Carrying Each Other’s Burdens: A Refection on Galatians 6:2

“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2

The Powell River Circuit is a 35-mile canoe journey that crosses 8 lakes and includes 5 hilly portage hikes. Loaded with tents, sleeping bags, cooking gear and food rations crammed into overnight backpacks, my high school gym class set out for the 5-day adventure in a remote part of British Columbia’s Sunshine Coast. We’d been preparing for months and organized ourselves in partners to divide tasks and plan for success. It didn’t take long for Janice and I to realize we needed help. 

The idea of portaging is simple: Canoe across a lake and pull up to a portage— basically a hiking trail —then unload the gear and carry it (including the canoe) to a re-entry point on another lake. It sounds easy, but no amount of tenacity could achieve what our bodies could not. After miles of paddling, the canoe was too heavy for our weary arms and didn’t rest on our frameless packs the way it did for some of our classmates. Soon into our second portage, Bryce switched spots with Janice and carried the weight of our canoe while I balanced it in the back. Before long, students traded backpacks and partners to ensure the load was shared. While everyone had something to carry, burdens were distributed based on need and competency. Some of my classmates were physically stronger, some had more food, some had better endurance, and others were able to make wise decisions in a hurry (an invaluable asset when a storm arose, capsized canoes in near-freezing water, and separated us from our teachers). 

Carrying each other’s physical, spiritual, and emotional burdens is a form of loving one another. It fulfills the second greatest commandment, to “love your neighbor as yourself” and is evidence of the first, to “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind”  (Matthew 22:36-40). While we should never negate our own responsibilities and burdens (Galatians 6:8), Paul knew that the best way for the Galatians to live was in community – where pride and self-sufficiency is exchanged for dependence on Christ and others.

Let’s purposefully lighten the loads of our brothers and sisters and allow them to carry ours when we can’t; running the good race (Galatians 5:7) together in a quest to finish strong.

For Further Study

Remembering that there were no chapter divisions in the original text, read Galatians 5:25-6:10. Note everything related to “another” or pertaining to how we should live alongside/in community with others.

Look back over your notes and star anything in the lists that reflect areas where you struggle to maintain Paul’s exhortation for Christ-like community living. Thank the Holy Spirit for bringing these things to your attention, and take time to confess them. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you as you make changes and seek to bear others’ burdens. 

Finally, re-read Galatians 6:2 and write a responsive prayer. Feel free to use this one and insert your own reflections.

Father, thank you for the gift of community through Christ. Forgive me for the ways I try to carry burdens not meant for me to carry alone. Help me see the strengths and gifts you’ve given me that will help lessen the load of others. I confess to being (insert appropriate words and phrases from your observations here) and long for a deep and true faith that pleases the Spirit. Amen.


About the Author: Lisa DaSilva is a wife, mom of two young adults, and advocate for women to love God with their heart, soul and mind as they engage in responsible study of His Word. With an M.Ed in Curriculum Development and a teacher by trade and passion, she writes, speaks, and teaches the Bible to anyone who will read or listen. As the director of Arise Ministries Collective in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, Lisa believes every woman has a voice. She longs for the day when they find freedom to use it for the glory of God and the furthering of His Kingdom. Lisa is a recovering striver, lover of simplicity and thrift store junkie. She often has to convince people she’s an introvert. Just a loud one.


While We Wait: An Advent Reflection

The Wait

Gifts are wrapped and stockings are stuffed. Lights twinkle on the tree and candles flicker in homes and churches services across the country. It’s Christmas  – one of my favorite times of the year. I love seeing little ones giddy with excitement. They’ve been waiting since before Thanksgiving when store shelves abruptly traded turkeys and leaves for Santa and snowflakes, and hope the wait will be worth it.

As children of God, we’re waiting too. Every one of us.

It’s why we celebrate Advent through the Christmas season.

Since the fall of man, the faithful in the Old Testament waited for the promised Messiah. They were waiting for a King. Their savior. Because many had their own ideas and assumptions of who He would be and what He would do, they missed the blessing. They failed to see Jesus as the Savior of the world and are still waiting for His first appearance.

Now, as Christ-believers, we wait for our Savior to return and make all things new – forever bridging the gap between our sin and the glory of the Father. Oh, what a day that will be!

Because we live in a broken world until Christ’s second coming, we wait for earthly dreams or needs to be fulfilled as well.

As you read this, you’re likely waiting for something.

Waiting to feel known. Waiting for a wayward child. Waiting to experience love. Waiting to be forgiven. Waiting for healing. Waiting for the fulfillment of a promise. Waiting to be understood.

The list is endless. And exhausting.

Waiting tries my patience and throws me into dependence. I can’t control the outcome in a waiting season and, to be completely honest, that’s the part I like least. My fleshly desire is to meddle – to open closed doors and close the open ones. I rush through the wait to find answers and create quick solutions.  

But what if we entered our time of waiting with a sense of eagerness instead of animosity?  What if we leaned in with anticipation rather than anxiety? What if we waited with hope instead of despair?

What if we changed our perspective entirely, and began to see the wait as part of the promise instead of a means to the end?

What if we believed that God was up to something and that the result would be as good as He is?

If we trust that God is sovereign, we need to trust that the wait fulfills a purpose. It may not look the way we wanted or prayed for, but the process itself can draw us into a deeper relationship with Christ, grow our faith, and refine us into something more beautiful than we imagined.

5 Things To Do While We Wait

Honest truth? I often don’t feel like reading the Bible, praying, or worshipping God in my waiting season, but these are imperative disciplines to growing our faith and, ultimately, glorifying God. If we want the wait to be productive, we need to be proactive. Setting healthy patterns and habits in our lives will ensure we are ready for the wait when it comes.

Here are things we can do in both preparation for a waiting season AND when we’re smack dab in the middle of it.

