Finding Jesus on Upside Down Days: Family Devotions from the Barnyard

Jill Miller
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In Finding Jesus on Upside Down Days, Jill Miller gives heartwarming, intimate glimpses of her life on the farm. But more than this, as Jill takes care of her animals, enjoying what the Creator has made, God takes her upside-down soul and sets it right-side up.   

Designed as a 52-week family devotional, readers of all ages and abilities will enjoy this illustrated collection of stories starring Jill’s farm animals and pets. Each story has an accompanying Bible verse that reinforces the story’s theme, encouraging the reader to see God in daily life. Readers will be able to comprehend   the truths of the Bible in deep ways, to discover and experience Jesus, and to know his amazing love for them at a new level. Through reading these stories together, families will be drawn closer to Jesus and to each other. 

In writing the stories, Jill had her autistic adult daughter with autism and her grandchildren in mind.  “I wanted my grandkids to love the things I lovemost of all Jesus. I believe God gave me the ideas for the stories while I was in the barn with the animals doing the ordinary things and discovering a God that cares about all things! The fun, the hard and the crazy. 



Jill Miller has spent the past thirty years discipling and ministering to students with disabilities and is committed to developing materials for teachers, parents, and caregivers who want to share the love of Jesus to use with them. Due in part to experiences with her own daughter, she has also started two businesses aimed at employing individuals affected by disability. Jill is a mother of six, wife of Paul Miller, Grammy of many, and lives in rural Pennsylvania. She is the author of Finding Jesus on Upside Down Days


Brad Woodard, BFA, has been illustrating his entire life, but decided on a major in graphic design at college. Post-college, while working as a designer, he rediscovered his love for illustration. Eventually and naturally, Brad’s illustrating and design fused together. He and his wife now run their own design and illustration studio, Brave the Woods. In addition to working with major brands, Brad shares his expertise via lectures, workshops, and online courses. 

He is the illustrator for Finding Jesus on Upside Down Days and Why Do We Say Thank You? 

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“I love creative, happy ways of making Christ real to our friends who live with intellectual disabilities, and Jill Miller's stellar new book has made me an even bigger fan of her wisdom and her writings! The heartwarming stories and fun illustrations will help readers find the comfort of Christ in the most difficult days. I predict that Finding Jesus on Upside down Days will prove to be a top resource for special-needs educators and parents, and I heartily recommend it!”
Joni Eareckson Tada, Joni and Friends International Disability Center

“God has intentionally designed his world to point to him. All around us he has embedded little physical illustrations of who he is, what he does, who we are, and how much we need him. We just need eyes to see the spiritual wonders illustrated all around us. Jill Miller has those eyes, and in this family devotional she gives us eyes to see too. Jill has given us a barnyard devotional that is tender, insightful, convicting and Jesus-loving. I highly recommend this great family read.”
Paul Tripp, Author; speaker; teacher

Finding Jesus on Upside Down Days is a fun book of barnyard stories that connect everyday life on the farm to timeless truths from the Bible. Get this illustrated devotional for your family and your children won’t let you stop reading; they will keep asking for more, day after day. Along the way, they’ll discover what the Bible says about worry, friendship, sin, salvation, and so much more.”
Marty Machowski, Family Pastor; author of The Ology, Wonderfull, Long Story Short, and other gospel-rich resources for church and home

“Finding Jesus on Upside Down Days reminds us through the stories of a charming cast of barnyard characters and friends that the gospel turns our hearts and our upside-down days right side up. The adorable illustrations and truths will bring the hope of the gospel to the hearts of families as they gather around its pages.”
Karen Hodge, Coordinator of Women’s Ministries for the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA); coauthor of Transformed: Life-taker to Life-giver and Life-giving Leadership

“As a mom, counselor, and fellow animal lover, I love Finding Jesus on the Upside Down Days. Jill demonstrates how God uses everyday moments, as well as creation, to remind us of his goodness toward us. I am struck by how often God uses his creation to teach us more about himself and his ways. Read this to your children and for your own soul; it is a delight!”
Julie E. Lowe, MA, Faculty and counselor, CCEF

“Our wonderful God uses ordinary parts of life like the changing of the seasons, our neighbors, and the animals we raise to encourage our hearts in him. He's always there showing us his love and lifting us up. In Finding Jesus on Upside-Down Days, Jill Miller shows us how to look outside of ourselves (how to just look outside at donkeys, dogs, goats, and friends!) and see Jesus there giving us his good word of assurance. Are there days when you need the Lord to put your heart right side up? Pick up this book and learn from Jill.”
Jared Kennedy, editor at The Gospel Coalition, author of Keeping Your Children's Ministry on Mission and The Beginner's Gospel Story Bible

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8 Reviews

  • 5
    Great book--for kids and adults!

    Posted by Christie on 04 22 2023

    I originally bought this for reading to my grandkids and they've all enjoyed it...ages 3-9. I also found that my dad, who has dementia, enjoyed it, also. I tried all kinds of things to engage him and this book has been a hit. Thank you!

