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  1. Paulettra says:


    I too know this feeling as both my son and husband are incarcerated. Holidays for me are a downer because I’m an only child and have no family (other than my husbands) near me. But I’m thankful that all three of my children are alive, my three beautiful grandchildren are happy and healthy. My middle daughter is expecting another baby girl next month. My husbands pardon is moving through the process and prayerfully we’ll be getting word it’s been approved. Most of all I’m thankful that God has always carried me through every season of trials. Thank you for sharing your story–it was heartwarming to know that I’m not alone in my sorrow around the holidays.

    1. Dear Paulettra…what a beautiful name you have! My mother’s name is Pauline, my sister (who was born on her birthday) is Paula, and we named our son, Jason Paul, so that’s a very special name to me.
      I love that you listed so many things you’re thankful for in the middle of facing a challenging holiday season. I’m praying right now for your family and for your husband.

  2. This is so timely as I struggle with a new normal of my broken marriage that ended last year. I haven’t been able to fully began healing because my ex won’t leave our home unless we sell it so that he has money to rent his next place. I want to keep the home. It’s been difficult selling and I realized I can keep it. Please pray that we finally resolve this last hurdle so we both can move on after being divorced for over a year. This has been torture for me. It’s time.

    1. Raine, I’m so sorry you’re going through this very difficult time. I’m praying for resolution of the financial details of this hard situation and I’m also praying that God will give you a tangible sense of His presence for every step of this journey.

  3. Ellen Grable says:

    I thank God for you my son is also inmate he is part of wonderful Christian program. He serving the Lord teaching preaching to other inmates .i read your books they encouraged me through a very hard time. Please pray for my family as I pray for your family. I live in Anchorage Alaska

    1. Ellen, what a wonderful report this is on the ministry your son has behind bars! I pray that God will bless him with purpose and meaning every day. I’m also praying for your whole family as you experience the separation of having a loved one in prison.

  4. I’m thankful for Carol Kent every day!🤷🏻‍♂️💕🙏

    1. Aww…I wasn’t expecting this comment. 🙂 I’m blessed to be married to you, Gene Kent! Thank you for being a great dad to Jason and for being the best partner for me as we minister together. I’m grateful!

  5. Tammy Whitehurst says:

    I love you. You and Gene always have your heads up instead of down. Ooooooh to sit with you again on my deck outside and just talk about life. Through the dim days, disappointments, the laughter, and the love…..God is still good. Come on back to Texas, my table has plenty of turkey to feed you both and lots of pie to feed our faces. I sure would love to just sit and listen to your wisdom over a good cup of coffee.
    ((((((((BigHugeHug))))))) Tammy Whitehurst

    1. Happy Thanksgiving, Tammy! Thank you for this precious comment and for your amazing encouragement to us as we continue to walk through a journey we didn’t anticipate. You are a joy-giver and I praise God for your powerful ministry and for your friendship! And yes, I’d LOVE to sit on your deck, drink coffee together, and share all that God is doing–in the good times and in the hard times! Love you, friend!

  6. My family needs prayer. We are Christians and we love the Lord, but anger, jealousy, resentment still remain, keeping us estranged. Holidays and birthdays are exceptionally difficult. My heart breaks. Please pray for this broken family of God.

    1. Dana, your post represents many people who are estranged from their families during the holiday season. I’m praying that God will bring forgiveness, understanding, wisdom, compassion, and renewed love to your family. While you wait and pray for resolution and spiritual renewal, take heart. The verse God brought to my mind as I read this post it Zeph. 3:17: “For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.”

  7. Son and daughter-in-law have decided to divorce after 16 years of marriage. Love them both. Praying that they both would put God first and work things out. They are living together until daughter-in-law can buy a house.

    1. Marcy, I’m praying for your son and daughter-in-law and for you. It’s so hard to watch our children go through hard times. It changes the dynamics in the family and I’m praying that you have wisdom for every step of this journey.

  8. Tracy Arntzen says:

    Carol – your encouragement always feels heaven sent! Thank you for walking in ministry when life circumstances suggests you are disqualified. We are not! My prayer is for my two sisters, estranged for a year due to some deep challenges surrounding the death of our mother a year ago. 😢🙏🏻

    1. Oh, Tracy, I’m so sorry you are estranged from your sisters. I can only imagine how difficult that makes the holiday season. Thank you for the reminder that the enemy wants us to feel disqualified to serve because of the wrong choices of those we love. But he won’t win! I’m praying that God will bring forgiveness, renewed love, and reconciliation to your family.

  9. Carol, I along with countless others join you in asking God for that end-of-sentence date for Jason, even as we know he’s being used in far more significant ways on the inside than most of us on the “outside.” But still we ASK – ask, seek, and knock – as we petition God for his mercy. We want to see your son home. So grateful for you and your ministry, dear friend!

