Alison Howell
About the Author

Alison is wife to her high school sweetheart, mother to two precious kids, and writer for Lifeway Publications. But what defines her most is she is promised to the King of Kings, who is coming back for her. While she is waiting, she wants to make every moment count.

(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, Alison, thank you for finding the important truth in this tragic story and then sharing it so courageously. May God strengthen and enable you as you pour yourself out there in your hometown, and may you find that this season of “not-fine” paves the way for transparency and openness to the Gospel going forward.

    • You are so right, Michele. In the midst of the storm, His love is stronger still. As we recover, we see evidence of that everyday. God intended this difficult situation for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives, just as He promised in Genesis 50:20. Thank you for your prayers!

  2. I cannot fathom what you have gone through, your family, your neighbors or your town. I pray to sweet Jesus to continually be with you all to give you strength and all that you need going forward. To find the positive in such crazy circumstances and to share it here with us, thank you xx

    • Jas, it’s amazing how God’s grace is always sufficient to accomplish all that He calls you to. Thank you for your prayers. I’m praising God with you for a God who is faithful!

  3. Yes! And it was okay to be in ratty clothes and have no make up on our faces as we stood in lines and struck conversations with total strangers perfectly unashamed of ourselves to be “au natural.” I hope we never revert back to that old plastic, shallow existence.

  4. Thank you, Alison! Praising God for you and praising Him for leading you to share your heart in this way. We as Christians, especially, are so prone to not being open with each other about our not-fine moments in our lives. I think we are so afraid of revealing that our lives aren’t perfect when everyone else around us seems to be living perfect lives because we don’t want to be judged as being less than they are. But when tragedy strikes suddenly no one has a “perfect” life, so it’s okay to admit it. Sometimes, too, we aren’t sure of the sincerity of the question. Does this person really want to know how I am doing, or is she asking just because it’s a social norm? But as you say, when the disasters and storms hit, it’s okay to tell the truth. This is so poignant for me right now because my mom went to be with the Lord two days ago. People ask me how I am, and I know they sincerely want to know. So I tell the truth: I’m praising God for allowing me to have such an amazing mom, and I am looking forward to seeing her in glory one day…but I miss her so much already!
    I know that ache of missing her will ebb and flow in the coming months and years as it did almost 11 years ago when my dad went to be with the Lord. And I’m so glad it’ll be okay to say I’m not fine when someone asks! Thank you for listening to the Lord’s voice when you wrote this! Father knew I needed this today, and not just me, but all of us…because if we would just admit it, there are truly very few days when we really ARE fine.

    • Sandra,
      Thank you for being so brave to share your heart, too. I just got chills reading your thoughts because two days ago my father-in-law unexpectedly went to be with the Lord, as well. I signed the agreement for this post three weeks ago. Little did I know then that God had chosen it for publication on another day in the life of my family when honesty and community would play a crucial role. This morning I was once again reminded that God never asked us to pretend everything is okay, He just asks us to trust it will be. I just lifted you up in prayer, praising God with you that God knows our every need and wipes our every tear.

      “Blessed are those who mourn for they will be comforted.” Matthew 5:4

      • Oh, Alison, my prayers are with you! You are so right that Father doesn’t want us to pretend everything is okay. He wants us to spur one another on, to encourage one another! How can we do that without sharing how He has brought us through our trials and how He is with us in just the everyday grunge of living? I believe that old liar and deceiver, Satan, loves to see us hide all of the grunge in our lives as we whitewash our outsides just as the Pharisees did! Inside we are desperately needing to have someone know what our lives are like, but we aren’t willing to be the first to start scraping off the whitewash. That’s one reason I praise Father for (in)courage. This is a place we can be open and honest which helps us clean out the sludge that grows in the bottom of our hearts!

      • Alison,

        Praying for you & your family. May God bring peace & comfort to your hurting souls. May you feel Him wrapping His arms around you & giving you hugs. Don’t pretend to be OK.

        (((((Hugs))))) from Watauga, TN

    • Thank you, Alison, for your heart felt reminder that being part of God’s family and our local community gives us the opportunity to be honest with one another and share our needs, and our hurts, and then also gives us the blessing of being able to respond with grace and love to those around us who are not “fine”.

