My close friends are my muses.  They help to ignite the flame of my passion and creativity, making me believe in a better reality and a future with hope.

If somewhere over the rainbow was a place, it would lead straight into their embrace.  If inspiration was a journey, they would lead the expedition.  If hope was a place, it would lead straight into their hearts.  And because better tomorrows are possible, they are the carriers of that hope.

Sometimes we go through life thinking we know our strengths, who we really are and the passion that’s inside of us.  Yet it’s not until we put those strengths, those qualities and that passion into use for the benefit of someone else, of someone we love, that we truly come to know who we really are.

In my own life, there’s two friends who are my constant muses, my igniters of passion and carriers of hope.  I lovingly think of them as The Difference Maker and The Joyful Challenger.

Graphic image with a patterned background.  Text reads:  "The Difference Maker".  The Hope Resolve logo is at the lower right hand corner.

Meet my muse, my friend:
The Difference Maker.

She’s a woman full of grace.  In summary, she’s the woman who continually beats the odds.

Ever since I met her, she’s been defying odds and rising above statistics, challenges, unfairness, injustice, sickness, trauma and pain.  She’s a woman who’s proved doctors wrong, who hasn’t let her hardships define her, who’s put statistics to shame and who continually blooms right before everyone’s eyes.  As she blooms, even her withered petals bring nourishment to others.  As it rains, she finds a way to make sure others around her also benefit from the rain pouring on her.  When she learns something new, she is quick and intentional about sharing it with those who can benefit from it.  She is kindhearted, empathetic, and hopeful—and with her soft, tender words, shouts mountains out of the way for those she loves.  And as she loves, she builds and restores hope that was long lost.

My muse, the Difference Maker, mothers children here on earth, and on the other side of eternity.  She is an exceptional woman, and time spent with her changes my life for the better.  She reminds me that we go through moments, we share our lives and though we endure both pain and happiness, neither is ever wasted.  Her life shows me that we’ll see our pain and sorrow transformed into not just joy that we have for ourselves, but joy that we share and sow into others, for it is joy that is carried into the future that transforms and rescues lives.  The Difference Maker shows me that temporary brokenness is a side effect, but permanent redemption is its aftermath, and it propels us from within.

As we surprised her at her bridal shower, I learned that grace abides with love.  I learned that the changes life brings open up opportunities to bring others along in our journey and add to the family that we know.  At her wedding, I saw a woman sure of herself, full of confidence in her path, her heart and her future.  As I watched her love-filled eyes, I saw a real-life fairytale that had come true.  As I look at the photos from her wedding day all those years ago, I honestly get lost in her eyes, because I had seen those same eyes heartbroken and sorrowful, but this beautiful love that she found swallowed up all that pain and protected the courage inside that heart to love, grow strong, and live with hope.

The truth also is that at her wedding, I learned so much more about myself.  I learned castles are real places not just for material possessions, but for creating and storing up memories of great times had.  I learned that when you do something for someone you love, it refreshes your soul.  I learned that no matter how things come together, when they are done in love, they’re perfect just as they are.  I learned that strangers can quickly come together when the common thread that unites them is someone they love.  I learned that as I show up for my friend, the future opens up for me too.

The Difference Maker teaches me that it’s always better to just be you, for that’s the best and greatest person you can ever be.

Graphic image with patterned background.  Text reads:  The Joyful Challenger.  The Hope Resolve logo is at the lower right hand corner.

Meet my muse, my friend:
The Joyful Challenger

It is hard to look at her and not smile.  She is a woman of beauty, of joy and of grace.  I still remember the very first time that I saw her:  her hair perfect with soft, flowing waves.  A beige skirt and a red top; and tears on her eyes outworked from the prayers in her heart.  Soft, gentle words preceded by a bright, bold smile.

The Joyful Challenger lives a life of defiance.  She defies the odds, she defies hardships, she defies assumptions of who a woman could and should be.  The Joyful Challenger is a liaison between two places:  that of what is, and that of what can be.

This is a woman that has fought real hard for love.  There hasn’t been a moment where loving has not been an option for her.  And there will never be a moment when she doesn’t love with all she’s got.

She is a woman of many virtues, on a mission to connect others to the love she found in God.  She carries a posture of a servant, she has a heart for people and a drive to uphold the fact that people are worth much, much more than what the world would ever credit them for—and in upholding that truth, she brings people joy, leads them to peace, and opens the door to a Savior that has been calling out to them all along. 

Grace fills her, beauty projects from her, love overflows from her and acceptance is found in her love.  She chooses to push generations forward, and to teach them to rise above everything that holds them back.  If ever someone is lacking something in themselves, she finds a way to give them the tools they need to succeed.  She’s a woman of multiple talents, yet she places incredible value on the gifts of those around her.  She teaches me that God’s promises have no expiration date, and that neither does love.  Her love inspires me and pushes me to grow.  She is the flower that rises and blooms after long seasons of hard rain, defying convention and proving again that the clouds will part and we will rejoice again.

From her I’ve learned, and because of her I’ve laughed, breathed better, let my guard down, been inspired, strengthened, have stood in awe, witnessed miracles, gained confidence, done things I never thought I could do, been reminded of God’s promises, felt more alive, and loved life more all because of what she’s poured into my life.

I’ve watched her fight for her life against serious health battles on multiple occasions.  I’ve watched her smile through pain, defy the odds and choose to believe as she stood strong, unwavering in her faith.  I’ve reached out and visited her countless times as she lay in a hospital bed with the odds stacked against her.  And the truth is, as she fought for her life, she taught me so much more about mine, and opened my eyes to the grandeur of life.  Hers is a magnificent life, and she lives it with truly abundant joy.

Today, I think of The Difference Maker and of The Joyful Challenger with gratitude, love and admiration.  Thank you for who you’ve been, and what you’ve brought, to my life.

Graphic image with patterned background.  Text reads:  My Friend, The Difference Maker, The Joyful Challenger.  The Hope Resolve logo is at the lower right hand corner.

by Wendy Gonzalez for

Wendy Gonzalez

Writer on a mission to bring you inspiration + motivation to fuel your faith-filled living through stories of hope.



  1. Reply

    Yaritza Cortes

    May 9, 2020

    I love you!!! May the Lord continue to bless you! You’ve been my inspiration! Your words have echoed in my heart for years; From the ends of my earth…. I will never forget!

    • Reply

      Wendy Gonzalez

      May 21, 2020

      Thank you so much Yartiza! Your love and support are good to my soul! Love you so much, thanks for being who you are, it’s a great gift to our world!

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