A place for tough- minded Christians to explore, question, and wrestle. When you savor food, you slow down and enjoy to extract the richness. Same here.

In this blog, I will explore what it means to have strength of heart in three areas: change, adversity and reformation. I share stories of resilience including my own story about living in a country at war.

You are invited. Have a cup of coffee, stay a while and read some articles, sign up for the blog or sign up to preorder my book about my years in El Salvador.



Here my latest blog posts. Stay a while. Have a cup of coffee. Look around. Leave a comment.

Three Levels of Resilience

I believe God is good. Evil that happens in the world doesn’t represent God. But a tragic event can shake me up. I need a practice that gets me back on solid ground. For me it was in silence and meditation. I return to a positive outlook on life. This brings my mind back in control.

The #1 Question I’m asked: How are you so resilient?

In a crisis, some things are out of your control. A disaster is like a wave. You must be humble enough to know when it is time to step aside and ride the wave that you can’t control. Ride it until it’s over. Then take control when it’s over. In a way, a crisis teaches you how small you are and yet how powerful you can be. The resilience comes at the end. You take back control over your life. You don’t have to be a victim; instead be a survivor.

4 Phases that Explain Spiritual Growth Perfectly

Growth happens in seasons. For a time, you are searching for and discovering truth, then that season fades and it seems like you are nurturing and growing spiritually. The human spirit is radiant and can be nurtured and developed or ignored and neglected. Perhaps your growth started with relationships and connecting to people is easy for you but growth in truth still alludes you. Or you struggle the most with love, especially self-love. It doesn’t happen all at the same time but each phase transforms you.


Take a look at some of my favorite articles. Thank you for reading.

Open blank journal on a table with a cup of coffe

i believe

Instead of telling you where I’m coming from, I’m going to share with you where I am going. The following is a list of 21 beliefs that come from hours of conversations with my husband, Bruce, and with many friends. I’m not looking for agreement, this is simply where I find myself in the process of spiritual growth. More


Strength of Heart

I admire people who are willing to think fresh thoughts and do the hard work in search of truth. No easy answers; no simple pithy sayings. As a person of faith, I’m frustrated with easy answers that gloss over pain and refuse to wrestle. I’m not interested in the same answers that the church has been giving for the last 100 years. More.


Welcome to Magnificent Strength of Heart, a place for tough minded Christians who like to wrestle and question. I am Belinda Perez McDanel. I like to think, write, and tell stories. Fortunately, I have some fantastic stories to share.

I lived in El Salvador during their civil war in 1970s. My missionary parents also took me to Guatemala to help with the reconstruction from 1976 earthquake. I admire tough minded people who are not easily shaken. Ones who navigate adversity and come out stronger on the other side. My strength was in my family, my faith and in a simple practice of listening quietly in front of an open journal.

Topics you will discover here:

  • Change and the Church
  • Stories of Resilience
  • Reformation

Transformation – Change

The theme that links my three topics is transformation. How do we navigate a world that is changing? If you are hanging on to an Orthodox or Evangelical worldview with white knuckled determination, this is not the place for you. Like my tag line says, my writing will explore, question, wrestle, and then repeat the process. I don’t have all the answers, I’m exploring and observing. I’m happy to share my writing as I process. I will post every Wednesday.

The essence of my philosophy is this:

  1. Change takes you to a place you have never been before.
  2. Assume that what you know may not serve you in the new place.
  3. Being humble and teachable is the only way to explore the new.
  4. If you don’t become pliable, you might miss the new move of God.


More about Magnificent Strength of Heart.



The Christian Church is at a crossroads and it’s painful. I write about processing change. If we ever needed to know how to process change its’ now. We have a choice, change or become obsolete. The choice is to continue in the way we have for the last 100 years or change. Lots of people are leaving their church. Perhaps this is a sign that people are ready for change. We will explore change in the church and how to be teachable so that we can be open to where God is moving next.


Stories of Resilience

I write about my experiences in Guatemala and El Salvador. Even on a day when a machine gun was pointed directly at me, by the time my head hit the pillow at night, I was at peace. I practiced things like journaling, mindfulness and contemplative prayer although I didn’t think of it in those terms. I share writing from my upcoming book about El Salvador and how God loved me through it all. I write about other people who found strength in adversity, such as Viktor Frankl and Joni Eareckson-Tada.


I write about the new move of God. In this segment, I look to the future. I explore new ways to approach Christianity. I write about what it means to live in this new season of the Church. How does our identity need to shift? I dream of Christian churches where leaders are not burning out and people are not leaving wounded: where the Christian communities are known to be life-giving and a place of love.

Book Launch

Belinda lived in El Salvador with weekly incidents such as bombs, assassinations, kidnappings and armed assaults. For Belinda, her strength was in her family, her faith and in a simple practice of listening quietly in front of an open journal.



How to preorder my book will be posted here soon as I have it.