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Welcome to Advent 2021

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Welcome to Advent 2021
Celebrating Advent involves intentional preparation for the birth of Jesus Christ. For Christians, the Advent season reminds us not only of Jesus’ birth, but of His eternal presence and eventual second coming.

What is Advent?

Celebrating Advent involves intentional preparation for the birth of Jesus Christ. For Christians, the Advent 2021 season reminds us not only of Jesus’ birth, but of His eternal presence and eventual second coming.

When Does Advent 2021 Start?

In most Christian communities, Advent starts on the fourth Sunday before Christmas. This year, Advent 2021 begins on Sunday, November 28th and concludes on Friday, December 24th.

Advent 2021 Season

What Does Advent Mean?

The word “Advent” comes from the Latin word Adventus, which means “coming.” Within the early Christian church, Advent was a season of preparation for the upcoming church season of Epiphany. Over the centuries, the modern Evangelical celebrations of the Advent season arrived.  

Advent is meant to be a time of hope, faith, joy, and peace. The Advent season remind us that God sent His Son to this world so that we might have a relationship with Him. Yet, Jesus also suffers with us and helps us navigate our pain.

During Advent, Christians celebrate and reflect upon Christ’s first coming. While at the same time, the Church looks forward in eager anticipation to Christ’s second coming. When Christians and families celebrate Advent, they unite in a generational tradition of celebration and anticipation of Jesus’ second coming.

What are the 4 Themes of Advent?

The Advent season takes place over four weeks, with each Sunday marking the beginning of a new week of Advent. Each week of Advent contains a special theme. Throughout Christian churches, there are a variety of synonyms for these themes. Here are four of the most common Themes of Advent within Christian churches and families: 

Four Themes of Advent

Why is Advent Important?

One day, I called my daughter. She said, “Dad, let’s do things different today. When you come home and go through the door, I’m going to jump, and you’ll catch me!”

As I hung up, I was so excited to go home and experience this moment with her. Sure enough, as I walked through the door, she was in the air, and, fortunately, I caught her. What an incredible moment for me. I loved her anticipation of my arrival as her dad. She fully trusted I would catch her. And fortunately, I delivered.

Have you ever been asked, “Why do Christians celebrate Advent?” My question is, “Why wouldn’t Christians celebrate Advent?”

Advent reveals God’s faithfulness in His promises. The world needs genuine hope as creation longs for Jesus’ return. Advent helps us look beyond our current problems. Instead, we can focus on God’s promises.

Without Advent, we don’t get the opportunity to consider the beginning and end of our invitation on earth and the bigger invitation of being with Jesus forever. 

In my private counseling practice, there is a significant increase in social anxiety, panic disorder, and depression. It’s clear that we need Jesus. Through Advent, we can prepare our hearts for Jesus’ eventual return.  

by: Dr. Danny Huerta

Advent 2021 is about Anticipation

Our brains are naturally influenced by the overwhelming feelings of anticipation. Especially by anticipation of what we truly believe is going to happen in the future.

For example, when a child receives a gift, they anticipate with excitement the next opportunity they get to receive a gift again. In fact, we love anticipating vacations, weekends, dessert, and many other things. Within the Advent season, we can ask ourselves: What do our soul anticipate?  

In Revelation 22:7 we read, “And behold, I am coming soon. Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophesy of this book.”

Indeed, He is faithful and will be returning soon. The fact is that the preparation of our heart is up to us. Then, we can continue to cultivate our faith, patience, preparation, and trust.

Advent provides an opportunity to look forward with anticipation through a filter focused on hope, faith, joy, and peace. Unfortunately, the world is searching for these four themes through things that were not designed to satisfy our souls. Through Advent, there is reassurance of His return.

by: Dr. Danny Huerta

Advent Discussion Questions

What is an Advent Calendar?

Long ago, Christians decided to celebrate the gift of Jesus during a special season called Advent. 

About 160 years ago, people in Germany used chalk marks on their doors to count the days of Advent. Soon after, people began to light candles or give little presents during the special time. Clocks were even made to count the days.

One mother placed candies onto a numbered board so that her son, Gerhard Lang, could have a treat each day of Advent. When Gerhard grew up, he printed 24 little pictures that could be placed on a calendar for each December day through Christmas Eve.

