Lisa Appelo
About the Author

Lisa is a single mom to 7 and young widow who found God her Rock when her world was rocked. One of her delights is teaching women every Sunday morning at her church, FBC Jacksonville. She writes and speaks on faith in the hard and God’s healing hope.

(in)side DaySpring: things we love
& you will too!
Find more at
(in)side DaySpring:
things we love
& you will too!
Find more at
Recent Posts

Reader Interactions


  1. Oh, Lisa, there is redemption all throughout this post like like confetti sprinkles on a beautiful dessert. Thank you for reassuring me today that even the darkest and most crippling losses in our lives can be turned inside out in His great mercy. Thank you for choosing to live in this redemption even though you, too, have walked the hard path of loss and grief.

  2. Wow! An amazing story. Thanks for sharing. We don’t know what the plan or design God has for our future but He always has us in mind. He knew that all the moms would need each other for support long after the college days. God is so good!

    • Our pain has been different, and the grief for each of us is different, but there has also been understanding in the hugs and tears we’ve shared. <3 Thank you, Adria.

  3. Thank you for sharing your faith filled story. How heartbreaking yet your faith inspires.
    I’m encouraged by your thought of how our lives are threaded by God as I go thru my own tragic loss of my marriage. The betrayal and heartbreak are shattering yet I know God will piece it all back together.

    • I’m so sorry for such a deep loss, Deb. I have not walked where you are walking but this I’ve learned: God has beauty and hope and life for us in Chapter 2. God will lovingly mend every shattered piece because you are so valuable to him.

  4. What a beautiful testimony of God’s hope shining through each of you during such sad times. It’s these kind of inspirational moments when God’s people showi love during the most painful times that show there’s only one place that kind of hope and love can possibly come from—God! He gives hope when all seems hopeless. God bless you!

    • That’s it exactly, Valerie! It’s a humbling thing to walk back into a house of college boys with a mom who’s lost her own boy, who should be there, who has left a gaping hole. I’ve watched this mom and dad pour back into kids’ lives because of they can trade in hopelessness for hope every day.

  5. Lisa,
    Your beautiful post reminds me of how many times Jesus had fellowship with people around a meal. Even the Last Supper is so inspiring in it’s simplicity. Sometimes a hot casserole says love like nothing other. What a heartwarming tradition that turned into a healing ministry. No, we don’t understand why God weaves things together like He does, but we can trust the Weaver’s hand. He is good and He is love. Some days that needs to be our enough. Thanks so much for sharing!

  6. Our giving to others and helping them we find therapy and help for both them and ourself! The pain of grief is just so physically painful. My son, the oldest of six took his life when a freshman at Texas A&M. That was in1984 and yet whenever I read stories of grief and loss I go rushing back to that time, remembering the severity of the symptoms and once again looking for answers. It is as though I belong to a group.God has brought me so far and my other children as well but heavy scars were left which impaired communication. I know our Lord has purpose and came to rely on Isaiah 26:3 for my help!

    • Oh Nancy, sending you much love. I don’t think I every could have understood before that 30+ years do not erase such a deep loss. Our only peace in those kinds of tragedy are to keep our minds stayed on God and look for His hand even there. Praying for your mom heart even now.

  7. Thank you for this. We do not grieve as those having no hope. It is ok to grieve but we focus on or hope in Christ who is our hope and peace. I have learned this as of lately with the death of my parents. I live this in the big and small disappointments of life. Thank you for the reminder of sharing Jesus’s love throug relationships.

  8. This really hits home for me. Last September I finally felt that I had my son back because he was being discharged from the army after serving three years. Nine months were spent in Afghanistan. Unfortunately, he didn’t adapt well and committed suicide in May.

    • Stephanie, I’m so sorry to hear about the loss of your son. I can’t even imagine the pain you must be experiencing, but I pray that God will give you glimpses of hope each day and that He will surround you with people to help you through this difficult season.

    • My words fall far short, Stephanie, but I’m am so sorry for such a huge loss of your son. I’ve prayed for you, trusting you to God…praying you feel his strong love today. Deuteronomy 33:27.

  9. This is beautiful. Looking back, I can see why God has placed specific people in my life at specific times. He lovingly surrounds us with people to not only share our joys with, but people who will be able to support us when life gets hard (if we are willing to let them into our pain). In the midst of darkness, sometimes it takes just a little bit of hope to help us keep walking.

    • They love it, Jennifer! It’s become a circled spot on the calendar because lots of mom-cooked food! But you’re right..I remember a warning at orientation that our college kids might push us away but we get and give hugs to every single boy (and girls too!) in the houses when we come.

  10. I am sorry for your loss. we don’t always see the plans of the enemy but God turns it for good. Even grown up children need that mother love whether they’s admit it or not. What a wonderful way to minister His love to young men. It should be done on all college campuses.

  11. Lisa,

    What a heart warming story. Yes home cooked food is always welcomed at colleges. It helps young people know that someone cares for them. Thanks for being the hands and feet of Jesus for these young men. ” It’s not just our shared hard that binds us together but our shared hope. ” College students want and need that comfort, especially during trying times. God blessed you three women with friendship and bond that will last a lifetime! May God continue to heal each of your hearts and souls!

    Blessings 🙂

  12. What a beautiful story of you cooking for and blessing these boys in ways you will never fully know. Years later they will still be remembering the kindness, love, food, and friendship you extended to them. Things like this change you and them.

  13. What a sweet, sweet idea and ministry all wrapped in one. I’m so sorry these boys and you parents had to face these hard and tragic life situations, but I’m glad you had Jesus and food. You’re planting seeds in my own mind for our kids’ future college years. Love it and thank you!

  14. Wow, what a story! That is fantastic-a healing community-a church really, born out of love for one another and hope in Jesus. Thank you for sharing!

  15. I love how God uses things like a simple dinner tradition to bless so many others. I love that He uses the little things and He begins to use them long before we even realize what is happening. I love this story and the community that is portrayed here! What a blessed group of young men to have moms like you all! This is such a wonderful reminder to live intentionally in everything you do!

  16. There is nothing like breaking bread together. But this was so much more than that. Thank you for sharing! What an amazing testimony to God’s work through decisions we make. Nothing is wasted.