Meditate on the Word – 2 Timothy 3:16 tells us that “all Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.”  It’s ALL USEFUL. Read it, memorize it, meditate on it, sing it, study it.  It will teach you, rebuke you, correct you, and train you in righteousness. It will focus your attention on the truths of heaven rather than the things of earth.

Commit to a Bible Study in your church or with friends and keep “Study my Bible” at the top of your To Do list. If you need a place to start in your waiting season, try the book of James (be sure to look into what it means to have true joy when reading the first chapter) or an Old Testament book like Exodus or Daniel that speak of God’s sovereignty. Use one of our favorite Bible Study methods such as the Inductive Study to understand the incredible depth and truth of Scripture.

Pray – Seek God with your requests and be honest about your struggle through the wait (He really can handle it), but also ask Him for an open mind and heart as you wrestle through the uncertainty.  Be open to seeing things a different way and tell Him you trust Him with the process and the outcome.

Remember that the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness – He hears our groans and intercedes for us when can’t find the words to speak (Romans 8:26). My favorite prayer of all time is known as ‘The Lord’s Prayer’ and can be found in Matthew 6:9-13. It gives all glory and rightful dominion to God while asking for His Kingdom to come and will to be done. It gives me peace and security during a time of waiting.

Worship – It’s easy for me to worship and praise when things are going well, and whole lot harder when they’re not. Go ahead and blast that music in the car and let the tears fall. Praise Him anyway.

I have absolutely been that lady at the red light with hands raised high and snot pouring out of my nose in worship.  On one occasion I even rolled down my window to assure a concerned woman in a neighboring vehicle that I was indeed OK – Just praising God.

Here are some songs to sing during a time of waiting:

Talk to a Trusted Friend – Choose people who are valiant prayer warriors and gifted secret keepers. Be candid about your wait and ask them to wage war with you. One word of caution, though – Be sure to meditate on the Word of God, spend time in prayer, and worship the Almighty God yourself instead of just asking others to do it for you. I’ve been guilty of calling or texting a friend to pray and then not even doing it myself.  I’ve welcomed encouraging Scriptures from sisters before seeking truth in my own study of His Word. Let’s be women of discipline in the waiting season instead of women of chatter.

Reflect – Use a journal to remember what God has done in the past. These can be personal stories of His faithfulness through other waiting seasons, or ones that resonate from Bible study and meditation. If you’re a regular journal-keeper, spend time looking over past prayers/entries and look for the ways God blessed you in times of waiting or difficulty. Keeping a journal can be a beautiful way of accounting for the things you’re learning and giving Glory to God for His ongoing faithfulness.

The End

Maybe you’ll wake up Christmas morning and find that everything you’ve been waiting for is right in front of you. But probably not.

And it’s OK. Transformative, even, if we allow the wait to mold us and make us into new creations for His great glory.

As followers of Christ, we can be assured that the wait will end.  

In great glory.

Revelation 21 testifies to the abundance we’ll receive after Jesus returns to make all things new:

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.”

Until then, my friends, wait well. It will all be worth it in the end.

With great expectation,



About the Author:

Lisa DaSilva is a wife, mom of two teenagers, and advocate for women to love God with their heart, soul and mind as they engage in responsible study of His Word. With an M.Ed in Curriculum Development and a teacher by trade and passion, she writes, speaks, and teaches the Bible to anyone who will read or listen. As the director of Arise Ministries Collective in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, Lisa believes every woman has a voice. She longs for the day when they find freedom to use it for the glory of God and the furthering of His Kingdom. Lisa is a recovering striver, lover of simplicity and thrift store junkie. She often has to convince people she’s an introvert. Just a loud one. Loving Jesus and making Him known really is her everything.


Intentional Advent: Over 20 Ideas and Resources to Prepare our Hearts for Christmas

Christmas is just around the corner.

Leaves change, branches become bare, Thanksgiving approaches, and we know there will soon be trees to decorate, lights to hang, cookies to bake, gifts to buy, stockings to stuff, and special meals to prepare. In all of the excitement and busyness, it’s easy to forget what the fuss and hustle is really about.

Many of us long to soak in the real reason we celebrate, but it takes intentional planning and commitment.

For centuries, Christians around the world have set aside the four weeks before Christmas (Sunday to Sunday) to prepare for the celebration of Jesus’ birth. We call this Advent, meaning “the arrival” or “coming,” and embrace it as a season of anticipation for both the birth of Christ and the glory of God still to come. It’s a time to ready our hearts and honor God’s gift to us through our Savior, Jesus.

The first Sunday of Advent is on November 27th this year, so some activities and observances will begin then. Daily devotionals traditionally begin on December 1st and end on Christmas Eve or Christmas. Read through the following suggestions for individuals, groups, families and children to find something that works for you. Above all, let’s accept the gift of a slow and meaningful season, rest in God’s promises, and ready ourselves for the wonder of Christmas.

Ideas for Personal, Family, or Small Group Reflection

We love studies and daily readings that keep us close to the Word and guide us toward Jesus. The Bible should always be our primary resource. The gospel of Luke has 24 chapters and tells the story of Christ from the manger to the cross. Consider reading one chapter a day alone or with family, then end your time with a prayer of thanksgiving. Find some of our favorite Bibles here.

Below are studies and devotionals geared towards personal use, but that doesn’t mean you can’t meet with a small group to discuss what you’re learning. We think that’s always a good idea! Some of these resources will work with older children or families. Read our notes about the books and check out our IGTV with Angie and Janell to learn more.

Emmanuel: An Invitation to Prepare Him Room at Christmas and Always  
  • Author – Ruth Chou Simons
  • Timeline – 25 day devotional
  • Framework – This devotional includes four weeks of Advent readings. Each day includes a passage of Scripture, a written reflection, a question to ponder, a suggested Christmas song to sing, and a prayer for each day. Ruth’s paintings give it a beautiful aesthetic that families might enjoy, but it’s a fair amount of reading/listening for young children (one to two pages each day).


