Wishing on Willows Devotional: Grace

A long, long time ago, when preparing for the release of Wishing on Willows, I wrote several devotionals that went along with the themes of the book. Over the next several weeks, I’m going to be posting these devotionals here on my blog in hopes that they will encourage you!

As you all probably know, yesterday was Mother’s Day, which is a lovely amazing holiday for so many and a great way to celebrate the women who have played a mother-like role in our lives.

But for those who have lost their mothers. For those who have lost their children. For those who long to be mothers but have no children to hold. For those with children who are alive, but far, far away…

Mother’s Day can be hard.

So to those who felt the sting on Sunday, this devotion is for you.

grace is pain quote from Willows

Excerpt from the book:

“If that pain brings us to the throne of God. If it brings us to our knees before the King of kings.” She placed her fingers beneath his chin and tipped his face to look up at hers. “Oh honey, there’s amazing grace in that.” ~Maureen McKay, Wishing on Willows


When I contemplate God’s grace, I often think about good things. Forgiveness, obviously. Restored relationships. Healing and freedom. Sometimes I even equate God’s grace with finding a spouse or getting a promotion at work or populating a big house with healthy children or fulfilling a dream.

But what if that’s only one side of the coin?

What if God’s grace comes wrapped in deferred dreams? Or broken relationships or scary prognoses from doctors or unemployment or infertility or any thorn that pierces our flesh?

As much as that empty tomb shouts “Grace! Grace!”, let’s not forget that the cross does too. With those nails and on that tree, grace and suffering are so tightly woven, the two are indecipherable.

I read the red words of Jesus—blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted (Mt 5:3-4) and I’m reminded of a woman I met in Africa. A woman, who by America’s standards, had nothing. Abandoned by her husband, sick with AIDS, six children in a squalid shack and somehow, she radiated joy. This woman didn’t have to wonder if God was enough, she knew it in the marrow of her bones.

There is a special blessing that comes in the midst of hardship. It’s in those moments, when we fall on our faces with nothing, our dreams dashed, our plans and our goals no longer, that we cling to Him with a ferocity we don’t find in the midst of prosperity. God’s presence is magnified in the hard. We don’t just have an intellectual knowledge about His strength, we experience it. It holds us together. It keeps us breathing.

And Paul’s nonsensical words—when I am weak, then I am strong? They make sense and our definition of grace expands.


The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. ~Psalm 34:18 (NIV)


Father God, would your grace rain down, no matter what season or circumstance we find ourselves in. Hold us as we cling to You.

*If you would like to learn more about Wishing on Willows or purchase your very own copy, please click here!*

2 thoughts on “Wishing on Willows Devotional: Grace

  1. Renee Taylor

    Wow Katie this is a great devotion. Came at a time I needed this so rich reminder. Thanks for sharing your God given talent of writing with us!

  2. “God’s presence is magnified in the hard.” Found to be absolutely true, Katie. Beautiful devotion.


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