The Making of a Man
Part 4


We have seen how Sarah, Lincoln’s first mother, instilled in him early the value of integrity and kindness.
We have spoken of Lincoln’s stepmother, who encouraged him in his learning pursuits and how she earned the title, “Angel Mother.”
We have seen his honor compelled him to marry a woman, neither compatible with him nor respectful to him.
Now let’s look at the man.

His most striking characteristic was a melancholy so deep words can hardly convey its depth.
One close friend said, “If he ever had a happy day in twenty years, I never knew of it. A perpetual look of sadness was his most prominent feature. Melancholy dripped from him as he walked.”
Senator Beveridge, after studying Lincoln’s career more than anyone else, concluded “the dominant quality in Lincoln’s life from 1849 to the end was a sadness so profound that the depths of it cannot be sounded or estimated by normal minds.”

Yet Lincoln brought laughter to others. His story telling brought people rolling off their chairs.
Judge Davis stopped court to listen to him.
Herndon tells, “Crowds thronged about him holding their sides and laughing the hours away.”

And so the years passed until one event altered Lincoln’s course, and started him toward the White House.
The repeal of the Missouri Compromise aroused Lincoln. He could not remain quiet. And so he prepared his speech.
On October 3 at the State Fair at Springfield, Douglas spoke.
The next day, Lincoln gave his rebuttal.
This homely man, whose wife was ashamed of him, was starting on that October afternoon toward a career that would give him “a place among the immortals.”

Lincoln gave the first great speech of his life. He was stirred by slavery’s great wrong, yet he understood the Southern people, “I have no prejudice against the Southern people. They are just what we would be in their situations. If slavery did not now exist among them, they would not introduce it. If it did now exist among us, we should not instantly give it up.”

In two years, he made the White House.
An editorial about Lincoln in an Illinois paper read:
“Hon. Abe Lincoln is undoubtedly the most unfortunate politician that has ever attempted to rise in Illinois. In everything he undertakes, politically, he seems doomed to failure. He has been prostrated often enough in his political schemes to have crushed the life out of any ordinary man.”

But Lincoln was no ordinary man.

Before Lincoln left Springfield for the White House, the South began to succeed.
The Confederacy bought guns, built forts and drilled soldiers.
The Union was dissolving.
The former president did nothing.
Lincoln had promised "to preserve, protect and defend" the Union. By his integrity, he must lead the nation into war.
He didn’t sleep. He lost forty pounds.
He saw a vision. He had two faces: one very pale.
Mrs. Lincoln said it was sign he’d be elected two office terms, but wouldn’t live through the second term.

Before leaving his state, he visited his stepmother.
She clung to him, “I didn’t want you to run for President, Abe, and I didn’t want to see you elected. My heart tells me that something will happen to you, and that I’ll never see you again till we meet in heaven.”

Lincoln was going to Washington to die. He knew it.
He received death threats every day in the mail.

He spoke to his neighbors from the train that would take him to Washington. “I now leave, not knowing when or whether I may return, with a task before me greater than that which rested upon Washington. Without the assistance of that Divine Being who ever attended him, I cannot succeed. With that assistance, I cannot fail. Trusting in Him, who can go with me, and remain with you, and be everywhere for good, let us confidently hope that all will yet be well. To His care commending you as I hope in your prayers you will commend me, I bid you an affectionate farewell.”

It was one of the two speeches where he wept.

When he reached the White House without a bullet in his heart, many were surprised. Others disappointed.

Thousands flocked to the White House within two hours of Lincoln’s arrival demanding appointments, favors, and help.

Beggars wanted lunch. Widows cried for help. Hundreds wanted his autograph.
They interrupted his lunch.
They accosted him in his carriage on the streets.
They continued even after the nation had been at war for a year and a half.
They appealed to Lincoln with their greed and selfishness.

President Zachary Taylor had been killed by these office-seekers before he had been president a year and a half.
President “Tippecanoe” Harrison’s worry over it killed him in four weeks.
But Lincoln endured these office-seekers, while fighting a war.

When suffering an attack of smallpox, Lincoln said, “Tell all the office-seekers to come at once, for now I have something I can give to all of them.”

In addition to these job seekers, within 24 hours of being in the White House, Lincoln was confronted with Fort Sumter’s condition. They were out of food. Should he provide food or surrender to the Confederates?
If he refused food, he would encourage secession.
In his inaugural address he promised to “preserve, protect and defend” the Union.

He would keep his oath.
He gave food to the fort.
He called for men.