Shortly after the war, another German man named Richard Sellmer began to make Advent calendars. His first calendar, made in 1946, was called “Little Town.” This long piece of cut cardboard shows a little village with numbered doors and windows.

Advent calendars are in many shapes and sizes. Most are rectangular pieces of cardboard with a Christmas picture on the front. Each numbered door opens, from December 1 to Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. Each gift reminds us of the greatest gift of all—Jesus Christ our Savior. 

Advent Calendar Craft

Advent Calendar for Kids
This holiday season, your family can make your own Advent calendar for kids! Follow the instructions and count down the days to celebrate the coming of Jesus.
by Catherine L. Osornio

Calendar
Calendar I_1
Calendar I_2

Advent 2021 Guide

Throughout its history, the Advent season uses a variety of wreaths, candles, and prayers as a part of the spiritual preparation for Jesus’ arrival. Learn more about how Advent uses these images and items to help Christians and families prepare for Christmas. Approach Advent 2021 together as a family by focusing on the Lord’s return!

Advent Candles

Advent 2021 Candles

Within Advent, there are four primary candles with their own unique significance and meaning. One of the four candles is lit on each Sunday during the Advent season. Then in some Christian traditions, there is a final fifth candle usually lit during a Christmas Eve service.

The first candle, which is purple, symbolizes hope. This Advent candle prepares us for Jesus’ arrival. We are reminded that there is hope because Jesus is coming!

The second candle represents faith, and this Advent candle is often referred to as the “Bethlehem Candle.” This purple candle serves as a reminder of Mary and Joseph’s faith as they journeyed to Bethlehem. For our families, this Advent candle reminds us that we can have the same faith in our own lives.

The third candle symbolizes joy. This Advent candle is the only pink candle, and it represents of the joy of the world during the birth of Jesus. For Christians, the third Advent candle reminds us to celebrate Jesus’ arrival.

The fourth candle represents peace. This purple Advent candle reminds our families to focus on the angels’ proclamation of “Peace on Earth!” On the fourth and final week of Advent, this candle emphasizes the importance of Jesus’ arrival.

Finally, the fifth Advent candle is often referred to as the “Christ Candle.” Usually lit on Christmas Eve, the white Advent candle represents purity and the life of Christ.

Advent Wreath

Whether you are at your church or with your family, Advent wreaths are one of the most identifiable symbols during AdventAlongside Advent candles, the Advent wreath guide Christians through the season.

Your family can buy a ready-made Advent wreath or make it on your own. One way is to make a paper Advent wreath. Or your family can make a traditional Advent wreath with these steps:

Advent Wreath
Advent Wreath Instructions

Advent 2021 Prayers

Through prayer, we develop and grow our relationship with God. Especially within the Advent season, Christian families can use Advent prayers to celebrate and reflect on Jesus’ arrival.

Here are some ideas for Advent 2021 Prayers that you and your family can use to grow your relationship with God.

Advent Prayer of Thankfulness

“Dear Lord,

Thank you for sending your Son to this world so that we could believe in Him. Thank you for providing hope in a hopeless world and providing a path to relationship with You. Help us to love others who do not know you, so that we can share the good news of Jesus’ arrival this Christmas season. 

Amen.”

 Advent Prayer of Hope


“Dear God,

Help us to be ready for when Jesus returns. Thank you for saving us from our sin. We confess that we do not always have hope. Prepare our hearts to be filled with joy and hope for when Jesus returns! 

Amen.”


  

Advent Prayer for the Holidays


“Dear Lord,

Help our holiday season to be focused on You and Your love. Please guide our interactions with family and friends to be filled with joy and service. Help us focus on You and the gift of your Son, Jesus, during the holidays. 

Amen.”


Welcome to Advent 2021

However you and your family may be celebrating the Christmas season, we hope that you feel God’s love during Advent 2021. For more resources on how to navigate the holidays with your family, check out our variety of resources.

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Your Teen Needs You Most of All

No parent of teens is perfect and even the best can learn how to better connect with their son or daughter. Get practical action steps to better connect with your teenager in 8 Essential Tips for Parenting Your Teen in this FREE video series!