    1. Maggie, what a precious friend you are! Thank you for the reminder to “ask, seek, knock,” as we pray for God’s mercy. I’m praying for you right now as you go through your first Thanksgiving and Christmas without the camaraderie and encouragement of your best friend, Lucinda Secrest McDowell. I’m missing her as well–but I’m also rejoicing that she’s spending her first Christmas in heaven.

  10. I’m struggling to find my peace of mind and heart and soul. Please pray for me. Thank you!

    1. Thanks for sharing, Maureen. I’m praying that God will bring peace to your mind and heart.

  11. Cathy Goff says:

    My son is spending his 7th Thanksgiving incarcerated! My youngest son tried to commit suicide in August of this year but by the grace of God he’s still here with us. He’s actually living with us. I had elbow surgery in October and my husband is having shoulder surgery in December. So we’ve had a trying year. Holidays are tough. But I am so thankful for my son who amazes me everyday with his attitude. He’s one of the most positive people I know. He is finishing his college degree while in prison and plays the drums at the praise band at church. He’s also received his HVAC certification and working on his welding certification. He’s in a faith and character facility and it’s truly an answered prayer. If he has to be where he is I’m so thankful he’s at Walker State in Georgia!
    I am thankful I still have my Eli! He is getting help and growing spiritually ! It’s a blessing having him home.
    And not sure I could do life without my husband.
    And my precious sisters in Christ have been so supportive and amazing prayer warriors!
    So God is good! Thanks for all you do! Your books have helped me through some tough times.

    1. Cathy, what a POWERFUL testimony! I’m praising God that your youngest son is doing so much better and I’m praying for your incarcerated son–that God will continue to use him for His glory as he serves the Lord behind bars. It sounds like he’s turned his life around with God’s help–and that’s a lot to be thankful for. Have a blessed Thanksgiving!

  12. Bets Whitehead says:

    Thank you for these words Carol. Our son being in prison for 20 years as you know has changed our household. It’s hard to have holidays. We miss Garrett so very much. When we place our trust in God he miraculously makes a way for us to tromp thru the hard times, even when we think we can’t. I am so thankful for God loving my son even more than me. I keep praying that at FCI ENGLEWOOD in Denver Colorado, that someone will walk into the path of my son and remind him who Jesus is. He knows who he is, he has just become hardened to it all, and says he wants nothing to do with any of it. It hurts my heart, especially knowing it’s the only thing that has got me through it. I’ve know Jesus all my life, and would not be who I am today without him. Please pray for us, please pray for Garrett Findlay thank you, Happy Thanksgiving to you 💗

    1. Thank you for writing, Bets. I’m praying for Garrett right now–that God will put someone in his path who will help him to find his way back to the Lord. Twenty years is a long time. Our son has been incarecerated for 24 years–so I know the pain of watching your son become middle-aged behind bars. I pray that God will bless you in unexpected ways over the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.

  13. Aimee Guernsey says:

    I am grateful for my grandchildren. They bring me so much peace and joy. Giving thanks brings joy to my even though I am struggling. I am in my late 60s and last month was put on redeployment at my job. I was both hurt and shocked. I am single and have to work. I know God has a bigger and better plan for me. I tell myself over and over “This Too Shall Pass” and it will.
    I pray your son Jason continues to help others. He sounds like a remarkable man and is such a blessing to those around him.
    Have a beautiful and blessed Thanksgiving.

    Kind Regards,

    1. Aimee, I’m so sorry that you’ve had challenges in your job situation recently. I’ll be praying that there will be some good things that come out of this transition, even if it doesn’t look like it right now. I know your grandchildren bring you a lot of joy. Have a blessed Thanksgiving weekend.

  14. Melodee Gragg says:

    Thank you Carol for your uplifting words. Two years ago New years Eve, my then 18 year old foster son, who had just celebrated his 18th birthday on December 19th, went to Las Vegas with another you g boy to “rob” people for money but ended up killing 2 people…one, a casino employee and the other, a Mom, wife, & grandmother on vacation from Hawaii celebrating the New Year. Like your son, he, Jordan, is smart, being scouted for sport from many colleges, but trying to win his Mother’s attention & love. I taught Pre school for 30 years, Jordan was my student, one day his mother said she didn’t want to be a mother anymore, would I take him, and I did. Though he is not my biological son, he IS my son, my w children, high school age sees him as their little brother and for the last two years we have visited him in Las Vegas, as often as possible. (We live in Victorville, CA) I first heard you story at a women’s even in Anaheim and my heart went out to you then. To keep this short, I would like you to know that I have been reading “Waiting Together” daily as a devotional. I’ve read your other book as well, but reading this daily keeps my heart open to God’s word throughout this “waiting” period. His trial has already been postponed once and will be again in March 2024. I am a Christian, so I know and believe this is God’s will for Jordan and the one thing I am grateful for is I know where he is and off the street…even with the potential dangers in jail & prison, u know being there may have saved his life on the “outside” As we both deal with the holidays, i pray we always see the good in all Hos has done. Happy Holidays to you and Mr. Kent & yes it’s it unfortunate, but we are not along in our situations. God Bless, Melodee