Banks hesitated to extend credit. The Government paid twelve per cent for loans.
Everyone agreed, “Let’s strike one sharp blow, capture Lee’s army, and have this nasty mess over and done with once and for all.”
Everyone except the military authorities.
The army wasn’t ready. The army was raw, untrained, and without discipline.
But Lincoln bowed to the public’s cry and ordered an advance.
Bull Run resulted.
Those who didn’t run after the first massacre, fled when the Confederate back-up army came that afternoon.

Lincoln rushed to the War Department to read the telegrams from the field. He found General Scott taking a nap. Scott replied to how the fighting was going by saying, “I don’t know how many men are in the field, where they are, how they are armed, how they are equipped, or what they are capable of doing. Nobody comes to tell me, and I am in ignorance about it.”
Scott was head of all Union armies.

London banker agents, fearing Union’s destruction, rushed to the Treasure Department on Sunday, demanding the United States Government give security immediately for $40,000 owed them.
They were told, “Come back on Monday. The United States Government would probably still be doing business at the old stand then.”

Lincoln knew failure and defeat before. It didn’t crush him now.
He stayed true to his cause.
He mingled among the disheartened soldiers, shaking hands, saying, “God bless you.”
It would be a long war. He knew that now.

McClellan became Lincoln’s leader.
McClellan’s disrespect and disobedience of Lincoln’s orders would have angered any other man.
He talked, delayed, procrastinated and gave excuses.
When he wouldn’t advance, he told Lincoln the army was resting.
Lincoln asked, what it had done to make it tired.
When McClellan refused to advance when victory was sure, he explained he couldn’t move because his horses were fatigued and had sore tongues.
When Lincoln visited him, McClellan kept him waiting for hours.
Once when McClellan returned at 11 PM, he passed the door where the President had waited for hours. He went upstairs and sent word he’d gone to bed.

As newspapers retold these incidents, Mrs. Lincoln begged Lincoln remove that “awful wind-bag.”
“Mother,” he replied, “I know he doesn’t do right, but I mustn’t consider my feelings at a time like this. I am willing to hold McClellan’s hat, if he will only bring us victories.”

McClellan blamed his defeats on “those traitors in Washington.” He didn’t have enough men, yet his troops were twice the enemy. His telegrams to the President were insulting. The telegraph operator refused to deliver them.

Lincoln could get half a million soldiers willing to die and a hundred million dollars for rifles, bullets and blankets more easily than finding one worthy leader.

The bloodshed continued.

He fell to his knees, asking the Almighty to send him a Robert E. Lee or a Joseph E. Johnston or a Stonewall Jackson.

Edmund Clarence Stedman’s poem described the bleeding, distraught nation. Every verse ended, “Abraham Lincoln, give us a Man.”
When Lincoln read it, he wept.

He tried other leaders for two years.
At night, Lincoln paced the White House floors.
Some say McClellan was the best commander the Army of the Potomac had…A far cry to what the others were like.

When Pope replaced McClellan, Pope boasted of miracles.
When Pope led the army into battle, Lincoln ordered McClelland to rush his men to Pope’s aid to protect the capital.
McClellan delayed. “Let Mr. Pope get out of his own scrapes.”
It was Bull Run again. Only the North feared their capital was lost.
People accused McClellan of being a traitor.
Stranton would have knocked him over.
Chase said the man ought to be shot.
But Lincoln condemned no one. He had met defeat too often to blame another for failure.
Pope failed, but had done his best.
Lincoln sent Pope to the Northwest to subdue the Indians.
His cabinet condemned his actions.

A few months later, McClellan refused to obey orders to follow Lee after the Battle of Antietam. The army was taken from him again. His military career was finished.

Burnside was appointed.
After Fredericksburg and losing 13,000 men, men deserted.
Another braggart, “Fighting Joe” Hooker led the men into slaughter.
Gloom settled over the nation.

Lincoln escaped from the war’s pressures by playing with his sons, Willie and Tad.
He’d play “town ball,” shot marbles, romped and rolled, and played with their two goats.
Tad and Willie entertained the White House with their minstrel shows, put the servants through military drill, and aided many applicants asking for job. When their cats had kittens, they interrupted a Cabinet meeting to tell their father.
When Salmon P. Chase told the country’s grave financial situation, Tad climbed over his father to perch on his shoulders.
When Willie died, after riding his pony in the rain, Lincoln wept.
Lincoln’s public duties suffered.