He Will: A Study of Luke 1 & 2 
  • Authors – Eryn Kesler & Mary Straker
  • Timeline – 4 week study
  • Framework – This is an in-depth Bible study that focuses on the first two chapters of Luke. It will help you glean new revelation from the well-known Christmas story and better understand the prophesies, context, and events surrounding Christ’s first coming. Work through the weeks at your own pace to discover character traits of God revealed in both the Old and New Testament while practicing an inductive Bible study method. Do this one on your own or with a group of friends, and be sure to download our free printable Scripture cards that coincide with the study.
Shadow & Light: A Journey into Advent 
  • Author – Tsh Oxenreider
  • Timeline – 4 weeks of short daily devotionals
  • Framework – This is an amazing resource for both personal and family reflection. Drawing from liturgical tradition, Tsh provides a daily Scripture passage, a short reflection, a discussion question, and a simple activity to engage the senses. We love the ample introduction that includes commentary on Advent and additional ideas/resources. Each day is short enough to hold a child’s attention and lends itself to entire family participation.
The Weary World Rejoices: Daily Devotions for Advent
  • Author – Various; edited by Melissa Kruger
  • Timeline –  25 daily devotions
  • Framework – Each day is about two pages of writing and includes a Bible reading, longer reflection, questions for response/discussion, and a hymn stanza for rejoicing.  It’s a great way to hear from different authors. The weeks are structured around traditional Advent themes – hope, peace, joy, love, and faith.

Come, Let Us Adore Him: A Daily Advent Devotional
  • Author – by Paul David Tripp
  • Timeline – 25 day devotional
  • Framework – These daily Advent readings are suitable for both individual and family devotions. While some of the daily reflections are longer than others, the stories and themes are captivating enough for young listeners. Each day includes a short activity or follow-up discussion question.



 Love Came Down at Christmas: Daily Readings for Advent 
  • Author – Sinclair B. Ferguson
  • Timeline – 24 day devotional, about 15-20 minutes per day
  • Framework – Based on 1 Corinthians 13, this Advent devotional focuses on the transforming love of Jesus. The readings are longer than some of our other recommended resources, so we think they’re more suitable for individual reflection. Each day includes a beautiful prayer and a contemplative questions.


Unwrapping the Names of Jesus: An Advent Devotional 
  • Author – Asheritah Ciuciu
  • Timeline – 4 weeks
  • Framework – Asheritah leads readers through the four weeks of Advent  with five short daily reflections that focus on that day’s name of Jesus (the Vine, the Lion of Judah, the Bread of Life…). Each week begins with an interactive devotional that may take a little longer. We love the author’s suggestions for fun-filled family activities or service projects and think it would work well for both personal and family worship. If you have younger children, use this alongside Unwrapping the Names of Jesus for Kids.


The Greatest Gift: Unwrapping the Full Love Story of Christmas 
  • Author – Ann Voskamp
  • Timeline – 25 days
  • Framework – These are long and beautiful readings that lend themselves better to individual reflection or read-aloud with young adults. Ann leads readers through the Old Testament to explore “The Jesse Tree” lineage of Jesus. A family edition is also available, and was a favorite for our own families. Read more about the different variations and accessories below.
Ideas for Families with Younger Children
Unwrapping the Greatest Gift: A Family Celebration of Christmas
  • Author – Ann Voskamp
  • Framework – Ann’s “Jesse Tree” experience was a favorite for all of our families. It became a rich Advent tradition that we looked forward to every year, so we highly recommend it if you have young children at home. What began as an online version is now a vivid book with full-color illustrations and downloadable ornaments. The book includes daily Scripture readings, discussion questions, and meaningful Advent activities. These wooden ornaments are a long-lasting option if you think you’ll make the Jesse Tree a tradition and don’t want to print and laminate the ones from the book. Families with young children may enjoy the interactive Wonder of the Greatest Gift: An Interactive Family Celebration.  See it in action on our IGTV, along with the beautiful Cradle-to-Cross Wooden Advent Wreath (which can also be used for Lent). Ann has additional suggestions for how to engage your family in rich Advent tradition on her website.
Let Every Heart Prepare Him Room: Daily Family Devotions for Advent
  • Author – Nancy Guthrie
  • Timeline – 30 days
  • Framework – With devotions for every day in December, this resource is suitable for families with kids of all ages and includes a short reflection, discussion questions, and even explanations of some hard-to-understand aspects of popular Christmas carols.



Prepare Him Room: Celebrating the Birth of Jesus Family Devotional
  • Author – Marty Machowski
  • Timeline – 4 weeks, 3 readings/activities per week
  • Framework – This resource includes an excellent introduction to Advent and even has directions for how to create and use your Advent wreath. We love the simple instructions throughout, and think the model of three readings per week could work well for many families. Each of the readings includes discussion questions, a prayer, and an activity.


