Michelle Stiffler
About the Author

Michelle is the trauma specialist and content writer for a Phoenix non-profit that addresses the holistic and relational needs of women in poverty and crisis. She’s a fitness enthusiast, rogue chef, amateur poet, and a big fan of bike rides at sunrise. Her biggest joy and adventures include her husband...

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

Reader Interactions


  1. Michelle, just, wow. Not only is your vulnerability beautiful and breathtaking, but the way you point to the truth of who God is and the hope we have in Him no matter what…what a gift! I believe your courage in sharing your story will be an ember of hope to many. It’s an honor to host your words here at (in)courage. xx

    • Becky, I woke up needing to hear ALL of that and wouldn’t you know, your words were waiting for me. Vulnerability is an odd little fear and hope place, but the more I go there, the more the Lord meets me and brings others to surround me. Thank you for being one of those others today, and thank you for being the mama hen at Incourage. This community models vulnerability and encouragement every day – and we’re stronger because of it!

  2. Michelle, I have a feeling that there are plenty of readers sitting in closets of their own making who will read these words and rejoice. What better day than today–Ash Wednesday–to read words about God meeting us in the ashes of sin and poor choices and then forging a new and bright road forward.

    • Michele, you’re so right. I still construct my own little closets and I’m always thankful when someone lets the light in so I can find freedom again. The gift of an Ash Wednesday post isn’t lost on me, by any means – the full circle of grace!

  3. Truly awe inspiring. I have come out of my own deep dark past. I was told by so many people to have an abortion. I chose life. In a few short weeks I will be writing an analysis paper of my life event. Being an “older” student, my paper will bring out the best of me. I used my story for 17 years as a Labor and Delivery nurse to encourage young teen mothers. God always has plans for our lives. Now more than ever…….There will always be an individual who needs a ray of hope in the stories we tell.

    • Anne, that’s awesome. Choosing life is so much bigger than simply choosing a little life, isn’t it? I feel like I chose MY life, too. One of the L/D nurses during the birth of my oldest had a similar story – teen mom who became a nurse to encourage frightened little moms like myself. She said, ‘I’ve been where you are. I promise – it’s going to be ok.’ Can’t tell you what that did for me as I went forward into the unknown. I’m sure your 17 year ministry impacted many. God is good. May every word of your paper be straight from the heart!

  4. Oh dearest sister, sometimes I forget how similar our lives are (sigh) which of course makes so much sense when you and I understand God’s love, grace and mercy and the passion with which we try to live that out everyday. Love you much. Love this!!!! So proud of you.

    • Oh, hi, sister! We do forget the similarities, don’t we? But I suppose grace and mercy help us forget the hard stuff so we have room for bigger love 🙂 Thanks for your huge, encouraging love for me! ❤

  5. A comeback story for the prodigal daughter. This is beautifully transparent. Your words and story are a blessing for so many going through the same thing.

  6. Michelle,

    Inspiring post! Lysa Terkeurst said in her book It’s Not Supposed to be This Way “Sin will take us further than we want to go, keep us long than we want & cost us more than we want to pay.” “If Bible is collecting dust & my conscience is hushed my heart is in danger of being crushed.” “God uses he worst parts of our lives to mold us.” I believe He is molding you. He is using your story/testimony to help many others & encourage them. God allows trials to strengthen us. Each of us has a past or trials that God has brought us through. Those trials give us a testimony to the greatness, love & mercy of almighty God. “God doesn’t want us to handle this situation. He wants us to hand it over to Him”. No matter how far gone we think we are God will still be there waiting for us to call on Him & allow Him to help us & guide our paths Romans 5:3-5 says: Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. I have found that verse to be true in my life. Through my trials I have grown emotionally & spiritually. I trust God more readily & know He’s got this. Something good will come of all this. Thank you for sharing a great testimony!