If that weren’t enough, Lincoln’s Cabinet quarreled.
Seward, Secretary of State, snubbed the rest of the Cabinet.
Chase, Secretary of the Treasury, hated Seward, McClellan, Stanton (Secretary of War) and Blair (Postmaster-General).
Blair created so many fights, Lincoln asked him to resign.
Hannibal Hamlin, the Vice-President, wouldn’t speak to Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy.
Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy, hurled his contempt at all his colleagues.

Every man in the Cabinet considered himself superior to Lincoln.
The Attorney-General Bates hoped for nomination for President in 1860.
Chase did too.
Seward was resentful. Without Horace Greeley, he would be president. He believed he was made Secretary of State to rule the nation with Lincoln as a figurehead.

Lincoln wasn’t in office five weeks, before Seward sent him a memorandum.
In superior wisdom he criticized this ex-store keeper and told him how the Government ought to be run. Concluding that Lincoln stay back where he belonged, and allow Seward to control and prevent the country from "going to hell."
Seward proposed war against France and Spain for their dealings with Mexico.
And he didn’t like what Great Britain and Russia were doing either.
One war wasn’t enough for this statesman, who would have been the nation’s president. He proposed war with them all at the same time.

Seward prepared a note for England---warnings, threats, insults.
If Lincoln hadn’t intercepted it, deleting much of it, and rewording the rest, it would have caused war.

A Northern gunboat held up a British mail-steamer on the high seas, imprisoning two Confederate commissioners heading for England and France.
England prepared for war, shipped thousands of troops to Canada to attack the North.
Lincoln surrendered the Confederate commissioners and apologized—although regretting it bitterly.

Everyone spoke of Seward running the country.
Mrs. Lincoln told Lincoln to assert himself.
Lincoln’s response, “I may not rule myself, but certainly Seward shall not. The only ruler I have is my conscience and my God and these men will have to learn that yet.”
The time came when all of them did.

Another of Lincoln’s Cabinet, Salmon P. Chase, Secretary of the Treasury, had wanted Presidency, then Secretary of State. He pretended to be Lincoln’s friend, but sympathized with any disgruntled victim, convincing them that he would have done better.
Lincoln described him, “Chase is like the blue-bottle fly; he lays his eggs in every rotten place he can find.”

Lincoln disregarded his own rights. “Chase is a very able man, but on the subject of the Presidency, I think he is a little insane. He has not behaved very well lately, and people say to me, ‘Now is the time to crush him out.’ Well, I’m not in favor of crushing anybody out. If there is anything that a man can do and do it well, I say, let him do it. So I am determined, so long as he does his duty as head of the Treasury Department, to shut my eyes to his attack of the White House fever.”

When Chase didn’t get what he wanted, he resigned—five times.
Finally Lincoln accepted his resignation.
Lincoln’s response, “I will take him at his word. His usefulness as a Cabinet officer is at an end. I will no longer continue the association. I am willing, if necessary, to resign the office of President. I would rather go back to a farm in Illinois and earn my bread with a plow and an ox than to endure any longer the state I have been in.”

But what did Lincoln think of the man who humbled, humiliated and insulted him? “Of all the great men I have ever known, Chase is equal to about one and a half of the best of them.”

Lincoln awarded one of the highest honors a President of the United States can bestow: he made Chase Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court: the most noble and chivalrous act of his career.

But then there was Stanton.
Lincoln had worked with Stanton during a trial they were both retained as counsel for the defendant. Lincoln had prepared for the case.
Stanton and Harding, so ashamed of him, had refused to let him speak, wouldn’t walk with him to and from the courthouse, nor eat or sit at the table with him. They treated him like a social outcast.
Stanton said, “I will not associate with such a damned, gawky, long-armed ape as that. If I can’t have a man who is a gentleman in appearance with me in the case, I will abandon it.”
Lincoln responded, “I have never before been so brutally treated as by that man Stanton.”

Stanton’s contempt only increased when Lincoln became president.  He repeatedly remarked that Du Chaillu was a fool to run to Africa looking for a gorilla, when the original gorilla was sitting in the White House scratching himself.
After ten months in office, Lincoln asked Simon Cameron to resign, instead he appointed Stanton. “I have made up my mind to sit down on all my pride—it may be a portion of my self-respect—and appoint Stanton Secretary of War.”
That proved to be one of the wisest appointments Lincoln ever made.
Stanton worked day and night.
He fired incompetent officers, arrested generals, fought dishonest contractors, ignored the Constitution, seized the railroads, and controlled all telegraph lines.
He even required Lincoln’s telegrams to be sent and received through the war-office.

