Tag Archives: Hope

Happy Valentine’s Day!

February is most of all highlighted by Valentine’s Day, and designated to express and receive love! How delightful. Let me share this writing with you by Stephen Crotts…

Love ~

To be young, wealthy and in love–all in the third century. And to be a Christian. 

Such was young Valentine. He would consummate his great love by taking her as his bride. Soon he would be wed. But his world came crashing down around him when the Roman emperor declared all Christians illegal citizens and guilty of treason. All they had to do was to say, “Caesar is Lord!” Rather than deny Christ, young Valentine was arrested. 

In jail, awaiting his execution, he wrote love letters to his girlfriend…beautiful, passionate letters assuring her of his great love for her. But theirs would be a love not lived out. On February 14, 269, Valentine was put to death, martyred for Jesus Christ. 

Since then, Christians have celebrated his fidelity to Christ and romantic love on the 14th of February by sending our own love letters to special people. And we do so this year, let us resolve to live for Christ unashamedly.  ~ Stephen Crotts 

So my friend, how will you spend your Valentine’s day? Maybe a romantic dinner with card and flowers from or to your beloved? It seems odd that we need a day in the year to remind us to show and exhibit love. Click To Tweet A day that indicates we should express our faithfulness and love to our beloved!  Yet, how about most of all to our Christ. His words to us penned by the apostle Paul in Corinthians need to be seared upon our hearts:

“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.

“Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

“Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away. When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known. And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” ~1 Corinthians 13 

No small wonder it is called the Love Chapter. The above words are the key to any and every relational issue known to man. For if we do as it says we should, we become humbly involved in laying aside our agenda and we pick up the care the concern for others and administer love, unselfish love. 

I know my tendencies and I know how hard it is to look beyond me and see others in the light of God’s love, forgive me Lord. As Your creation, it should be a natural to do likewise–as You do unto us–to those around us. Why do I always get in the way? 

Father, when I am struggling with my spouse, my friends and even the poky driver ahead of me who thinks I should live my life at his speed, help me to think LOVE. Forgive all the “buts…” that I throw out as excuses to justify my unloving attitude. Lord, if I could always have on my mind the love You showed Your unworthy child, I just might remember. And how do I really show Your love to that unlovable person(s) we all seem to have in our lives? Whatever it takes Lord, I need Your grace and mercy so that I would remain that humble servant who desires to walk in love and then purposes to do it! I am so weary of asking and then I watch myself turn around and reneging on my intention. Give me authenticity that will reveal who You are through me. I love you Abba and my desire is to live for You. In Jesus Name, Amen!

Making the Shift

KN with tagWelcome, I am so glad you are here!

Sometimes we get to a place in our lives when there comes a tweaking, a nudge, or a reconfiguration if you will. That is what is happening on this site you have visited, just a smidge of a shift to embrace the fullness of not just the Spiritual and Emotional part of our lives but to include as importantly our body.

A few years ago I got seriously involved in making a difference in my health. Deciding to put to test a product that I had been introduce to by a dear friend. You can read more about my Zeal testimony.

Just so happens I began to really like what was happening with my health as my immune system was being boosted. I found that I wasn’t getting sick like I typically did. Because of that I ended up becoming a consultant for Zurvita.

I am thankful that I have made this move because what has happened is a better awareness of the importance of building into our earthly tent or body, as well as the other two elements that comprise who we are. And the Bible has a lot to say about taking care of our “temples.” Why? Because we house the Holy Spirit when Christ redeemed our lives!

Line Break

In the past I dabbled with health fads and eating various nutritious foods. I have always gardened and love fresh foods. But in this age of super farming (which has annihilated what was once good for us, by genetically modifying our base foods,) we are basically putting a gun to our heads by the food choices we make when they aren’t healthy. Or we may be completely ignorant going along with the societal trend of the super-size, fast food eating.

This new area includes issues like dairy and grain allergies. Don’t you wonder why people are struggling, trying to maintain their health even when it seems like they are eating well?

Well, here is a place where we will embrace all three elements of health and wellness from top to bottom if you will.

Line Break

I hope you will join me on the journey of healing so we can be the effective instruments God has designed us to be…as we confront the spiritual, emotional and physical aspects of this pathway called life. Let’s be an encouragement to one another and lift each other up because when the ‘body’ is hurting then we all are hurting!

John16.33

Knowing that God has called to live a life full and abundant should tell us something. And when we are dragging around we aren’t much help to ourselves and others!