There Is Still Hope for Your Marriage

You may feel that there is no hope for your marriage and the hurt is too deep to restore the relationship and love that you once had. The truth is, your life and marriage can be better and stronger than it was before. In fact, thousands of marriages, situations as complex and painful as yours, have been transformed with the help of professionals who understand where you are right now and care deeply about you and your spouse’s future. You can restore and rebuild your marriage through a personalized, faith-based, intimate program called, Hope Restored.

There Is Still Hope for Your Marriage

You may feel that there is no hope for your marriage and the hurt is too deep to restore the relationship and love that you once had. The truth is, your life and marriage can be better and stronger than it was before. In fact, thousands of marriages, situations as complex and painful as yours, have been transformed with the help of professionals who understand where you are right now and care deeply about you and your spouse’s future. You can restore and rebuild your marriage through a personalized, faith-based, intimate program called, Hope Restored.

There Is Still Hope for Your Marriage

You may feel that there is no hope for your marriage and the hurt is too deep to restore the relationship and love that you once had. The truth is, your life and marriage can be better and stronger than it was before. In fact, thousands of marriages, situations as complex and painful as yours, have been transformed with the help of professionals who understand where you are right now and care deeply about you and your spouse’s future. You can restore and rebuild your marriage through a personalized, faith-based, intimate program called, Hope Restored.
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Understand How to Respect and Love your Son Well

Why doesn’t my son listen to me? Have you ever asked that question? The truth is, how you see your son and talk to him has a significant effect on how he thinks and acts. That’s why we want to help you. In fact, we’ve created a free five-part video series called “Recognizing Your Son’s Need for Respect” that will help you understand how showing respect, rather than shaming and badgering, will serve to motivate and guide your son.

Reconnected: The Digital Experience

Is the love there, but not the spark? Reawaken fun in your marriage and move from roommates to soulmates again with the help of this 7-part online video experience. Learn how to connect emotionally and spiritually as husband and wife using techniques such as dreaming together and establishing deep, heartfelt communication. The Digital Experience includes 7 teaching videos, an online study guide and access to additional tools and resources to help spouses reconnect.

Next Steps: Marriage Assessment

We want your marriage to be thriving and healthy. Take the free Marriage Assessment from Focus on the Family to learn how to strengthen your bond with your spouse and get the tools to help you need to grow closer together. 

Next Steps: Fruit of the Spirit Devotionals for Couples

The Fruit of the Spirit Devotional is a free series of nine short videos to get you into God’s Word and inspire you to seek the Holy Spirit’s help in loving your spouse.

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Mrs. Meg Meeker

Dr. Meg Meeker is a pediatrician who is widely recognized as one of the country’s leading authorities on parenting, teens and children’s health. With appearances on numerous nationally syndicated radio and TV programs, her popularity as a an expert on key issues confronting families has created a strong following across America. Her work with countless families over the years served as the inspiration behind her best-selling books which include Strong Fathers, Strong DaughtersStrong Mothers, Strong Sons and The Ten Habits of Happy Mothers

Cover image of Dr. Meg Meeker's book "Raising a Strong Daughter in a Toxic Culture"

Raising a Strong Daughter in a Toxic Culture: 11 Steps to Keep Her Happy, Healthy, and Safe

Meg Meeker has been a pediatrician for more than thirty years, is a mother and a grandmother, and has seen it all. She knows what makes for strong, happy, healthy young women–and what puts our daughters at risk. Combining that experience with her famous common sense, she explains the eleven steps that will help your daughter–whether she’s a toddler or a troubled teen–to achieve her full human potential.

Navigating a Toxic Culture with Your Daughter - Part 2

As a pediatrician, Dr. Meg Meeker has seen thousands of girls come through her office through the years. They struggle with eating issues, sexual identity, social media…and many other challenges in this toxic culture. Dr. Meeker will encourage parents to invest love and time in their daughters and develop their character to give them the best opportunity for a bright future, all rooted in a spiritual foundation. The discussion also includes healthy feminism vs. toxic feminism

Mrs. Meg Meeker

Dr. Meg Meeker is a pediatrician who is widely recognized as one of the country’s leading authorities on parenting, teens and children’s health. With appearances on numerous nationally syndicated radio and TV programs, her popularity as a an expert on key issues confronting families has created a strong following across America. Her work with countless families over the years served as the inspiration behind her best-selling books which include Strong Fathers, Strong DaughtersStrong Mothers, Strong Sons and The Ten Habits of Happy Mothers