He took command of all armies.
Lincoln could endure anything to achieve that goal.
When Lincoln was persuaded by a Congressman to transfer a certain regiment, Stanton said he wouldn’t do it.
“But you forget I have an order here from the President.”
Stanton retorted, “If the president gave you such an order, he is a damned fool.”
The Congressman told Lincoln, expecting to see Stanton fired.
Lincoln listened and responded, “If Stanton said I was a damned fool, then I must be, for he is nearly always right. I’ll just step over and see him myself.”
He did.
Stanton showed where his order was wrong.
Lincoln withdrew it.
Realizing Stanton resented interference, Lincoln usually let him have his way.

“I cannot add to Mr. Stanton’s troubles. His position is the most difficult in the world. Thousands in the army blame him because they are not promoted, and other thousands blame him because they are not appointed. The pressure upon him is immeasurable and unending. He is the rock on the beach of our national ocean against which the breakers dash and roar, dash and roar without ceasing. He fights back the angry waters and prevents them from undermining the overwhelming the land. I do not see how he survives, why he is not crushed and torn to pieces. Without him, I should be destroyed.”

But when Stanton said he wouldn’t do a thing, and Lincoln was determined to have it done, he would quietly reply, “I reckon, Mr. Secretary, you’ll have to do it.”
And Stanton did.

Lincoln’s Cabinet, began by fighting and scorning Lincoln, but learned by the end to revere him.
When Lincoln lay dying, Stanton, who had called him “a painful imbecile,” said, “There lies the most perfect ruler of men the world has ever seen.”

One of Lincoln’s secretaries, John Hay, described Lincoln as extremely unmethodical. In his staff’s attempts to establish a system, he would break every regulation as it was made.

Lincoln disapproved of anything that kept the people from him, although they constantly annoyed him by their unreasonable complaints and greedy requests.

He hardly read the newspaper, saying, “I know more about it than any of them.”

Irritated by Lincoln’s procrastination and inaction, Horace Greeley attacked the President in an article, The Prayer of Twenty Millions.
Lincoln’s answer:
My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave, I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves, I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone, I would also do that. What I do about slavery and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union; and what I forbear, I forbear because I do not believe it would help to save the Union. I shall do less whenever I shall believe what I am doing hurts the cause, and I shall do more whenever I shall believe doing more will help the cause. I shall try to correct errors when shown to be errors and I shall adopt new views so fast as they shall appear to be true views.
I have here stated my purpose according to my view of official duty; and I intend no modification of my oft expressed personal wish than all men everywhere could be free.”

Europe watched the War with interest. They cared nothing about preserving the Union. Their loyalties lay where their cotton and tobacco came, from the South.
Lincoln must change England’s attitude or lose.

Europe had read Uncle Tom’s Cabin and wept over the injustice of slavery. If Lincoln issued his Proclamation of Emancipation, Europe would view the war as a holy crusade against slavery. Her public wouldn’t tolerate aiding human bondage. They would stop aiding the South.

In July, 1862 Lincoln determined to issue his proclamation.

Seward counseled to wait for an army victory.

In the Cabinet meeting on September 1862, Lincoln began, “When the rebel army was at Frederick, I determined, as soon as it should be driven out of Maryland, to issue a proclamation of emancipation. I said nothing to any one, but I made the promise to myself and---to my Maker. The rebel army is now driven out, and I am going to fulfill that promise I have called you together to hear what I have written down. I do not wish your advice upon the main manner, for that I have determined for myself. What I have written is that which my reflections have determined me to say. But if there is anything in the expressions I use, or in any minor matter, which any of you thinks had best be changed, I shall be glad to receive the suggestions.”

It would not be enforced until January first, 1863.
The public didn’t approve. The polls showed a complete reversal.

Orville H. Browning, one of Lincoln’s closest friends and strongest supporters said, “The only effect of it, was to unite and exasperate the South and divide and distract us in the North.”

Mutiny broke in the army. Men had enlisted to save the Union not “fight to free niggers and make them equals.” Soldiers deserted by the thousands.

After the defeat at the polls, Burnside’s attack on Lee at Fredericksburg, lost 13,000 men. 
The President had failed.
His general had failed.
His policies had failed.
They wanted to force Lincoln out of the White House. They demanded he change his polices and remove his entire Cabinet.

Horace Greely regretted aiding his nomination in 1860 as “the biggest mistake of my life.”
Greely organized a movement to force Lincoln resignation, instate Hamlin the Vice President in the White House and give Rosecrans command of all the Union armies.