In here you will find information about how we can guard, improve, address those stumbling blocks, and grow into healthier human beings. I will even include recipes and features from friend who are on the journey with me.

So if your with me lets give it our very best! Join me on the journey to wholeness so we can finish strong and take many with us!

This Scripture will remain a standard closing for us when we finish our time together…

“May God himself, the God who makes everything holy and whole, make you holy and whole, put you together—spirit, soul, and body—and keep you fit for the coming of our Master, Jesus Christ. The One who called you is completely dependable. If he said it, he’ll do it!” 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 Message Paraphrase

It’s the Most Wonderful Time…

Ah yes, the lyrics are in my head, “It’s the most wonderful time, it’s the hap…happiest time of the year”.  Is that really true?  Is it really the most wonderful time of the year for you? Personally I waver back and forth between good and sad!  I have had some good Christmases and some very sad ones.  Most of the difficult ones have come as a result of poor choices I have made in my life.  At those places I was either a little girl in an unhappy family setting, a lonely runaway when I didn’t even know it was Christmas and then in a marriage that was very difficult where my family suffered from the results of alcoholism. These were times when I had no hope, because Christ was not in my life.

Is Christmastime a Difficult Time for You?

There have also been times when even as a believer that Christmas has been sad or difficult.  I have a prodigal son who has caused much sorrow because of his poor choices.  For many years we have seen him come and go without any change in his lifestyle or he continued to add more “stuff” to the baggage he continues to carry. This makes for sadness for his family as we watch him struggle to keep his head above water.  These are times when all the sentiment and family time just doesn’t take away the pain of watching a loved one flail through life.

Prince of PeaceHowever, deep inside the recesses of my heart, I really do have peace and joy.  And it is because of the Christmas story.  An incredible expression of love that was lavished upon mankind as the Creator of ALL. He humbled Himself to come as a little baby, being birthed in a lowly manger just so that we could once again be in fellowship. He restored what was broken in the Garden of Eden.

You Are Loved…

This extravagant love, poured out in the form of a baby, then child, then man, the Christ, was God’s greatest work from a desire to once again have fellowship with us.  As it tells us in Genesis 1:26,27,

Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”  So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. 

We have been created in God’s very own image!  That is sometimes too big for my comprehension but…I have accepted this truth and accepted the Christ who came yet was crucified, died, and buried (defeating death) when He rose on the third day! All for those who will receive the loving offer of redemption through His shed blood.

John 1.14 Christmas

Christ Our Hope!

So in the midst of your Christmas, I pray you will know the peace that surpasses even the difficulties (and there are so many things that try to rob this peace from us), whether death of a loved one, divorce, prodigals, sickness, financial loss, hunger…remember, Christ is the one who fills us completely with His peace and purpose in spite of the former mentioned.  Click To Tweet

With love and a blessed Christmas to you all!

 

It’s a Gift of Life!

But you, Israel, my servant, Jacob, whom I have chosen, the offspring of Abraham, my friend; you whom I took from the ends of the earth, and called from its farthest corners, saying to you, “You are my servant, I have chosen you and not cast you off”; fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

                                                                                                                     ~ Isaiah 41:8-10 ESV

Praise be to God who allowed us the amazing privilege of being grafted into the lineage of Abraham–God’s friend–as well as Isaac and Jacob’s.  How?  Simply put by accepting His gift, His one and only Son, Jesus.

John 1.12

For God Himself, sent His only son, walking flesh and bone, to live among us. He would make a way where there was no way because of the sin that took place in the garden so long ago.

Jesus, came to earth as a humble little baby, born of a virgin (young Mary). A story that is told year after year when we celebrate Christmas. This was done purposefully so that you and I could become God’s sons and daughters.

Do you realize just how incredible that truth is?  Can you wrap your brain around the fact that the Creator of the universe, our Father, made a way for us to have a personal relationship with Him?  I will honestly say that I don’t understand it.  It makes me crazy to think of the expanse of the love that my heavenly Father lavishly poured out for you and me.

This truth certainly exceeds all imagination, all to be restore into a right standing with Him!  How could I ever expect to comprehend this one?

But…by faith, I must. I must simply believe! He saved my life, gave me hope and a chance to walk with purpose in each step, giving me a reason to wake up and live and a reason to love others as He has loved me! 