Unwrapping the Names of Jesus For Kids
  • Author – Asheritah Ciuciu
  • Framework – Geared towards children 5-8 years old, this storybook complements what families will hear and discuss in Asheritah’s family devotional (see above). It’s a theologically rich story and full of engaging illustrations. Find more about how to use this book and other Unwrapping the Names of Jesus resources here.
Jotham’s Journey: A Storybook for Advent
  • Author – Arnold Ytreeide
  • Framework – This short novel is part of a 4 storybook series designed to be read over the Advent season. The main characters are all children that endure some peril, so gauge the maturity level of your own family and provide ample time for discussion. We think this is well-suited to 2nd to 3rd graders, but could easily extend beyond that. An audiobook is also available, so consider using it on long drives this holiday season!
The ADVENTure of Christmas: Helping Children Find Jesus in our Holiday Traditions
  • Author – Lisa Whelchel
  • Timeline – Activités spanned over the 4 weeks of Advent
  • Framework – Young families will enjoy stories and hands-on activities that bring tradition and theology to life. We suggest looking through the book to choose a few of the ideas rather than becoming overwhelmed by trying to do them all. There is an excellent introduction with suggestions for how to use the book, how to create an Advent wreath, when to light the candles, and much more.
A Few More of Our Favorites
  •  Listen to music – Singer-songwriter Andrew Peterson teamed up with author Russ Ramsey to create Behold the Lamb of God. The music takes listeners through the Christmas story beginning in Genesis, and was a favorite for all of our families. We loved listening to it in the car on all of our seasonal errands and travel. The accompanying book is harder to find right now, but is a great read for adults if you can get your hands on one.
  • Use Scripture cards – Memorize or meditate on Scripture alongside friends or family this Advent. We suggest printing these  free Scripture cards by artist Anna DeRoos (especially if you’re working through our He Will Advent Bible Study), or purchasing this set by Emily Lex. Both are a simple and beautiful way to incorporate the Word into your daily Advent journey. Post them on a mirror, refrigerator, nightstand, or anywhere else you’ll see them every day. We love the idea of tucking one or two in a note to a friend, or including them in your Advent countdown. 
  • Make your own Advent wreath – Create your own simple and budget-friendly Advent wreath by purchasing something pre-made and adding your own fresh greens every year. The Advent wreath is traditionally an evergreen wreath with four candles on the outside, each lit on Sundays during Advent readings. Consider adding a pillar candle to the center to light on Christmas. Some variations of the Advent wreath include different colored candles to represent different themes, while others keep the candles a simple white. Follow instructions for lighting the candles in one of the Advent books we shared, or get a quick summary and weekly readings here.
About Our Contributors

Lisa Da Silva 

Lisa is a wife, mom of two young adults, and advocate for women to love God with their heart, soul and mind as they engage in responsible study of His Word. As the founder and director of Arise, she writes, speaks, and teaches the Bible to anyone who will read or listen.

Lisa is a teacher by trade and passion, recovering striver, and lover of simplicity. She enjoys thrift store shopping and often has to convince people she’s an introvert.  Just a loud one.

Loving Jesus and making Him known really is her everything.


Angie Forrester

A northwest native, Angie enjoys spending her time cultivating gardens and young minds including her five “free-range” children.  She has been a home educator for over a decade, working alongside other mamas to build community for homeschool families.  As a lifelong learner you may find her reciting Latin, reading aloud to her children, or applying National Park stickers to her water bottle from her most recent adventure.




Janell Sorensen

Janell is a follower of Jesus, a wife to her best friend David, and a mother to five gifts. She has a heart for women, women’s ministry, and the study of God’s Word. You can find her most days sitting at her farm table schooling her kids, telling punny jokes, and resting in the beauty and grace of her race because of Jesus. She occasionally writes at






You Really Can Lead a Bible Study: Tips and Resources to Get You Started

Do you wonder if you have what it takes to start or lead a small group Bible study? Are you willing to try? With a few vital but simple commitments, you can play an instrumental role in leading others through the Word of God. People are longing to learn and be part of a community. They may just need someone willing to guide, facilitate, be a humble example, and learn alongside them. Prayerfully read through the following suggestions and give it a try. Remember, there is a lot of grace as you model life-long learning, but skill and competency require practice. Your ability to facilitate a small group will only get better once you start!

Tips for Leading a Meaningful Small Group Bible Study

Pray – The most effective Bible study leader prays for guidance and asks the Holy Spirit to bring understanding. Submit to God and seek Him daily as you prepare and study. Commit to praying for all of the people in your group on a regular basis. 

Be prepared – Do your homework in advance and have a thorough grasp of the content. Review the discussion questions to see which ones best apply to whatever you studied that week. Participants will know if you’ve cut corners. I’ve found that a leader’s effectiveness is largely related to his or her integrity. While things come up and grace prevails, preparation shows participants that you’re committed to doing the hard work and learning alongside them. 

Keep in touch – Communicate with your group throughout the week. People love to know you’re thinking of them. Tell them you’re looking forward to seeing them and hearing about what they’ve learned. When someone knows you’re expecting them to show up, they often do! 

Start and end on time – Being prompt shows respect. Begin on time even if only one person is there. Participants will quickly learn that you honor their other commitments and will respond by honoring yours. Consider adding 30 minutes before or after the meeting as an optional social time. Your group may choose to gather from 9:30 to 11am, for example, but participants can come early for coffee at 9am if they want to visit and chat.

Share expectations – People want to know their small group is safe. Affirm that things shared within the group are not to be discussed with anyone else. Begin each meeting with this reminder, and consider asking participants for a verbal agreement. It’s also helpful to talk about group discussion dynamics. Encourage everyone to be sensitive to others and to ask themselves the following reflective questions: Do they dominate the discussion? Are they attentive to others and giving them a chance to share? Do they listen well? Are they taking risks and offering thoughts and ideas? Routinely sharing expectations for a healthy small group will save a great deal of time, energy, and possible hurt in the future.  

Be a good listener – Don’t do all of the talking. Leading a small group doesn’t mean you’re the expert. It simply means you’re engaging in the discussion, encouraging accountability, being reliable, and listening well. Model good listening by mirroring what’s been shared and validating others’ observations.

Ask great questions – Some Bible studies come with discussion questions to help guide your group time, but I’ve found that they’re not always helpful. While review questions are fine and may clarify content, I appreciate more open-ended questions that generate thoughtful observation, interpretation, and application of the Scripture (learn more about the inductive method here). The following are questions I filter into almost every Bible study discussion. I’ve also included a link to a printable PDF so you can download the style works best for your group. Consider printing your favorite (bookmark, full-page or half-page) for group members in advance. This will help them feel prepared, know what to look for when they’re studying, and be better equipped to use the questions in future small groups. Who knows? Maybe your Bible study is just what they needed to gain the experience and confidence to launch something new. Maybe your risk and obedience will impact many for God’s glory and the understanding of His Word.