Lincoln confessed it distressed him more than any other event of his political life. “They want to get rid of me and I am half disposed to gratify them.”

 “We are now on the brink of destruction,” Lincoln confessed, “It appears to me that even the Almighty is against us. I can see hardly a ray of hope.”

The war continued.

When Meade had Lee caught in a trap, Lincoln was sure the war would end.
But Mead was cautious.
Lee escaped.

Lincoln wrote a letter to Meade, but never mailed it. Instead he said, “If I had been in Meade’s place and had had Meade’s temperament and the advice of his timid officers, and if I had been awake as many nights as he had, and had seen as much blood, I might have let Lee escape too.”

A year after the Battle of Gettysburg was fought, the Cemetery Commission decided to dedicate the ground.
Edward Everett, the most famous orator in the United States, was invited to deliver the address.
Formal invitations were sent to the President, Cabinet, and General Meade, all members of both houses of Congress, distinguished citizens, and members of the diplomatic corps.
Few accepted.
Lincoln didn’t receive a personal invitation.
So when Lincoln responded that he would be present, the committee didn’t know what to do. They argued about allowing him to speak. Did he have the time or ability? They doubted it. They finally allowed him “a few appropriate remarks.”
Their response was insulting and late.
The President accepted.

Edward Everett arrived one hour late and spoke for two hours.
Lincoln finished his address in two minutes. He sat, proclaiming his speech a failure.

Everyone was disappointed.

Lincoln was so distressed, he worried himself into a severe headache.
And went to his grave believing he had failed at Gettysburg.
Yet on that November afternoon, the gathered audience heard the greatest speech ever spoken.

Grant’s strategy was to kill Lee’s men until Lee surrendered. Often two Northern soldiers died for every one the South lost. So Grant blasted and shot and slayed.
Morale broke.
Troops verged on mutiny.
There was nothing Lincoln could do but keep on.
Lincoln called for half a million more men to serve for one to three years.
The North cursed Lincoln as violently as the South.
He was called a traitor, tyrant, fiend, a monster, a bloody butcher.
Enemies yelled he ought to be killed.
Someone fired at him and put a bullet through his hat.

The Republicans had nominated Lincoln for the second term, now they felt they’d made a mistake. They urged Lincoln to withdraw. They wanted to call another convention, cancel Lincoln's nomination, and nominate another candidate.
Lincoln believed his case was hopeless.
He had failed.
His generals had failed.
His war policy had failed.
The people had lost faith in his leadership.
He feared the Union itself would be destroyed. “Even the heavens are hung in black.”

Another convention nominated General John C. Fremont, splitting the Republican Party.
Fremont withdrew later.

In spite of the condemnation dumped on him, Lincoln continued, doing his best, answering to no one. “I desire to so conduct the affairs of this administration that if, at the end, when I come to lay down the reins of power, I have lost every other friend on earth, I shall at least have one friend left, and that friend shall be deep down inside of me…I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true. I am not bound to succeed, but I am bound to live up to the light I have.”

He often read Job. “Gird up now thy loins like a man; for I will demand of thee and answer thou me.”

When the summer of 1864 came, Lincoln had changed.

No longer the physical giant from the Illinois prairies three years prior. He had lost so much weight, he looked like a skeleton with skin.

His laughter had lessened, furrows in his face had deepened, his shoulders more stooped, cheeks sunken, he suffered from chronic indigestion, his legs were always cold, he didn’t sleep, he wore an expression of anguish.  He said to a friend, “I feel as though I shall never be glad again”

Carpenter, the artist living at the White House while he painted the Emancipation Proclamation scene, wrote:
"During the first week of the battle of the wilderness, the President scarcely slept at all. Passing through the main hall of the domestic apartment on one of those days, I met him, …the pictures of sorrow and care and anxiety…There were whole days when I could scarcely look into his furrowed face without weeping.”

Friends urged him to take a vacation.
He replied. “I cannot fly from my thoughts. I hardly know how to rest. What is tired lies within me and can’t be got at.”

His secretary said, “The cry of the widow and the orphan was always in Lincoln’s ear.”
Mothers, sweethearts, wives begged him daily for pardons of their men condemned to be shot. No matter how tired, Lincoln heard their stories and usually granted their requests.

Officers claimed Lincoln’s leniency destroyed the discipline of the army. But he hated the general’s brutal methods.
He loved the volunteers, men like himself from forest and farm, who would fight to win.
Was a volunteer homesick and run away? “Well, I don’t see that shooting will do him any good.”