I like what Francis Chan said in his book Crazy Love, “The point of our life is to point to Him…” Click To Tweet

You too can have life that is intended to be full, rich and abundant and filled with purpose.  You do know that don’t you?  If not, friend, I can’t say enough, in an attempt to convince you of this truth. I know, you can’t see it, taste it, smell it or see it but…it is yours for the taking.  So here, here is the gift of hope and life, and it’s wrapped in love and not just any love but the Father’s love.

easterBecause Jesus went to the cross for you, you have been gifted with spending an eternity with the Father. I want so much for you to have it, no strings attached! If you are like me, it is just too hard to fathom a cross, a horrific death, where life drained from a broken body as Christ’s blood was spilled for you and me. You would think that that would be it, end of the story! But really it was a beginning on the third day, when death was defeated and eternal life in heaven won the victory as Christ arose.

“Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.” 1 Corinthians 15: 51-52
This is just too exciting! And there’s more…
“When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.” O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” 1 Corinthians 15:54-55
Oh the devil thought it was finished when it had only just begun!
 John 20.30-31
You know, my words really don’t do this story justice at all. But the story is told in His Words. Why not start with the book of John. And know that most of all I pray you receive the ultimate gift of life and the blessing of being welcomed into the family of God, friend.  Take it from someone who has been so topsy turvy on the journey to find peace, love and to have joy in the rest of my earthbound journey.

So once again…here it is, yours for the taking…here’s to life!

You Are Being Watched!

Matt 516Have you pondered the fact that you have the ability to make a profound impact on the world around you (or as I like to say “in your sphere of influence”?) Seriously! I am a people observer. I love to watch people and could sit in a mall for a length of time just looking at people as they walk by. Analyzing their moves and behaviors just for fun! I know, goofy. In a similar way that is what the ‘world’ around us is doing to those who name Jesus as their Lord and Savior. They are watching us, wondering why we do what we do. Observing our reactions to situations and then making assessments based on what they perceive a Christian is supposed to do. Yikes, I’m not sure I appreciate that kind of scrutiny!

I have heard it said that our young people are not duped but can see through our sincerity or lack of it! Click To Tweet That confirms that young people are looking for the real deal. Not the Sunday morning pretenders that put their Sunday best mask on and smile. And when asked how they are doing say “great” when inside they may be dying, terribly lonely, having an affair, just gossiped about a person in the other room or who’s to know what is under the mask of deception…

When I think of young people I see them searching for Jesus with skin on! And people who are honest enough to say I need prayer. And when they are hurting I would like to think that they could come to us and ask for help. But they probably won’t because they know we are going to reprimand them and judge them instead of offering an arm around the shoulder to walk with them through their mistake riddled pain. They are looking to find a way out just like we may be, wanting peace like we do and where will we point them?

Line Break

These are some very humbling national statistics about American teenagers:

  • 1 in 3 have been drunk in the past month
  • 1 in 4 will use illegal drugs
  • 8,000 contract an STD every day
  • 1 million are pregnant
  • 750,000 get abortions each year
  • 1 in 10 have been raped
  • 9 out of 10 have seen pornography online
  • 1 of 2 are no longer virgins
  • 40% have inflicted self-injury
  • 1 in 5 have contemplated suicide
  • Over 1,500 kill themselves each year
  • 53% believe Jesus sinned
  • 83% believe truth is relative

Upon reading the above statistics and thinking about your own authenticity I want to ask you if you are willing to be transparent and vulnerable to the next generation that is giving way to the myriad of philosophies out there because they can’t really see a “Jesus” generation that works?

I adamantly proclaim that in each of our lives that Jesus either is who we are or He is not! And if He is part of your life then you and I have the responsibility to prove He is Lord in our every day living it out!

“What role will you play in reaching this profoundly lost generation?” ~Donna Partow

It will cost you something…you will have to become transparent and remove the mask of pretend!

GraceTruth-300x300

Is There a Prodigal in Your Life?

ProdigalYears ago when my youngest (troubled) son was placed in a facility to get help (he was an unhealthy hazard to himself and others), I was sharing my heart with Amy Shreve (she a harpist and her husband are our friends that we traveled with for some radio rallies.)

The night after a concert here in I-Falls I was so grieved for this son who has had problems since fighting me in the womb, It is true! Too many heartaches and broken promises that he would straighten up go right and that never amounted to success. This mother’s heart hurt so badly to see him fail time and time again.  Not to mention the stress it put on my marriage.