Cover image of Dr. Meg Meeker's book "Raising a Strong Daughter in a Toxic Culture"

Raising a Strong Daughter in a Toxic Culture: 11 Steps to Keep Her Happy, Healthy, and Safe

Meg Meeker has been a pediatrician for more than thirty years, is a mother and a grandmother, and has seen it all. She knows what makes for strong, happy, healthy young women–and what puts our daughters at risk. Combining that experience with her famous common sense, she explains the eleven steps that will help your daughter–whether she’s a toddler or a troubled teen–to achieve her full human potential.

Embracing Your Role as a Spouse

As a spouse, you have three roles to play—a friend, a partner, and a lover. On this one-day Focus on the Family broadcast, Pastor Kevin A. Thompson explores those different roles and challenges you to live them out by investing emotionally, physically, and mentally in your relationship. As friends, he suggests we learn to play and laugh together. As partners, he equips us with solid ways to handle conflict and communication. As lovers, he offers some thoughts on how to bring back the sizzle. He shares five keys to saving your marriage: humility, respect, mercy, communication, and resilience. You’ll be encouraged to intentionally invest in your marriage.

Headshot of Kevin Thompson

Pastor Kevin Thompson

Kevin A. Thompson (MDiv, Beeson Divinity School) is lead pastor at Community Bible Church, a growing multi-site church with four locations in western Arkansas. Every year he meets with nearly one hundred couples with a range of needs, from pre-marital counseling to navigating the most serious betrayals. A marriage and parenting conference speaker, he and his wife, Jenny, have two children and live in Fort Smith, Arkansas. He blogs at kevinathompson.com.

Cover image of Kevin Thompson's book "Friends, Partners & Lovers"

Friends, Partners, and Lovers: What It Takes to Make Your Marriage Work

With engaging stories and clear, simple language, pastor Kevin Thompson shows how to live out three distinct roles in marraige. Using solid biblical principles, he helps you and your spouse grow your friendship, be supportive partners through the good times and the bad, and develop a healthy and satisfying sex life.

Cherishing Your Spouse Every Day

Do you love your spouse, or do you truly cherish them? Gary Thomas encourages couples to make a daily effort to go beyond the ‘duty’ of love, and combat the natural inclination to drift apart, by choosing to see the best in their spouse.

Mr. Gary Thomas

Gary Thomas is an international speaker and best-selling, award-winning author whose books include Married SexSacred Marriage and Sacred Parenting. He has also written numerous articles for several prominent national magazines. Gary and his wife, Lisa, reside in Texas and have three children. You can learn more about Gary by visiting his website, www.garythomas.com.

cherish front cover

Friends, Partners, and Lovers: What It Takes to Make Your Marriage Work

“Most marriages survive by gritting teeth and holding on. But marriages can and will not only survive but thrive when husbands and wives learn to cherish one another.” Those are the powerful words of bestselling author Gary Thomas in his newest book–Cherish. And in a world desperate for marriage redemption, it is needed now more than ever. Thomas shows that although there are a countless number of marriages consisting of two people just going through the motions, there are real ways this pattern can be reversed: when husbands and wives learn to cherish one another in proven, loving, and everyday actions and words.

Sharing Your Faith with Grace and Purpose

You can confidently and lovingly share your faith—you just need to learn some new tactics to do so! In this Focus on the Family Daily Broadcast, apologist Greg Koukl outlines the “Columbo” tactic of asking questions, the “self-defeating argument” tactic to find holes in your opponent’s arguments, and other specific methods for engaging in faith-building conversations with others. Greg pulls from his over 30 years of experience debating atheists and agnostics to help you share your faith with grace and truth.

Mr. Greg Koukl

Greg Koukl is a writer, public speaker and talk show host who’s spent 30 years advocating for and defending the Christian worldview. Greg has written or contributed to 15 books, including The Story of RealityTactics, and Precious Unborn Human Persons. Greg has published nearly 230 articles and has spoken on 80 college and university campuses in the U.S. and abroad.