He once wired General Meade, “I am unwilling for any boy under eighteen to be shot.” More than a million boys under 18 were in the Union armies. A fifth of a million were under sixteen and a hundred thousand were under fifteen.

The summer of 1864 dragged to an end.

Lincoln’s policy had been absolved. He was elected for a second term.
But instead of considering a personal triumph, he remarked the people had not thought it wise to “swap horses while crossing a stream.”

After four years of fighting, Lincoln held no hatred for the South.

In February 1865, while the Confederacy was crumbling, and Lee’s surrender was two months away, Lincoln proposed the Federal Government pay the Southern States four hundred million dollars for their slaves.
Every member of his Cabinet refused.
He dropped it.

What was his wife doing during all of this?
At a public reception in the White House, custom dictated the President chose a lady other than his wife to lead the promenade with him.
Mrs. Lincoln wouldn’t tolerate another woman ahead of her.
She not only refused to allow the President walk with another woman, but criticized him for even talking to one.
Before attending public receptions, Lincoln asked his jealous wife, whom he might talk to.
She listed many whom she detested.
“But Mother,” he would say, “I must talk with somebody. I can’t stand around like a simpleton and say nothing. If you will not tell me who I may talk with, please tell me who I may not talk with.”

When he was conducting an important interview, she rushed into his office. Without a word, Lincoln picked her up and carried her from the room, returned, locked the door and finished his business.

How could one man not succumb to the abuse of the masses, the criticism of his peers, the disrespect of his wife, the defeat of his country?

When Lincoln died, little Tad asked a caller at the White House if his father was in heaven.
“I have no doubt of it,” came the reply.
“Then I am glad he has gone,” said Tad. “For he was never happy after he came here. This was not a good place for him.”

But his place at the White House was necessary for us.
The Making of a Man.
Through great poverty and want.
Through heartache, loss, and grief.
Through defeat, disappointment, failure.
Through criticism, rebuke, disrespect.
Through humility, loneliness, tears.
God made a man, who saved our Union, united our people, and praised our Creator.
While living, he was never recognized for the great man he was.
He died not knowing the difference he made.
But throngs poured to see his body as it was led through the streets to be buried.

This man trusted in his God who did not move.
He laid down his life, not for his friends, but for his enemies.
He pled the the cause of the widow and orphan, the downtrodden and those bound.

Abraham Lincoln. A Man Made by God.

Displaying 1 comment

How does a man live with so much on him? God got him through, and I'm glad he saw the end of the war, but then God took him home for a more than well-deserved rest. Just can't imagine how ugly this got for Lincoln, you are so right, how can we complain. I've just been thinking the last few days how very blessed I am and this reinforces that. Thanks so much for the articles on Lincoln, very well done.

I write about what you---
women, wives and moms---
about your family, faith and future.
I write about what's hard, what helps and what heals.
I show you how it's done. And not done.
I hold your hand as you find what matters to the Savior.
And let go of those things that mattered to you, but not to Him.
I write about what Him.
               Sonya Contreras

Find other articles about motherhood
What's a Mom?
Memories of a Hero Mom
They Called Her Gammy
Are You Tired of the Same, Old Thing?
Who's Responsible for the Children
The Battle for Our Children
​Dear Master of Hands
Close to Home
Reflections from a Mom
Just the Mother-In-Law
A Mom Who Knew Her Job
Letting Go of my Fourth Son
Making a House a Home
How Do I Pray?
Picking up Acorns
Changed by God
Last Times
Are You a Failure?
What To Do Now?
Are You Tired of the Same Old Thing?
What's in a Book, Anyway?
Marijuana, Mental Illness, and Violence
Confessions of a Desperate Mom
You Are Not Alone
A Wedding Remembered
Sunday Morning Excuses—Is It Worth It?
Stages of Parental Control
Homeschooling Myths Debunked
Do You Know the Word?
Wake Up! Strengthen What Remains
Is Jezebel in Your Midst?
Are You Tired of Being a Mom?
A Day in a Mom's Life
What Talents Are You Wasting as a Mom?
What Have I Learned as a Mom?