How easy it can be to place blame!  It’s my fault, the father’s fault, the stepfather’s fault, everybody else’s fault but no one owning up to their own responsibility. Living the dysfunctional life I have lived only helped me take on unnecessary blame for a whole host of things that were only partially my fault.

I believe that we are only responsible for the situations that we directly cause and not the speculative ones (if only you…)  If I steal something, I am at fault, not the person who doesn’t lock his door to keep a thief out. “If onlys” are pure speculation! But we can really let ourselves get buried beneath them if we are not wise (or shall I say walking in truth.) Stuff happens, we make mistakes! Acknowledge them, confess them and ask forgiveness of those we have wronged and move on.  How sad when we become buried under guilt and condemnation that really isn’t ours to assume provided we have responded correctly like mentioned above. We can become overwhelmed with false guilt.

Prodigals can be used by God to help us look at the truth in our own situations. Click To Tweet Looking back I can now see that there are things that could have been handled differently and with a whole lot more unconditional love.  But then the child has a responsibility also.  They become runners. Runners from the truth, their pain and anything that gets uncomfortably close to their emotions. They need help to see that their poor choices are what they need to own up to.  I am responsible for my choices and my children for theirs, my spouse His, etc.  It is a dynamic that I just don’t know how people without the Lord survive and many don’t.

I have attached a link to an Oswald Chamber’s reading for March 24 (linked to the image.)  This is what Amy came to show me the next morning when she had been praying for me and my prodigal.  It wasn’t even March but she came upon it and shared it with me and it has had a very profound impact on my thinking.  

You see dysfunctionality breeds false guilt which in most cases won’t let the wrong assume their sorrows and pain that they find themselves in. He must increase… If God is sovereign and in control and I believe He is, then every thing, large and small is used by Him (He is fully aware of it’s happening) to grow us up and closer to Him.  According to Chambers, we can become the very thing that gets in the way of our prodigal learning (yes the hard way) his lessons.  

Some of us have to learn the hard way, I have.  If someone comes along to smooth out the situation instead of letting the circumstances being used to teach the lesson, then that someone has interrupted the class and the lesson may be postponed until a later date and possibly a more severe situation.  The verse for that day is from John 3:30 and it is simple and profound,

“He must increase, but I must decrease”.  

Get out of the way and let God be God and the Holy Spirit do what it is that He desires to do in a wandering… Click To Tweet In modern day terms we would say quit being an enabler!  Friend, I have had to say this to myself over and over because that it what I was so used to doing to try and make things right and work!  But I was the one who continued to get in the way.

So I pray that we would not be in the way of the catylist that the Lord would use to work in the heart of that one who is walking contrary to God’s ways.  

Father, I cautiously say, do it Lord, whatever it takes to break the heart of the wander so that they would look beyond themselves and see You!  I know You will give me the courage to believe that You hold his or her life in Your hands and that Your desire is to see them come to You and give them the peace they have been searching for.  I can even say “thank you” for the hard lessons that I have had to learn because You used them to bring me a bit closer to You each time.  I not only love You Lord, but I trust You and entrust my loved ones to You, in Jesus’ Name!

We are all prodigals at one time or another! Recently Louie Giglio addressed some of this in a powerful message He delivered and shared on Focus on the Family at the end of May 2014. If you have some time it would be well worth listening to some of this first part of his message…

Louie Giglio on Focus on the Family

Need more encouragement for your journey…visit Arabah Joy, my blogger friend!

Better Than A Hallelujah

Psalm 121 in woodsSharing the story of a desperate heart over at the #Loft today to remind us that God is there at the perfect moment, even when despair is ready to consume us, and it is never too late…

I spoke to a lovely group of ladies, where a  beautiful young lady was asked to do special music for the event.  I knew the song but never really paid much attention to it until that day, hearing it sweetly and gently sung by this precious woman.  I hadn’t realized that some of the lyrics in the song really spoke of my story and my journey of coming to Christ and delivering my marriage.  I just couldn’t get the song out of my mind.  (Interesting how God really does put things together since she and I didn’t even know each other!)

God has given me specific verses that I use to encapsulate my story of being a desperate young mom who had exhausted all her efforts to ‘make life work’ or ‘make sense’.  Instead, all I kept doing was digging my hole deeper and deeper with every poor choice and mistake piling in upon me and weighing me down so that every attempt to climb out only felt like trying to pull myself out of quick sand.  I was being sucked in and frankly, I was just about at the place of letting go of all hope, figuring I would never find ‘happiness’ and I just wanted to give up.  However, that was the place or point where God could finally do the work He had planned all along.