    1. Thanks for your note, Melodee! I have a background in education, too, so I’m envisioning what it must have been like for you to know and love a student–who eventually became your son. I can only imagine the emotional pain you’ve experienced over your son’s crime, arrest, and incarceration. I’m praying that God will draw him close to Himself and that you’ll have the strength you need as you await the trial. I love your comment: “As we both deal with the holidays, i pray we always see the good in all He has done.” That’s my prayer for both of us, too.

  15. Catherine K says:

    My husband died 6 weeks prior to Thanksgiving last year. Our son is “incarcerated “ in a prison of his own making, of sin and deception, leading him to death and destruction. (Nothing illegal; he’s recently turned his back on God and the repentance he was walking out 5 years ago.)
    I am thankful for the memories of my husband and the GriefShare ministry that I am now leading at my church to help others who are struggling with their grief. I am thankful for the truth of Scriptures that I can speak to my son, and that he hears from others.

    1. Catherine, I’m so sorry to hear about the loss of your husband last year and I’m praying that you are blessed with sweet memories of the time you spent together as you go through the holidays this year. I’m also praying that your son will come back to the Lord. Thanks for your comments.

  16. William Jacobs says:

    Thank you sister

    1. You are very welcome! And thanks, too, for your recent gift to Speak Up for Hope. You are a blessing!

  17. This is helpful because of few days ago I began to feel it. Our oldest daughter won’t be here to celebrate the holidays coming because she was murdered by her significant other. Thank you for this article.

    1. Oh, Anissa…what sadness and grief! I’m heartbroken for you over the loss of your daughter. I’m praying that God will cover you with a tangible sense of His presence and with His peace.

  18. Melodee Gragg says:

    Carol, thank you for your response to my comment. Will you you in the Southern California area any time soon and if so, do you ever have time to speak to fans such as myself.

  19. Lynn Neely says:

    So well said Carol! Happy Thanksgiving to you all! May God continue to bless you and yours!! Love you! Keep on doing what you are doing! GREAT will be your reward!!

    1. Thank you, Lynn! Have a blessed Thanksgiving weekend with your family.

  20. Donna laMar says:

    Praying for you and your family. Praying for all you do for the Lord.

    1. Thank you for your lovely comment, Donna! Your prayers are greatly appreciated. Have a blessed Thanksgivng with your family.

  21. Beverley Anglin says:

    Oh Carol, I admire your strength and perspectives with your son incarcerated. I have son who does not take his freedom seriously, he is on probation after serving 6 yrs in prison and caming home January 23 and this is his second time in jail over stupidity, but every time I see God mercies and protection over his life. I am trusting this time he gets it. I need my friend to connect with you, she has only child (son) serving life sentence also. I know you can bless her. I will keep you and your family life up in prayer. I would like to help financially with prison mission with what little I have.

    1. Dear Bev, I am so sad about your son and all the challenges you are facing. I’ll be praying that God gets a grip on his life and that he starts making godly choices. Thanks, too, for your prayers for our family. I’m also praying for your friend. To make donations to our prison ministry, go to http://www.speakupforhope.org. We know God is allowing us to make a difference, one step at a time.

  22. Cheryl Nalian says:

    November marks the anniversary of four tragedies in our family. Being thankful has helped me. Today, November 22 would be my 28th wedding anniversary. My husband passed away in 2021 from Covid-19. God has allowed me to use art & writing to heal. Here’s my piece on November:
    ~Not in November~

    People would describe me as an easy-going, go-with-the-flow kind of person, but not in November.
    People who have known me all my life know me as a person with lots of patience and perseverance– but not now; not in November.
    If you met me in November, you know me as a person with little tolerance. You know me as a person who is “on edge,” a person who is distracted and confused.
    Alone time feels so much lonelier in November. Other people’s anxiety seems so much more anxious. Loud noises seem so much louder. Cold air feels so much colder–in November.
    Why November? Why did you pick November to cause death and disease and devastation? Why all in November? And now, the two dates that were something positive to look forward to in November, Thanksgiving and my anniversary, which happen in the same week, sometimes on the very same day, will never be the same. Why? Because I can not celebrate an anniversary alone with only one person here– in November.
    Well, what about Thanksgiving? It is still going to be Thanksgiving.
    Yes. Yes, we should always remember to be thankful. November is a good reminder to be thankful because of the special day we all set aside to be with family, eat our favorite food, and sit around and be thankful.
    But now, in November, when cold is the coldest, loud is the loudest and lonely is the loneliest I am to be thankful? For what?
    This. Thankful for a home to sit around in. Thankful for food to be served as someone’s favorite. Thankful for the heat inside and coats, jackets, mittens, and hats to put on for the outside. Thankful for those who are sitting around the table. Thankful for the memories of the one who used to fill the empty seat.
    If my trials and tragedies had happened in any other month, I may have forgotten the importance of being thankful, but–
    not in November.