5 Great Questions to Help Guide your Bible Study Discussion
  • Did you learn anything new or see something in a different light through your study today/this week? 
  • What does this passage reveal about the character of God? 
  • What biblical truths were revealed and how might these look in action today? In your own life? In your family? In your ministry? 
  • What do you need to do in light of your new understanding? Is there an action you need to take?
  • Is the Holy Spirit bringing any specific people, circumstances, conversations or sins to mind for prayer, repentance and reconciliation?  If so, take time to lay them before Him. Consider sharing and asking for prayer/accountability.

Consider using these questions and tips to guide a small group through our newest study, What the Lord Requires: A Six Week Study of Micah 6:6-8.  All proceeds from the sale of this book be used to support projects that combat modern day slavery and set women and children on the pathway to freedom. Use this study calendar if you hope to join us for the April 20th launch, and let us know if you’ve decided to start your own group. We’d love to cheer you on!

With great expectation –




Podcast 017 – “The Art of Mentoring” with Vicky Dillon – Part 2

Gospel-centered living means we admit our inadequacy, know we need support, and learn from others further along or stronger in their faith journey.  But how do we enter into these relationships and what expectations should we have?⁣⁣ In this podcast, host Lisa DaSilva continues her conversation with longtime mentor Vicky Dillon as they discuss some of the fears, goals, and joys associated with mentoring.

Noteworthy Quotes

“I’m able to look back now and see some of the benefits, the results, the fruit of having had mentors in my life.”

“Whatever your spiritual gifting is…. You can always bring somebody alongside and invite them into that world.”

“Mentoring isn’t always really formal.  It can be formal, like a weekly meeting, a study, a plan, and that’s wonderful,  but there are other times when you do it less formally – Maybe quarterly, or monthly…. It can come in so many different shapes and sizes.”

“With any gift we’ve been given, there is one goal: To equip others.”

“As I open up a little about my life, women begin to share.”

“I’m going to teach you something, and then can you go and put it into practice? Go and teach it to someone else.”

“It’s fairly simple. It’s not easy, but it’s simple.”

“As I’m learning to follow Christ, you come with me.”

“Let’s not be remiss in asking ourselves, to what end does this all matter?  Why do we care about all this? It’s more than just being able to encourage somebody so they can have a better marriage, raise healthier kids, get through the day a little easier…. Those are all important and valuable, but really, as we follow Christ, the end is to glorify God – To walk faithfully this side of heaven.”

“What we share in common is Jesus.”

“When we have Christ at the center – The Holy Spirit – He’s doing something bigger than us.”

“We’re never too young to start, and we’re never too old to stop.”

“We tether to one another so that we can be all that God has purposed us to be.”

“There’s a responsibility for the mentee as well: If we’re going to ask someone to come alongside us…to take their time, their energy, their prayer to mentor us, we sure better be willing.”

“Come with a teachable spirit.”

“It can be humbling for someone to speak truth or maybe point out a blind-spot in our lives, but it can be so rich when we are willing to receive it and wrestle through that – To knead it through our heart and mind – To really be able to let the Lord do a work in us.”

“Our relationship really began as mentoring, and evolved and transitioned into friendship. Now, we both learn from each other.”

“Be aware and prayerful to know when the time is winding down. There really is a season to everything.”

“Regardless of your age, be in deep relationship with the Lord, so you can be in relationship with other women.”

Scripture References

Philippians 4:9

Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”

Ephesians 4:7,11-13

“But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift. And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes”.

Titus 2:3-5

“Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.”

1 Corinthians 11:1

“Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.”

2 Timothy 2:2

“The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.”

Matthew 28:19-20

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”


About Vicky Dillon: Vicky lives in Camas, Washington and is the wife of a pastor and mom of two adult sons. While she’s trained as an accountant, Vicky has served in vocational and lay ministry for the majority of her career. She is currently the board chair of Journey Theater – A local theater group ministering to youth here in the Portland/Vancouver area. She also serves on the board of SHAPE NW-a summer camp program for kids. In her spare time she enjoys hiking, tennis, snowshoeing, puzzles and game nights with friends and family.

Then Sings My Soul

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.”  2 Corinthians 5:17


Made for More

I was studying Paul’s letter to the Corinthians for an upcoming teaching opportunity and came across a relatable (and absolutely adorable) video online.

A large group of ducks contained by a hoarder since hatching had never seen or experienced water other than for drinking. Rescuers rehabilitated the birds and were excited to finally release them into a pond on their wildlife refuge.

The scene that followed was not what I expected. Rather than run to the water, the ducks avoided it at all costs. Rescuers surrounded the birds and literally forced them into the pond, but the ducks immediately jumped out and began to run away. They even tried picking the birds up and tossing them into the water, but without success – Until one precious duck let go of his fear and began to paddle and float for the very first time.

That duck flapped its wings in sheer joy – Splashing water everywhere and unabashedly celebrating the newfound splendor. I still giggle when I think about his head and body plunging in and out of the water for no other reason than to experience it. One by one, the other ducks followed suit and the pond became a spectacle of joyful birds diving, playing, and peacefully enjoying the water. The rescuers were elated.

The old was gone.

The new had come.

I can’t imagine those ducks ever wanting to return to the confines that kept them from true freedom only weeks before. They were beaming with new life after being caged and contained – Kept from the very essence of their intended creation – To swim, dive, splash, feed, float, and keep cool in the water.

But the process wasn’t easy. They did not immediately embrace the new life for which they were created.


