacy and tips for genealogy research.

Sarah Sundin headshot

Sarah Sundin

What a great concept! Thank you for sharing with us today, Kathy!

To learn more about Kathy, her books, and her speaking, please visit Kathy’s website and Kathy’s blog.

Writing for Him,

Sarah Sundin

Sarah’s website