What's in It for Me?
Adoption—The Heart of God

The Making of a Man part 4
The Making of a Man part 3
The Making of a Man part 2
The Making of a Man
Are Your Children Safe from Bullying?
Are Your Children Safe from Child-napping and Sexual Abuse?
Are Your Children Safe?
The Value of Remembering
Marjorie Rutherford: A Testimony to God's Faithfulness
Marjorie Conrad: A Testimony to God's Trustworthiness
Starting School Again
Dependence or Independence?
Breast Milk Made Especially for Your Child
What Is Essential for Babies?
My Space, My Time, My Needs
What's a Mom?
A Mother's Influence
A Mother of Boys
Prepare for the Lord: Thoughts for Moms from Exodus 19


Find more articles about faith here:
What an Amazing God We Serve
Response to Healthy Gaming
How Miserable Are You? Are You Happy?
The Need for Meaning Even in Pain
Reminders of What's Important
God's Unmeasurable Love
A Quarter of a Century Spent for Our Country
What Were You Thinking?
Who Are You Watching?
Boundaries for a Better Life
God's Boundaries
Memories of a Hero Mom
The Ripple Effect
How Do We Think Like Jesus
Litany of a Waiting Woman
Ever Cook a Frog?
New Year's Reminders
They Galled Her Gammy
When God Speaks
A Russian Christmas Story
Be Thankful
Be Grateful
Are You Tired of the Same, Old Thing?
Laughter—Why Laugh?
Are You Disturbed?
Unity of the Brothers
Encouragements To Declutter
Do You Have Too Much Stuff?
Too Much Stress
Getting Past the Noise—The Value of Silence
Are You Scatterbrained?
How Good Are You?
Looking for Something Good To Read?
A Cup of Cold Water
I Will Trust When I Cannot See
Encouragement—What Is It?
Being in God's Presence
"Einstein and the Professor"
When God Is Silent
Do You Crave Beauty?
Using Stories to Discipline
The Danger of the Wrong Story
Using Stories to Teach Lessons
God is in charge of the future
November Dare Joy Challenge
Developing an Attitude of Gratitude
Looking for Jesus
What Do Your Prayers Reflect?
Life's Little Pleasures
Daniel—Greatly Loved by God
Take Every Thought
Jars of Clay
What Do Your Words Reveal about Your Heart?
How Do You Get Strong Faith?
Too Busy for God's Word?
How Do You Think Like Jesus?
Reflections from a Mom
Pain—What's It Good For?
Why Marry?
Consider the Robin
One Life Who Made a Difference
What Day Are You Living In?
Interrupted by God
Is Jesus Really the Answer to Everything?
Are You Beat Up?
What's Your Hurry?
Are You a Manipulator?
Are You Salty?
Are You Condemned?
Trying to Understand?
Do You Expect Answers to Your Prayers?
Do You Eat Your Stress?
Need Focus?
Going through Trouble?
Immanuel—God with Us
Looking for a Relationship?
When God Says, "No!"
What Do You Do with Left-Overs?
How Great Is Your God?
Are You Needy?
How Do You See Sin?
What Do Your Words Mean?
Is Evil Overwhelming You?
Those Aha Moments
Is Your Soul Happy?
Are You Ignored?
Looking for the God Moment
Do You Know Truth from Almost Truth?
I Believe in Jesus—What Now?
Do You Have Your "Son"-Glasses On?
Less Is More
Singing His Praise
Are You Trying To Do It All?
What Do You Do with All These Prayer Requests?
Have a Problem?
Do You Know How to Pray?
Looking for God in Every Moment
Are You Receptive to God's Blessings?
Tell the Senate: Mothers Aren't Birthing People
Is Your Life Complicated?
How Do We Fight Evil?
Fearfully and Wonderfully Made
Giving Up or Taking Away
the Bible is simple
Are You a Dripping Faucet?
What's Your Testimony?
The Final Move
Be Careful What You Wish For!
Are Your Prayers Answered?
I Choose Joy
What Have You Learned from Your Hardship?
Who Are You Trying to Change?
What's Your Five-Year Plan?
The Danger of "Aloneness"
My Colors
Are You a Whiner?
Are Your Works Approved?
Do You Think You're Stressed?
Is Your Soul Feeling Ragged?
God Speaks to the Heart of the King
What about the Details?
Have You Felt the Long-Suffering of God?
How Does God Lead You?
Do You Have Enough?
Don't Carry More than You Need
Cast the Seed
God Is Faithful
Are You Deceived?
Are You Essential?
Are You Safe?
Are You Tired of the Same Old Thing?
Does the World Make Sense?
Have You Seen God's Majesty?
Do You Feel Judged?
If You Only Had One More Day To Live
Are You Understood?
Do You Long for the Word of God?
Slow Down and Smell the Dead Leaves
Are You Hospitable?
Our Heritage Is Bought by Blood
Are You Disturbed?
Are You Depressed?
I Did It My Way
Finding the Simple Life with Meaning
The Simple Life
Do You Have the Right Words?
Did Your Dream Die?
On the Other Side of the Fence
Marijuana, Mental Illness, and Violence
Confessions of a Desperate Mom
Saving for Tomorrow
A Wedding Remembered
Who Will Stand in the Gap?
Are You a Protector or a Ruler?
Who Are You?
Are You an Image Bearer or a Wad of Cells?
Are You a Watchman?
Where Do You Find Meaning?
The Lamb of God as Told by a Scribe
What Love Is This?
Remember: The Symbols of Passover Explained
Tea and Rest
Do You Have Peace?
What Makes a Marriage Work?
When Life Is Awful
Are You Strong Enough?
Be Faithful through Suffering
Do You Know the Word?
Wake Up! Strengthen What Remains
Are You Spit in God's Mouth?
Is Jezebel in Your Midst?
Do You Stand Against Satan Himself?
Are You Tired of Being a Mom?
What in the World Is Happening?
It's Not My Story
How Would Your Faith Compare?
Are You Sinking?
Are You a Rule Follower?
Useful for Him
An Intimate Moment with Mary
The Worldview that Makes the