Living New

The same can be true for us as followers of Christ, can’t it? I believe this is why Paul writes with such poignancy in his second letter to the church in Corinth.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.”  2 Corinthians 5:17

To understand the complexity of Paul’s assertion in 2 Corinthians 5:17, we first need to understand the context of his exhortation.

Corinth was a hub of commerce, influence, wealth, and entertainment during Paul’s ministry in Greece. The temple of Aphrodite (the goddess of love, beauty, and fertility) stood at the center of this large city, and more than 1,000 sex slaves given by their owners lived on the temple steps and in brothels nearby.  

Corruption was rampant, and the church small by comparison. It’s no wonder Paul wrote to strengthen followers living in a city riddled with sexual exploitation and financial greed.

The church at the time was compiled of a few Jews, but mostly Gentiles. They would have been recent converts to the faith, and left everything they’d known for a completely different faith and lifestyle – something new and beyond anything they’d ever experienced.  In turning from the ways of their direct influence, surroundings, and maybe even friends and family, they needed encouragement to stay the new creations they were intended to be.  It was a death, of sorts, to completely change from the past and move into the future.

In our story of the ducks, Paul is the rescuer and the ducks like the Corinthians. They needed strong direction and encouragement to fully embrace their new life “in Christ”  – To die to the past and start fresh. If they were truly surrendered to the gospel, they needed old comforts to pass away.

The death and resurrection of Christ changed everything, but change does not always come without effort.


The Change

I used to hunt for Monarch butterfly larvae when my kids were little. We wandered through fields of milkweed and carefully turned up the leaves until we found one… A small little yellow worm-like creature less than an inch big.

I cleaned out salad tubs, filled them with milkweed plants and our growing larva. I poked holes in the lid to let in some air, and set the container on the floor in the living room to watch and wait. As the larva grew, she ate more and more of the milkweed – Chomping away until she grew fat and lethargic.  After seven to ten days of gorging, our fully grown larva found a sturdy spot under one of the leaves or on the top of the plastic container. She shed her now striped and colorful skin one last time and became a pupa – The beginning of a miraculous metamorphosis.


It was during this stage in our Monarch’s life cycle that we all became anxious. Would she survive the most complex part of her transformation? Would we see her emerge as the beautiful butterfly we knew she should be? It almost always seemed to take longer than it should, and we worried when the pupa turned from a bright and bold green to a dingy and dark brown.  

And then it happened. The pupa started to shake – convulse almost, as the outer shell/skin eased off a black and brown soggy entity.  She wasn’t beautiful right away, but as we patiently waited for her wings to dry and expand, our Monarch became everything she was created to be.



Just as it seemed death may overtake her, beauty emerged. She was completely new.


I took a video of our daughter releasing her very first Monarch. The butterfly we had watched and nurtured since it was a larva was too comfortable in our home and yard. She waited on Maya’s hand for what seemed like forever before finally leaving to embrace her purpose. I get chills when I think her first flight, just as I giggle when I remember seeing the duck’s first swim.

The old was gone.

The new had come.


When the Soul Sings

Our butterfly was no longer what she once was, but may not have realized the need for change in her larva stage. She didn’t know she was made for more until she took flight and left the comfort of our home and yard.

The ducks were much the same – Afraid to leave their dry, captive space for the pond.

We relish in the new only when we realize the decrepity of the old.

As followers of Christ, our soul sings for joy when we fully understand that Christ has atoned for our sins. His death and resurrection behold new life. The wretchedness of our past is exchanged for the glory of our future.

Leaving the old requires repenting of sin – Seeing it for what it is and humbly confessing with our heart. It means seeking wisdom of those more astute in faith and understanding of the Word. It means engaging our heart and mind in active pursuit of the Father.

It means looking back on the first created being – God-breathed into humanity and bearing His very image (Genesis 2) – And knowing that one day we will be that way again – Without sin or shame in the very presence of our Father (Revelation 21).

New life means we pursue sanctification and the suffering equated with being made holy.

It means we embrace the change rather than run from it.

It means we learn from it.

Find joy in it.

Dive in.

Splash around.

Soar freely.  

And let our souls sing with gratitude for the present and great expectation of what’s to come in the future.

So live.

Live as the new creation you were intended to be HERE and NOW, and look forward to the promise that one glorious day ALL THINGS will be made completely NEW (Revelation 21:5).


Digging Deeper

We’ve barely scratched the surface of this incredible portion of scripture. To understand it more fully in a way that helps you love and know God more deeply, consider working through the following questions and activities.  

  • Read Genesis 1. Observe verses 26-28 carefully.
    • How were man and woman created (Genesis 2:7)?
    • What were they created to do?
    • In whose image were male and female created, and what do you think this means?
    • What did God do to his newly created beings?
    • Apply what you’ve learned and consider what life for Adam and Eve would have been like – Walking and talking with God?
    • How does this apply to 2 Corinthians 5:17? Read all of 2 Corinthians 5 (and even more if you have time) to gain a better understanding.


  • Try using the one of the Bible Study Methods on our resource page to observe and apply 2 Corinthians 5:17 (link here).  Be sure to read it within the context of the larger passage and book. It’s a small verse, but life-changing!


  • Read and observe John 3:3-7.  What does it mean to be “born again,” and how does this relate to 2 Corinthians 5:17?


  • What of your old self needs to die in order for you embrace new life? After reflecting on this question, offer a prayer of humble confession.


  • Are you truly living new? What would this look like in your everyday life? What would the evidence of becoming a “new creature” be? How would you be able to tell?


  • After reading all of 2 Corinthians 5, what do you think it means to be in Christ?  