The chorus of the song that was sung by the beautiful guest vocalist was so fitting because I was there, I was a broken, miserable and pretty desperate mess of a woman, failing in all of my attempts to find happiness.

We pour out our miseries
God just hears a melody
Beautiful, the mess we are
The honest cries of a breaking heart,
Are better than a Hallelujah…

I am reminded of how patient our heavenly Father is with us.  He really does know that some of us have to bottom out not only once sometimes more times as we stubbornly keep trying to do things “our way” instead of pleading for help.  This only reminds me of how kind our Father truly is toward His wayward children.  Another line from the song:

The tears of shame for what’s been done
The silence when the words won’t come,
Are better than a Hallelujah sometimes.

The verse that speaks so clearly of the day that Jesus rescued me from everything that I had attempted to do on my own in an effort to find peace is from Psalm 40:1-3:

“I waited patiently for the LORD; he inclined to me and heard my cry.  He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure.  He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the LORD.”

God, my Father, could have left me flailing, trying to continue in my useless efforts to get out of my self-made pit…but He didn’t!  He heard the broken cries of one who finally let go of trying to “do it on her own”! Instead  He knew I was truly ready to be plucked out.  

Here is Psalm 40:1-3 once again but from the Message paraphrase:

I waited and waited and waited for God. At last he looked; finally he listened. He lifted me out of the ditch, pulled me from deep mud. He stood me up on a solid rock to make sure I wouldn’t slip. He taught me how to sing the latest God-song, a praise-song to our God. More and more people are seeing this: they enter the mystery, abandoning themselves to God.

My life hasn’t been the same since the day I gave my broken Hallelujah to my God.  I am very encouraged to know that the heart song we sing never goes unnoticed by the Father!  He never turns His back on our cries. Like the verses above read, He is patient in His waiting for us to finally say we can’t do it on our own, or by ourselves!  Help, help me Lord…

Are you at that place today where a broken Hallelujah is all you can muster or where out of sheer desperation your heart is on the verge of failing and you just can’t go another step on your own?  Oh my friend, God has been patiently waiting for this very moment when you would lay down your self-made efforts and allow Him to ‘bring you up’, up out of your own miserable pit.  He is your rescuer, your deliverer and your present help in times of trouble.  I urge you to cry out to Him now, give Him your broken Hallelujah, He not only cares for you but He loves you and He won’t turn His back on you!

When Your Past Prevents Your Future…

Maybe like me you have looked at amazing women and thought about just how much they have it all together! And then you remember, well I could never do that or go there because see…I have this dark history that used to remind me that yup, you are invalidated because of your “stuff”.  For too long I let my past prevent my future. I allowed the darkness to overshadow the glowing ember within me that was just waiting for the deep breath to inhale, ignite and begin to grow that light inside of me to a blaze.

Regret was one of the enemies of my soul. I was so filled with regret from the things I allowed myself to partake in as a young teen that shame trumped every attempt at my climbing out of the pit my self-destructive lifestyle had dug. I was living what I deserved falling into abusive relationships, because I wasn’t worthy of anything else. I truly thought that my life was worthless and that I would never know true happiness.

I became a Christian in thanks to Christian media and while watching the 700 Club as a young troubled 30 year old mom of three and in a live-in relationship. It was in thanks to the program’s willingness to show their testimony segments that I realized that maybe, just maybe there was hope for me and my very messy past. So I responded to the call from Pat Robertson to receive Christ by praying with him that day in 1984 and I accepted Jesus as my Savior.

It would be wonderful to say that everything changed that day! And spiritually it did, however it took thirteen years for me to struggle through my past regrets. After getting myself involved in my husband’s church (I married the guy I was living with in 1986) and had started to attend the church he grew up in so that he would feel compelled to come back too. At that time it sure seemed as though it was a ‘do good’ church full of people who were so good that I could in no way feel comfortable as I compared myself to them because of this past I was dragging along. So I couldn’t get close to people in the church for fear they may see my baggage and judge me for it. It took some time but I began to see that many were like me, being very good at wearing masks.

My tendency is to please because I don’t want another rejection! I have been rejected it seems forever. Serious rejections like from the father of my firstborn who got me pregnant when I was just 17, then refused to be responsible for us. And the guy who convinced me to abort our baby because he wasn’t ready to handle another kid just yet…Like relationships that were always based on what they could get from me and then they would leave me. I always gave myself away thinking that was how I could hold on to someone. Oh I was so young, needy and looking for love in all the wrong places.