    Blessings :

    • It’s true, Beth – trials grow us more than we ever thought possible. God has confirmed again and again that He is good, He is trustworthy, and He is with me. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  7. What a gift you are, Michelle. I am encouraged beyond measure every time I hear the wisdom and truth that comes out of your mouth. I believe the anchoring of trust and hope and grace that you consistently live out of can only exist because of the rescue you experienced. You remind me of Peter when he recognized Jesus as the Son of the Living God. Jesus affirmed that this truth was revealed by the Father and blessed him with a new name. That which has been revealed to you is the very rock on which the Church is built and I am so grateful to have you as a co-laborer.

    • Christy, your comment has left me overwhelmed all afternoon. Thank you for knowing what anchors me and why. Thank you for speaking blessing over me. Thank you for willingly sharing yourself and connecting at a depth where words don’t often go. You refuse surface relationship, and good gracious, I respect that! I need that! So glad the Lord has brought us together and so excited for what’s ahead.

  8. Jesus invites us all to be “comeback kids.” The prodigal story. I’ve always called it a favorite of mine, and now I realize it is because it is my story too. His Grace is unbelievable, His embrace so needed, His restoration so complete. I’m learning to leave home less these days, because of a patient God committed to me.
    Your story always brings tears, but … “Those who plant in tears will harvest with shouts of joy. They weep as they go to plant their seed, but they sing as they return with the harvest.” [Psalm 126.5-6, NLT]
    We sing the praises of God’s mercy and His blessings undeserved. And Michelle … the comeback kid came back to Jesus (and us!) with another kid. Both loved!!

    • I know in the living of the story, there were many tears. I know the hope and safety you prayed faithfully was no light task, but a labor of love. I’ve never questioned your love, and what an impact that’s had on my ability to trust a God who never tires of welcoming me closer. Today, we get to reflect on a very different time. We get to celebrate 🙂 Thank you and love you.

  9. Michelle, so beautiful! Chills running up and down my spine (actually my whole body) the first and the second time I read it. I read this morning that it’s when we let people see the un-Photoshopped parts of our lives that they’re the most comfortable. Thanks for drawing us in to the comfy space of your heart. Love you!

  10. Michelle, I had chills and goosebumps running up and down my whole body, Both the first and the second time I read it. I read today that it’s when we let people see the un-Photoshopped parts of our lives that they’re the most comfortable. Thanks for drawing us into your comfy heart space. Love you!

    • Thanks for your comfortable spirit and openness that allows for being drawn close, dear friend. It seems the only way to be known is to be seen, imperfections and all, so I’m glad you can handle it 🙂

  11. Hi Michelle, what an inspiring and beautiful post. Your dad was my high school English teacher. He was an inspiration to me in more ways than one. I am grateful to see your words here at in(Courage); a place I visit regularly.

  12. My sweet sister, there aren’t many days that go by without me saying something to the effect of, “My sister Michelle says/always tells me/encourages me to…”. I am very very very proud to call you my big sister, and I always look forward to reading your words! Thanks for always being there to talk about life, spiritual growth, or buried wounds. I am so excited to share you with the world, and how fun that we get to see life come full circle; the pinnacle of God’s grace, by celebrating that now-all-grown-up baby’s wedding in a few months!! Love you!!

  13. Knowing you look up to me is so important to me; YOU are so important to me. Thanks for trusting me with conversation and thoughts that matters. Doesn’t get better than that 🙂 Proud of who you’ve become and your willingness to invest the tenacity required to grow – even when it seems it may take all you’ve got. And it may take all you’ve got, truthfully, but I promise, His provisions of strength, peace, and affection go beyond our hopes. Looking forward to celebrating one of our favorite girls together on her big day. How does it come so soon?! Sigh. Love you!

  14. Michelle,
    I rejoice each day in the path God has and is directing for you! Tears of JOY as I read!!


    • Love you, Tammy. Your empathic capacity for joy or sorrow is extraordinary and I’m thankful for the significant role you’ve had in my life. I’m excited about the new path ahead of you, too : )