  • Learn more about what the Bible says about living as a new creation in the following scriptures.  After memorizing 2 Corinthians 5:17, see if you memorize some of these others!
    • John 3:3-7
    • John 10:10
    • Romans 8:11-12
    • Romans 6:4
    • John 1:13
    • Colossians 3:9
    • Ephesians 4:24


About the Author: Lisa DaSilva is a wife, mom of two teenagers, and advocate for women to love God with their heart, soul and mind as they engage in responsible study of His Word.  She writes, speaks, and teaches the Bible to anyone who will read or listen.

Lisa is a teacher by trade and passion, voice for the marginalized, recovering striver, and lover of simplicity, authenticity, and all things pretty. She enjoys thrift store shopping and often has to convince people she’s an introvert.  Just a loud one.

Loving Jesus and making Him known really is her everything.  


Podcast 009 – “Comfort in the Desert”

“For the LORD comforts Zion; he comforts all her waste places and makes her wilderness like Eden, her desert like the garden of the LORD; joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the voice of song.”  Isaiah 51:3

Dry seasons can be overwhelming. Life brings experiences and situations that are bigger than our human flesh can endure and we may feel lost and alone in the journey.

Val Hooks and Lisa DaSilva bring our Desert Experience series to a close as they discuss God’s comfort in the driest of places and look to Ruth as an example of faithfulness.

Consider meditating on some these scriptures as you reflect on your own deserts and the comfort God can (and will) bring as you walk through them.

Isaiah 58:11
Isaiah 51:3
Isaiah 35
Psalm 107:35
Psalm 119:76
Psalm 9
Psalm 46





The last breath was the hardest.

We stood by his hospital bed singing hymns, crying, holding his hand, stroking his bandaged forehead.

Watching my inlaws and husband say goodbye to one who was so strong, vibrant, full of life, and gut-wrenchingly funny only a few short hours before still haunts me.

He was only 18.

They moved us into a small room down the hall so we could make phone calls and plans. His other siblings hadn’t made it on time and we were agonizing over having to call and tell them.  

It was there in this stark, cold room with fluorescent lights that my mother-in-law dropped to her knees with hands raised to the air. Tears streamed down her face as she began to praise God for the time she’d had with her son, for the gift Nate was to them, and for His continued faithfulness.

The social worker pulled me out into the hall.

She described the stages of grief and told me my sweet and spunky mother-in-law was delusional, but not to be alarmed. This was normal, to be expected, and would pass.

But she wasn’t, and it didn’t.

Though she wailed in desperation and wept in sadness for the days, weeks, and months that followed, Bernadette never stopped trusting and praising.


Not in the 19 years since Nate’s passing. Not after the death of her father that same winter. Not after her own debilitating and life-changing battle with cancer, and not after the tragic deaths of many of her closest friends.


Because she believes with every ounce of her slender five foot frame that God is sovereign. Always. Even when we don’t particularly like what’s happening.


The One Who Gets to Decide

I find great comfort studying scripture that points to God’s sovereign character, and the book of Daniel is one of my favorites. I often stop to declare the first two verses in moments of adversity or calamity. They sound somber at first glance, but tell of God’s great power and ultimate dominion.  

“In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. The Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, along with some of the vessels of the house of God; and he brought them to the land of Shinar, to the house of his god, and he brought the vessels into the treasury of his god.”

The city was in ruins. The temple destroyed. Sacred items were brought into Nebuchadnezzar’s kingdom. People were slaughtered and survivors led into captivity.

It was utter devastation.

Why would a good God allow this? For His beloved Judah to be ravaged and captured by Babylon? And why does this particular passage mean so much to me?

My deep appreciation of this scripture goes back to Israel’s exodus from Egypt.

The Lord saved the Israelites from captivity and gave them His commandments before they entered the Promised Land. The laws were accompanied by a stringent warning. If Israel obeyed, they would find blessing. If they disobeyed, calamity:

“The LORD will bring you and your king whom you set over you to a nation that neither you nor your fathers have known.” Deuteronomy 28:36

But Israel did not heed God’s warning. Instead of seeking the will of God and following His commandments, ‘everyone did what was right in his own eyes’ (Judges 21:25). Their sin had natural and corruptive consequences, but they blamed their distress on the lack of a king and pleaded that God give them one like the other nations had. It didn’t help. They put their faith in other gods and worshipped idols. God sent prophets to warn Israel of His impending wrath, but most did not repent and return to Him.

So God did what He had said He would do years before in Deuteronomy.  As warned, He willingly gave them over to a king and nation they had never known and made it clear that the captivity would last 70 years (Jeremiah 29:10).

Daniel remained in Babylon for the entire captivity. There were moments of intense fear, longing for home, and heartfelt prayers for the redemption of his fellow Hebrews. His life was in turmoil, but he never stopped believing, trusting, and living faithfully.

Though their circumstances were vastly different, Daniel and my mother-in-law have this in common: Resolve that God is always in control.  They understand that sometimes God purposes things to happen (Daniel 9:14), and sometimes He allows them for reasons we can’t comprehend or reconcile. We don’t always get to know which is which, but if we believe God is God and claim Him as LORD, we must also acknowledge Him as ruler – The One who gets to decide.


The Sovereignty of God

God as sovereign means He alone is the source of all power and existence. The Bible tells us that the entire universe is under God’s influence and authority. Consider just a few of these assertions about Him:

God is Infinite

“He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.” Colossians 1:17

“Before the mountains were born or You brought forth the whole world, from everlasting to everlasting, You are God.” Psalm 90:2

“Then He said to me, ‘It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost.” Revelation 21:6

God Knows All Things

“Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgements and unfathomable His ways.” Romans 11:33

“Great is our Lord and mighty in power; His understanding has no limit.” Psalm 147:5

“Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight.  Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.” Hebrews 4:13

God Can Do All Things and Accomplish All Things – Nothing is Impossible for Him

“Ah Lord God! Behold,You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and by Your outstretched arm! Nothing is too difficult for You.” Jeremiah 32:17

“Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26

“I am the LORD, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me? Jeremiah 32:27

“For nothing will be impossible with God.” Luke 1:1

God’s Purpose Prevails

“I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted.” Job 42:2

“The LORD does whatever pleases Him, in the heavens and on the earth, in the seas and in their depths.” Psalm 135:6

“The Lord brings the counsel of the nations to nothing; He frustrates the plans of the peoples. The counsel of the Lord stands forever, the plans of his heart to all generations. Psalm 33:10-11.