      Sandra, I am so sorry for your loss. It is never easy losing a parent no matter how many years you were able to share with them. Thankfully, memories have a way of keeping them close at heart. I am praying for you, as you gather together to celebrate your mother’s life.
      Blessed be her memory. XOXO

  5. Thank you for your beautiful post and allowing Him to speak through you this morning. Very well said, it is ok not be fine and that we can be real with others in saying it. I think if we’re honest it opens doors for opportunities to really share our hearts with others. Many blessings to you today!

  6. Thank you for this. We’re in Houston with our first floor torn out from Mr. Harvey and living upstairs. Your words could not have been more true, even in Houston proper. Our circle of neighborhoods had the flooded and the not flooded but everyone definitely came together. Thank you for putting words to some
    of what created that phenomenon.

    • It does sound like your neighborhood looks much like mine. As our houses get back to normal, I hope there is a part of us that doesn’t. Thanks for sharing!

  7. Alison, this was beautiful, it is so true that relationships are grown and hearts are strengthened when we stop answering “fine”. I pray that as you recovery from Harvey your town, neighborhood and family will grow stronger and may His glory be seen through all the debris.

  8. I honestly have a bit of a difficult time always answering, “fine”, as I tend to lean towards being quite honest and open (sometimes to a fault). Of course there are times when this is not appropriate, but it’s true that if everyone was more honest we would have closer relationships and more opportunities to share God’s love with one another.

    Thanks for sharing your experience.

  9. Allison,
    Great perspective!
    My family and I also dealt or dealing with Harvey! You are so right , it seemed as so many were brought closer through this disaster! Like yourself , I tried offering what I could even if it was sandwiches or hotdogs and chips to other area folks working nonstop in their homes .
    My daughter lost her home , but we are just thankful all are safe and we have one home to stay in.
    Sending hugs and blessings to you and your family ..,

  10. Truth spoken! I saw, felt and tasted the love and compassion of neighbor helping neighbor when I was in Houston with BEGA Rapid Response Chaplains. We even had a precious women whose house was full of black mold pray for us! Asking the Lord to show favor to you in the days ahead as you and your neighborhood rebuild. Praying to return to serve in Houston soon.

    • Thank you so much for serving, Anne! Isn’t it amazing how when we seek to bless others, God often brings blessings our way, too. Those like you who traveled to help others in need have become our neighbors too!

  11. Alison,
    From across many miles, my heart goes out to all of you. Thank-you for your honesty that you have shared in your post. I have a habit of saying, “I’m fine” without giving it a second thought.I realize it is some what selfish, and I will try to do better. My prayers are with you all….
    blessings to you all,

  12. A million times “yes” on this post! Thank you, thank you, Alison, for laying bare the struggles in the aftermath of Harvey. We as a nation have been so deep in prayer for you. But thank you, perhaps more importantly, for sharing the honesty of heart that your community has had to acquire out of necessity…yet has brought you closer together. I truly feel we are all stronger for sharing open hearts and allowing others to share theirs. Such grace to find this light in a dark place. Our prayers continue for you and your whole community as you rebuild. So much love sent your way!

  13. Allison, Thank you for sharing this! I volunteered in Rockport, TX immediately after the storm for 8 days with an organization called Mercy Chefs. It was humbling, and hard, and beautiful all at the same time. There was a deep sense of community when we all were sharing the same porta potties as the collective group of volunteers and displaced residents gathered for meals and stayed in cars and RVs adjacent to the church where we served. When people who had lost everything came to our trailer to offer and help serve meals I couldn’t even find words…only tears. There were so many selfless people serving, but the resilience and hope of the residents of that small town was evident and such a testament to faith, community and perseverance. I loved this post. thank you for the vulnerability to share.

    • Sarah, God has and continues to reveal Himself in so many ways throughout the aftermath of the storm. The testimony of your experience is a powerful example of that. Thank you for your encouragement and for serving with Mercy Chefs.

  14. Such a shame it takes something that bad to bring out the hospitality that used to be the normal. Now people are just fine or never even acknowledge each other..

  15. Alison,

    This fast paced world doesn’t allow for much face to face time. It is sad that it takes a huge tragedy to get people to “come out of their shells” & open up about their lives. I’m not a fan of pretending. I will readily tell you how I’m doing. When I ask people, especially those at church, how they are doing I want more than fine. I expect to hear the good, bad & ugly. It allows me to pray for them & to help them out. My prayer is that more & more people would open up about their feelings & lives.

    Blessings 🙂