Tactics front cover

Tactics, 10th Anniversary Edition: A Game Plan for Discussing Your Christian Convictions

In a world increasingly indifferent to Christian truth, followers of Christ need to be equipped to communicate with those who do not speak their language or accept their source of authority. In Tactics, 10th Anniversary Edition, Gregory Koukl demonstrates how to artfully regain control of conversations, keeping them moving forward in constructive ways through thoughtful diplomacy. You’ll learn how to stop challengers in their tracks and how to turn the tables on questions or provocative statements. Most important, you’ll learn how to get people thinking about Jesus.

Giving up Sugar, Tasting God's Goodness

As a latchkey kid, Wendy Speake turned to sugar for comfort. Every Friday, she would pedal to the candy show and use her allowance to fill her bag with candy. And one day, when she was older and a mom of three young boys, she came to realize that she was still “pedaling” away from her stress and using sugar as comfort, instead of turning to Jesus. She was joyless, worn out, tired, and in need of a change. In this interview, Wendy will challenge Christians to take 40 days to focus on fasting from something they turn to instead of Jesus for comfort. She invited people to break free from a dependence on sugar and taste the goodness of God.

Author Wendy Speake smiling as she holds up her book "The 40-Day Social Media Fast"

Mrs. Wendy Speake

With a background in Hollywood as a trained actress, Wendy Speake ministers to women as a bible teacher by applying the power of drama, poetry and comedy to the study of Scripture and real-life application of biblical truths. She has co-authored two books with Amber Lia titled Triggers: Exchanging Parents’ Angry Reactions for Gentle Biblical Responses and their latest, Parenting Scripts: When What You’re Saying Isn’t Working, Say Something New. Wendy is also the co-author (with Kelli Stuart) of Life Creative: Inspiration for Today’s Renaissance Mom.

Cover image of the book "The 40-Day Sugar Fast"

The 40-Day Sugar Fast: Where Physical Detox Meets Spiritual Transformation

Welcome to the 40-Day Sugar Fast, a fast that begins with us giving Jesus our sugar and ends with Jesus giving us himself–the only thing that can ever truly satisfy our soul’s deep hunger. On this 40-day journey you’ll learn how to stop fixating on food and other things you use to fill the voids in life and instead fix your eyes on Christ. Anyone who runs to sugar for comfort or a reward, who eats mindlessly or out of boredom, who feels physically and spiritually lethargic, or who struggles with self-control will discover here not only freedom from their cravings but an entirely new appetite for the good things God has for us.

Understanding the Root of Your Child's Misbehavior - Part 1

Often, children act out because they are used to getting attention through bad behavior. Dr. Kevin Leman offers advice to help parents transform their child’s behavior. He discusses the benefits of allowing your kids to learn from real-life consequences and describes the importance of understanding your child’s temperament based on his birth order.

Dr. Kevin Leman

Dr. Kevin Leman

Dr. Kevin Leman is an internationally known family psychologist and an award-winning, New York Times best-selling author. He is also a popular public speaker and media personality who has made countless guest appearances on numerous radio and TV programs. Dr. Leman has written more than 50 books including The Birth Order BookHave a New Kid by Friday and Making Children Mind Without Losing Yours.

Bundle of Why Your Kids Misbehave

Why Your Kids Misbehave and What to Do about It

Tantrums. Talking back. Throwing toys or food. Meltdowns. Slamming doors. Kids know just how to push your buttons. You’ve tried all sorts of methods, but nothing seems to work. In this book, Dr. Kevin Leman reveals exactly why kids misbehave and how you can turn that behavior around with practical, no-nonsense strategies that really work . . . and are a long-term win for both of you.

Understanding the Root of Your Child's Misbehavior - Part 2

Often, children act out because they are used to getting attention through bad behavior. Dr. Kevin Leman offers advice to help parents transform their child’s behavior. He discusses the benefits of allowing your kids to learn from real-life consequences and describes the importance of understanding your child’s temperament based on his birth order.

Dr. Kevin Leman

Dr. Kevin Leman

Dr. Kevin Leman is an internationally known family psychologist and an award-winning, New York Times best-selling author. He is also a popular public speaker and media personality who has made countless guest appearances on numerous radio and TV programs. Dr. Leman has written more than 50 books including The Birth Order BookHave a New Kid by Friday and Making Children Mind Without Losing Yours.