“The Lord works out everything to its proper end – even the wicked for a day of disaster.” Proverbs 16:4

God Rules Over All

“The Lord has established His throne in the heavens, and His sovereignty rules over all.” Psalm 103:19

“The LORD sits enthroned over the flood; the Lord is enthroned as King forever.” Psalm 29:10

“The Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom He will.” Daniel 4:17


What We Get to Decide

I’ve cried out to God many times pleading with Him to change seeming injustices, take pain away and protect the ones I love. I’ve wondered at His intention and will when walking through tragedy and adversity while not understanding (or liking) it. I read the news and shake my head at the corruption and sadness because I simply can’t comprehend the sin and oppression.  

But we’re invited to bring our requests and supplication (Philippians 4:6) before our sovereign God, and are assured that He is faithful to listen and hear our heart (1 John 5:14, 1 Peter 3:12, Romans  8:26).  Scripture also tells us that God is relentless in His love for us:

“The lovingkindness of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him, and His righteousness to children’s children.” Psalm 103:17

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end.” Lamentations 3:23

So while He gets to decide what’s best for His Kingdom and His children, I get to decide how I’ll respond – In submission to His authority, asking the tough stuff, and clinging to His love. I’m going to believe that He’s good and really will work everything out for those who love Him and care called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28) – Even if I don’t understand, and even if I don’t like it.   

Honestly, my deepest human desire and plea is that I’ll never have to experience the loss and tragedy my precious mother-in-law or the prophet Daniel did, and that those I love won’t either.  I can’t begin to imagine the earthly pain and have tears streaming down my cheeks just thinking about it.  I don’t know how I would respond, but my prayer is that the truth of the Word and my love for our Savior would compel me to praise Him for His sovereignty just like Bernadette and Daniel did – Knees to the earth, hands lifted high.


About the Author: Lisa DaSilva is a wife, mom of two teenagers, and advocate for women to love God with their heart, soul and mind as they engage in responsible study of His Word.  She writes, speaks, and teaches the Bible to anyone who will read or listen.

Lisa is a teacher by trade and passion, voice for the marginalized, recovering striver, and lover of simplicity, authenticity, and all things pretty. She enjoys thrift store shopping and often has to convince people she’s an introvert.  Just a loud one.

Loving Jesus and making Him known really is her everything.  








Protein Bites

These no-bake protein bites are perfect for school/work lunches, a healthy snack on hectic evenings, three-day weekend volleyball tournaments where food isn’t allowed in the gym and you need to stuff your face in the car between games (true story), or for my husband to feed a house full of pre-teen/teen boys and their dads on a Whistler ski trip (another true story).  (Really, the things we do to ourselves). They’re the most requested menu item at the DaSilva house these days, so I double the recipe and use my upright mixer.  Be sure to store them in the refrigerator, but I don’t think they’ll last long anyway.  Tweak the recipe to make it your own (I may or may not do this every single time) and enjoy!

  • 1 cup (dry) oats (I use quick-oats because I prefer the texture)
  • ½  cup natural peanut butter (Adam’s No-Stir is my fave)
  • ⅔ cup ground flax seeds
  • ½  cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • ⅓  cup honey
  • ¼ cup chia seeds (or less – or none – You can substitute with coconut or another small seed)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and mix everything until well-combined and crumbly.  If you can form a bite-sized ball by pressing a small handful of the mixture together, keep making those little pieces of yum and store them in an airtight container in the fridge.  If they’re falling apart, add more peanut butter or honey.  I like mine less sweet, so usually opt for the peanut butter instead. Feel free to share how you changed it to make it your own!

When You Feel Alone

“And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:20



I crave moments of it but dread it as imposition.

My gut tells me you can relate.

We see pictures of friends together on social media and feel alone.  Even if we weren’t interested in attending or participating.  Worse if we were.

Choosing the extent of our aloneness brings freedom, but having it willed upon us consorts chains. Strong ones.  The kind that tell us we’re unworthy, unloved, destined to be this way forever.  The kind that isolate.

And that’s exactly where the enemy wants us. Bound in isolation where he can fill our head with lies.

But God.  His Living Word combats the ugly lies so we never have to believe them again.

His Truth sets us free.

The evil one tells you you’re unworthy, but Jesus loved you enough to suffer and redeem you. (John 3:16, Romans 5:8)  

He convinces you that you’re unknown, but God Himself formed you, knew you before you were born, ordained your life, and has numbered the hairs of your head.  He knows you better than you know yourself. (Jeremiah 1:5, Psalm 139:1-18, Luke 12:7)

You believe no one cares, but He does.  More than any earthly person ever could. (1 Peter 5:7)

You may feel alone.  Maybe you are.  Physically.  Right now.  Rejected by flesh.  

But you aren’t really alone, daughter of the King.  

He promised to never leave you (Deut. 31:6).

He is with you.   

Even to the end of the age (Matthew 28:20).


About the Author: Lisa DaSilva is a wife, mom of two teenagers, and advocate for women to love God with their heart, soul and mind as they engage in responsible study of His Word.  She writes, speaks, and teaches the Bible to anyone who will read or listen.

Lisa is a teacher by trade and passion, voice for the marginalized, recovering striver, and lover of simplicity, authenticity, and all things pretty. She enjoys thrift store shopping and often has to convince people she’s an introvert.  Just a loud one.

Loving Jesus and making Him known really is her everything.  



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