You’re Not Alone

by Janine Smale

Grief.  How do I describe it? It’s gut wrenching and lonely.  It’s dark. Oppressive. Inexpressible.

I found myself in such a state after dealing with the loss of my Mother, who was my best friend, to cancer. My Father passed when I was 16 and now at 41, I was an orphan.

I felt alone.  For weeks, as my Mom laid in her hospital bed, I had prayed she would not leave this earth on my one year wedding anniversary. As the day drew to a close, praise the Lord, this prayer was answered.  She departed for His eternal kingdom minutes into the next day. Thankfully, my husband Brian was by my side as I processed that I was now an orphan. God was drawing me near, and oh how comforting were the words, “Abba, Father”.

My Mother’s last visit with us was during the previous Christmas season.  During this time, we saw a Christmas drama at our church with an adoption theme.  The drama featured a song by Meredith Andrews, titled You’re Not Alone.  The words in the chorus penetrated my heart.

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Adopting Gratitude and Extending Generosity

By Katie M. Reid

It was a snowy day—over two years ago—much like today. We invited our friends and photographers, Drew and Alyssa, to come and capture the special occasion.

For months and months we anticipated this moment, when Strong One would officially become part of our family. In our eyes and hearts he was already a part of our family but the court deemed it official on November 26th.

We celebrated.

I felt like I’d been holding my breath for years and I could finally fully exhale.

Adoption has stretched and shaped us in surprising, wonderful and challenging ways. It is not easy but it is worth it. Strong One is worth it.

Every waiting moment, every cost, every heartbreak was worth it.

Today, we give thanks. We give gratitude to God for answering our prayers. We honor Strong One’s birthmother who carried him to term and made the hardest decision of her life by placing him in our arms. We celebrate our family of seven and know that we are here only by His Grace.


Extending Thanks

Out of our gratitude for God’s miracle in bringing Strong One to us and us to him, we started Extension 26. We want to keep giving thanks by investing in others who are adopting, extending, and uplifting others for His glory.

To know more about this ministry and how you can contribute, visit Katie’s blog.



Photo credit: Alyssa Wagner Photography



Katie M. Reid is a tightly wound woman who fumbles to receive and extend grace in everyday moments. She delights in her hubby, four children (and one on the way) and their life in ministry. Through her writing, singing, speaking and photography she encourages others to find grace in the unraveling of life.

Connect with Katie at and on Twitter and Facebook.


Katie is also the author of “Extra Salt on the Fries” a memoir piece found in Tales of Our Lives: Reflection Pond by Matilda Butler (available on Amazon).

That is why once a month we showcase a different minister to pray for, give to and encourage. You can view the list of recipients here.

The details of Extension 26:

We want to be more faithful in giving and be more generous; intentionally living out what the Word says. So each month we are giving $26 on the 26th of each month to a different ministry or project that supports the things that God does and we do.

Our criteria for the organizations/projects is that:

  • They love Jesus and make Him known.
  • They are trustworthy and good stewards of what they are given.
  • They champion (support or defend) a cause that is close to God’s heart and ours.


What does this have to do with you?

We are asking you to prayerfully consider joining our family by being a part of Extension 26. All you have to do is give $26 on the 26th of each month (of course you can give more or less- however God leads you). You can choose your own organization/projects, but we will spotlight who we are giving to each month. We are NOT collecting any money from anyone, only providing encouragement and accountability to do so directly to other ministries/projects.

Would you join us?

There is such joy in giving.

American culture lies to us, saying, “Get more so you can be happy. Hold on to what you have so it will not taken. Pile up your possessions so you can be prestigious and comfortable.” But you know what? As I read Scripture and as I read the book, Kisses from Katie, I felt uncomfortable. Uncomfortable will all this stuff sitting around, piling up with a heavy weight – oh, the burden of “stuff management”! So much time, stress, and emotion is required to deal with our excess.

“The more you give the more joy you experience. The more you let go the more you really gain. The more you bless the richer you are in spirit.”

Acts 20:35 reveals, ‘In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words of the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’

With thanksgiving, for our salvation… and with joy for all that He has done, let’s give more faithfully and intentionally this year.

I love this quote from Mercy House Founder, Kristen Welch, “We had no idea what God was going to do, we just stepped out and said yes.”

Even if your “yes” feels small, you can have a big impact when you give out of thanksgiving.

  • Is God asking you to take a leap of faith?
  • Will you say “yes” even when you don’t know how the next chapter will end?
  • Will you follow the steps of Jesus and do the will of the Father as He leads?


Let’s extend ourselves on behalf of Someone much greater than ourselves.