Bundle of Why Your Kids Misbehave

Why Your Kids Misbehave and What to Do about It

Tantrums. Talking back. Throwing toys or food. Meltdowns. Slamming doors. Kids know just how to push your buttons. You’ve tried all sorts of methods, but nothing seems to work. In this book, Dr. Kevin Leman reveals exactly why kids misbehave and how you can turn that behavior around with practical, no-nonsense strategies that really work . . . and are a long-term win for both of you.

Loving Your Spouse Through the Seasons of Marriage - Part 1

Debra Fileta has identified the four seasons of marriage that correspond with our natural seasons – spring (new life and new love), summer (things get hot!), fall (showing our true colors), and winter (long days ahead). In this interview, she will help couples better understand the four seasons of healthy relationships, what to expect during each one, and how to carefully navigate them for a stronger marriage.

Author Debra Fileta in the Focus on the Family broadcast studio

Debra Fileta

Debra Fileta is a licensed professional counselor specializing in relationship and marital issues. She is also a public speaker and the author of multiple books, including Married SexChoosing Marriage: Why It Has to Start With We > Me, Love in Every Season, and Are You Really OK: Getting Real About Who You Are, How You’re Doing, and Why It Matters. Debra’s popular relationship advice blog, TrueLoveDates.com, and her Love + Relationships podcast reach millions of people each year offering guidance on topics including love, sex, and marriage.

Love in Every Season: Understanding the Four Stages of a Healthy Relationship

Every relationship goes through four life-changing seasons: Spring. Summer. Fall. Winter. Each season plays an important role in taking your relationship to the next level. And depending on how you navigate each season, your relationship will either flourish and grow, or it will slowly die. Whether you’re single, dating, engaged or married, join licensed professional counselor and relationship expert, Debra Fileta as she takes you on an eye-opening psychological and spiritual journey through the four seasons that she has observed in every healthy relationship.

Loving Your Spouse Through the Seasons of Marriage - Part 2

Debra Fileta has identified the four seasons of marriage that correspond with our natural seasons – spring (new life and new love), summer (things get hot!), fall (showing our true colors), and winter (long days ahead). In this interview, she will help couples better understand the four seasons of healthy relationships, what to expect during each one, and how to carefully navigate them for a stronger marriage.

Author Debra Fileta in the Focus on the Family broadcast studio

Debra Fileta

Debra Fileta is a licensed professional counselor specializing in relationship and marital issues. She is also a public speaker and the author of multiple books, including Married SexChoosing Marriage: Why It Has to Start With We > Me, Love in Every Season, and Are You Really OK: Getting Real About Who You Are, How You’re Doing, and Why It Matters. Debra’s popular relationship advice blog, TrueLoveDates.com, and her Love + Relationships podcast reach millions of people each year offering guidance on topics including love, sex, and marriage.

Love in Every Season: Understanding the Four Stages of a Healthy Relationship

Every relationship goes through four life-changing seasons: Spring. Summer. Fall. Winter. Each season plays an important role in taking your relationship to the next level. And depending on how you navigate each season, your relationship will either flourish and grow, or it will slowly die. Whether you’re single, dating, engaged or married, join licensed professional counselor and relationship expert, Debra Fileta as she takes you on an eye-opening psychological and spiritual journey through the four seasons that she has observed in every healthy relationship.

How a Former Abortion Doctor Became Pro-Life

As an abortion doctor at Planned Parenthood, Dr. Patti Giebink believed she was helping women. Later, she began reading scripture and God gradually changed her heart on the abortion issue. Patti tells the story of her long journey from abortion doctor to pro-life and encourages listeners to share the message of life with compassion.

Headshot image of Focus on the Family broadcast guest Dr. Patti Giebink

Mrs. Patti Giebink

Dr. Patti Giebink is an OB-GYN who serves on the board of the Alpha Center, a well-known pregnancy center located in Sioux Falls, S.D. She also travels intermittently to work in mission hospitals in Pakistan and other countries. After completing her medical training, Dr. Giebink worked for Planned Parenthood from 1995-1997, during which she was the only abortion-provider in the state of South Dakota. She eventually experienced a radical change of heart on the issue of abortion after receiving God’s grace, forgiveness, and love, and she is now a passionate advocate for the pro-life movement.