    1. Oh, Cheryl, so much sadness and pain–right during the holiday season! I’m praying for you on this Thanksgiving Day. I’m praying God will give you unexpected “splashes of joy” as you remember your loved ones.

  23. Blanca Gaytan says:

    Hi Carol:
    I Thank God for you, and pray that one day you can see Jason serving God, outside prison, God is good!!!
    About 14 years ago my son also was encarcelated, had a centence of 54 years to life, he was only 14 at the time of the crime, my heart goes out to you and your family, I know what it is to have your love one in prison, God has blessed us by putting a wonderful attorney to help my son, this man is like an angel, to us he took my son’s case for 10 years and wouldn’t let go, until he was able to help him be outside he is not even a criminal attorney, but he did it, is been 2 years that my son is walking free out there no more prison, God knows how thankful I am, I pray that you and your husband Gene; get the joy of seeing your son Jason, serving God outside those walls, please thank your husband for calling me around those horrible days, and you sent me a book, thank you; there is so much I want to say to you, the little you might think you did was a wonderful thing for me, just knowing that you are not alone in those painful moments means a lot to someone, thankful to know you, God will do, for you what he did for my son and me.
    Have a wonderful Thanksgiving full of blessings. ⚘💙💛❤.

    1. Dear Blanca…your powerful testimony gives me fresh hope. I’m so thrilled that your son is walking in freedom and I’m praying that your Thanksgiving weekend will be filled with memory-making moments. Thanks, too, for your ongoing prayers for our family.

  24. Rebecca Gillean says:

    I enjoyed reading your Challenge about being thankful. You have made a difficult situation into a blessing to others…

  25. I too have a son who is incarcerated. He is halfway through his first year of a 7-year sentence. I have been told in no uncertain terms that my son will no longer be welcome to any family events. I can see both sides of this, but it crushes me. I am not sure that my church will allow him entrance either. Thanksgiving has been my husband, my son and his kids at my house. My other 3 children celebrate with their other families. This year is the first year that we will be totally alone.
    I know that God will forgive him. He is in two Bible study groups. I have looked at what God has given to me. I cannot talk about this to anyone, not even my husband wants to talk about it and how we feel.
    I thank God for His goodness and mercy. Without Him, I don’t think I would make it.
    The joy that sprang to my soul when I got your email caused tears to overflow. You are the blessing that God sent me. Thank you.

    1. Vicky, thank you for writing. I feel the pain and the isolation in your note and I’m praying that God’s presence will be near to you on this Thanksgiving Day. He is close to the brokenhearted. I’m also praying that your son will be drawn close to the Lord during these next 7 years of incarceration. Thanks again for writing.

  26. Lisa Reinsma says:

    Thank you Carol for sharing again and again your life experiences of both anguish and joy. I remembered to pray for you and Gene and Jason yesterday while I also missed my son around our Thanksgiving table. When I am tempted to give in to my grief over the rift in my family, I lift my heart to Jesus, and find my way to gratitude. Bless you!

    1. I’m praying for you and your family, Lisa–that the rift will be healed.

  27. Cindy Miller says:

    I’m really struggling with a divorce after a 40 year marriage. My children are angry with me and do not understand all the pain I suffered. It really hurts and I don’t get to be with my grandchildren very often. Yesterday was really a sad day for me. I’m grateful for wonderful friends and being at your conference last month.

    1. Cindy, what a hard Thanksgiving and Christmas season this is for you. I’m so grateful to know you have wonderful friends and that you were able to be at the conference. My prayer for you is that God will bring an unexpected peace and comfort to your heart and that you will feel His presence surrounding you.

  28. Mary Hook says:

    Your words are so true,all we have to do is look around us and see how truly blessed we are. I am grateful I woke up this morning, for the coffee I’m drinking, for my health and my family’s health, grateful I have a roof over my head. We have so much to be thankful for. God bless!!!!

  29. Sandra Warner says:

    Thanks for sharing, Carol. I have heard you speak at many events, and always a blessing to hear you speak of the trials you’ve endured and the faith and love and joy you still possess in those trials, and that God gets us to the other side. He says he’ll never leave you nor forsake you, and you’ve faithfully carried on. Praying for your son to have hope, peace and patience as he ministers with you from the inside. Merry Christmas!🎄🎁

    1. Sandra, your encouraging comments are precious to me. Thank you for your words of hope. Have a blessed Christmas!