  • 5
    Cute as a Bug's Ear

    Posted by Michael W Philliber on 03 24 2023

    "Cute as a bug's ear," is what my grandma would say about something that was charming, and delightful, and fun, all rolled into one. Well "Cute as a bug's ear" is what I'm calling this glossy 112-page hardback, "Finding Jesus on Upside Down Days: Family Devotions from the Barnyard" by Jill A. Miller. All 52 of these devotions are perfect for moms, dads, and grandparents to sit down with the young ones, snuggled up on the couch, and to read out loud. And the pictures will add to the attention-keeping and discussion. Miller draws her short tales from a cast of furry and feathery characters in her barnyard, while she draws her points from the Bible. Each reading revolves around the Bible passage without being "preachy," and is illustrated mostly by her animals, herself, or a few of her neighbors and their animals. A majority of the stories will make you laugh or chuckle, though some will also bring you to meet the sadness of death. But all of them will leave readers - younger and older alike - a bit more appreciative for who Jesus is and what he does for his people. It was fitting how Miller didn't shy away from the sickness and death of one of her golden retrievers, Hessid, and the sadness she felt after. Those four chapters were touching, but also were significant in communicating important lessons about life and our emotions, especially for the younger audience. All told, "Finding Jesus on Upside Down Days" was cute as a bug's ear! It will be a perfect addition to your children's books at home, or in the church nursery and library. And if you're wondering what age group it's written for, it seems to be written for younger kids who can sit in your lap or snuggle close. But, honestly, even drawing close to 62, I found it very enjoyable. I highly recommend the book.

  • 5
    Barnyard devotional for animal-loving families

    Posted by SHIRLEY ALARIE on 11 23 2022

    Author Jill Miller’s 52 devotions from the barnyard make a fun, educational, and faith-building family adventure. Finding Jesus on the Upside Down Days is a grandmother’s interesting and educational narration of her barnyard stories. Miller relates her experiences to Jesus and His ability to turn our Upside Down days back upright. Each ‘chapter’ is one or two pages long and includes Brad Woodard’s illustrations that are perfect for a children’s barnyard theme. Most chapters include one or two related Bible verses that can either become prompts for conversation or simply help children associate the meaning of Bible verses to their daily life. As the reader gets to know Miller’s fainting goats, miniature Jerusalem donkeys, and dogs, they also learn about friendship, helping each other, and having a relationship with Jesus. Miller included the death of one of her beloved dogs, where she acknowledged her sadness and then kept on with life. Finding Jesus on the Upside Down Days ends with Miller’s personal Christmas story that she relates to Christ’s birth. This ending makes Finding Jesus on Upside Down Days a good Advent devotional – that would be started 52 days before Christmas. It would also work well to read one per week, beginning at the start of the year and ending with the Christmas story. But really, the devotional can be used in any way the family (or teacher) sees fit. This is definitely a devotional that families who love animals would enjoy. New Growth Press hasn’t listed an age for this book on the Amazon listing. I suggest it’s best for ages 5+, but younger siblings could also appreciate much of it, too.

  • 5
    I love the sweet and very clear daily devotions . The barnyard friends are so lovable. I can picture them all in each story.

    Posted by Martha Eloise Briscoe on 11 13 2022

    I love this concept. Thank you Jill for this fresh way to teach lessons of love and walking with God.

  • 5
    Engaging and down to earth devotional for kids and adults like me!

    Posted by Paul Reader on 11 07 2022

    This devotional has been absolute gold for my kids- and myself. My kids, who love animals, are completely entranced and drawn in by the animal stories. Jill does a great job of inviting us into the lives of her animals- donkeys, dogs, and goats- and in doing so, into reality of God's shepherding of us in everyday life- its ups and its downs. The illustrations are fantastic and beautiful, and inspire the imagination.. This book is already a family favorite- not just with our 8 and 6 year old- but with my wife and myself as well. I love getting to know the God of the bible better through the eyes of Jill and the lives of God's good animal creations.

  • 5
    Refreshing, Accessible, Substantial

    Posted by Carson on 11 06 2022

    This book is delightful, providing refreshingly personal and concise lessons that are grounded in biblical truth.

  • 5
    I highly recommend this great family read, and think it's wonderful for teaching and training little hearts and minds to look at the world through the lens of the gospel.

    Posted by Elizabeth Brooks on 10 30 2022

    Jesus Makes Everything Right Side Up Many days seem to be upside down. Topsy-turvy. Right from the get-go, the day seems out of control. But in the craziness, there can be peace. Psalm 37:23 says, “The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives” (NLT). When I go out to the barnyard every day, God pops those “details” into my head. As I take care of the animals and see all he has made, he takes my upside-down soul and sets it right-side up. FINDING JESUS ON UPSIDE DOWN DAYS “Finding Jesus on Upside Down Days” is 52 weeks of barnyard stories that connect everyday life on the farm to biblical truths from the Bible. I love that it teaches the gospel using everyday problems and situations with heartwarming stories from farm animals and fun illustrations. This devotional will delight the whole family and draw you closer to Jesus and each other. It’s a great reminder of God’s kindness, goodness, and nearness. I love how it shows how God takes our upside-down souls and sets them right side up. I highly recommend this great family read, and I think it’s beautiful for teaching and training little hearts and minds to look at the world through the lens of the gospel. Sometimes during our day, we need a change of perspective, and this is the perfect devotional for families to dig in together to make everything right side up! I have received this product from New Growth Press in exchange for my honest and unbiased product review; all opinions are my own.*

  • 5
    Superb for Training Little Hearts (and Big Ones)

    Posted by Michele on 10 24 2022

    These stories are delightful for the whole family. They remind me, as a mom, of core truths about God's kindness, goodness, and nearness. I love how these little stories are teaching my son to actively go about finding God's hand in the world around him. The author has written with a light touch--the stories don't feel preachy. But they really are superb for training hearts and minds to look at the world through a gospel lens.

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