Thoughts to Ponder
What Does It Take To Know the
    Heart of God?

See the Story in the Stars
Do the Scriptures Burn You?
Being in His Presence
Contentment: It's Not for the Timid
How Secure Are You?
How Do You Respond To Stupid People?
The Earthworm Is My Hero
Heart Issues or Issues of the Heart
Things Aren't Always What They Seem
More faith articles are found here:
under the Table of Contents. Also available in book form.
Or here:
under the Table of Contents. Also available in book form.
Articles on Suffering can be found  here, 
under Table of Contents. Also available in book form.
Special Days
Remember: The Symbols of 
   Passover Explained

Aug 12, 2017 The Heavens Declare the Glory of God
July 4th, Freedom
What Is an American Soldier?
Valentine's Day: A Day of Love?
Memorial Day-A Day To Remember
Veterans' Day-To Honor Our Men
Fall Colors
First Thanksgiving Day

Christmas: Stories behind the Songs
Christmas: Stories behind the Songs, part 2

Women's Roles
Find other articles about women's roles here:
The Sacrifice of Obedience
Why Boys Fight? And Is that Good?
Is Your Family Different?
Created for Him reprint
Gender Differences Backed by Science
What Should Men Do? reprint
Where Are the Men? reprint
What Is Man? reprint
Man VS Woman: Making Man Act Like a Woman
Man VS Woman: Is It Eqality We Seek? reprint
How Do You See Sin?
Marriage Is a Covenant before God
Are You Precious?
What's a Mother-In-Law To Do?
A Promise Is a Promise
Happily Ever After
Point Lobos, Monterrey
Where You Go, I Will Go
Protecting Our Men
What Makes a Marriage Work?
And the Two Shall Be One
Do You Let Your Husband Love You?
An Added Resource for You
Is Jezebel in Your Midst?
Can You Say, "No"?
Are You Losing Your Mind?
Expect Great Things from God
The Making of a Man part 4
The Making of a Man part 3
The Making of a Man part 2
The Making of a Man
What Kind of a Crown Are You?
Do You Like Your Husband?
Is Your Husband a Pushover?
Did You Marry a Crazy Man? 
Is Your Husband Crushing You?
Are You Dependent?
Male vs Female: Is It Equality We Seek?
Are You a Nag?
Do You Have a Picky Eater?
A Way to a Man's Heart Is through His Stomach
Are You Challenged by Your Man's Challenges?
Happily Ever After
Are You Appreciated?
Do You Feel Loved?
Valentine's Day: A Day for Love?
Valentine's Day: Help Your Husband Out

Created for Him
Do You Help Your Husband?
Made To Conquer

Women Working
How Much Does It Cost for Moms To Work?
How Much Does It Cost for Moms To Stay at Home?
Margaret Thatcher, She Changed the
    World, But What about Her 

Biblical Manhood
Find more articles about Biblical Manhood here:
What Is Man?
Where Are the Men?
What Should a Man Do?

Biblical Womanhood
Find more articles about Womanhood here:
What Is Your Choice?
Letting Him Protect
Are You a Friend?
Who Controls the Money?
The Sacrifice of Thanksgiving: How 
   To Make Your Husband Love You

The Power of a Smile: How To 
    Make Your Husband Love You

Superwoman: Is She Believable?