I am grateful to God for allowing me to get to the place where I began to question if this was all there was to this ‘Christian’ life? A place that brought me to my knees.  And then on my face in a desperate search and desire to know Him, really know Him in a deeper way. I surrendered my yucky marriage, my troubled children and my pitiful life and begged God to do something. It was then that God met me in this pathetic state of being and where He rescued me.

“I waited patiently for the Lord; and He inclined to me and heard my cry.

He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay.

And he set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm.

He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God;

Many will see and fear and will trust in the Lord.”

A portion of Scripture that I have laid claim to and have called my own from Psalm 40:1-3! I am eternally thankful for His redeeming love that was the healing balm poured over me so that I would know that I do have purpose and that He saved me from my past. That is how I am now able to open up and let others know that they don’t have to be silent and that God is more than able to heal our wounded beginnings. My love for Him is immense!

I love this song from Point of Grace and often sing it when I share my story:

Identifying Blocked Goals in Our Life

Strongholds, although this word can be seen as a save place or refuge, it is also the opposite where a certain mindset is used to hold us captive and when used as in the latter a stronghold just might be preventing us from living the abundant life.

Let’s begin by thinking about blocked goals. You know, the times when we set our sights on something like marrying our high school sweetheart but then he ran off with your best friend.  Or maybe like me you always wanted to be a teacher, even as a little girl, but things got in the way and when you finally decided to go to college your husband said no (not to college but to traveling over 200 miles each day to attend classes.) And maybe your child had such a caring heart for others and you really saw them becoming a missionary someday but they got into trouble along the way and have yet to find their way back into the church body. These are things that can really take the wind out of our sails and cause some deep-seated resentment toward God or others. The story of my prodigal has served to teach me many lessons that have been extremely painful and even drove me to temporarily delve into unbelief and hopelessness. 

My youngest son was difficult from the get-go. By kindergarten he was already having problems on the bus and with all authority figures. It is a long story but to bring you up to speed and when I suffered the biggest disappointment was over six years ago now. While sitting in jail and under my influence, he opted to see if the judge would let him go to Teen Challenge, in hopes of getting the help he needed to get his life straightened out. The judge court ordered him there and we were holding our breath thinking that this is it, this kid is finally going to turn things around. Teen Challenge is a twelve-month plus program that I really do believe in because they have proven very successful at helping anyone who is ready to help themselves recover from whatever it is that got them in the program! My son pulled himself out after seven and a half months and it was just like I was socked in the gut. I just knew this was the answer for my guy and that it would bring him back to the Lord and I was devastated. I wanted to throw my arms in the air and tell God that I give up, that’s it and that he is hopelessly lost. I really hope to never revisit this place again. 

Let me say that pitfalls like the blocked goal described above can turn into your times of preparation!  It can be a time of tilling the hardened soil around the heart. In a Bible study that I did many years ago called “Trials, Don’t Resent them as Intruders” the author, Juanita Purcell said this and it has stuck with me:

“Faith does not grow on a smooth road without obstacles.  However, we must view trials as steppingstones—not stumbling blocks.  Each trial we pass through should help us climb a little higher and draw us closer to Christ.”

We all have dreams that have been soured. And my prodigal’s situation is a perfect example of obvious disappointment. It is situations like this that the enemy uses us to render us hopeless! When we are in a hopeless mode it can lead to depression and depression is many times anger turned inward, a blocked goal. The plan didn’t develop the way that I thought it should have or would have if only…He had taken the road I knew would bring healing to his wounded spirit. What I found though, was that this was a lesson for me. You see God wanted me to know Who was in charge. And it wasn’t me! 

I am very grateful for an amazing little group of people who I pray with almost every week and we have met for going on eleven years. They are my prayer partners and accountability group and I thank God for them often. They played a big role in helping me to get back to believing that God would make a way where there seems to be no way.  For a good couple of months it was like I was numb. With their tough love and words of encouragement I soon found myself back on the journey of faith. It is certainly easy to see how I could have continued on the downward spiral of unbelief and become very bitter and angry. I could have missed out on walking in my kingdom purpose. 

Faith is where I need to rest when it comes to my goals being prohibited. 

Hebrews 11:1 (NKJ)

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”

Do I trust God with the unknown?  Can I trust Him when circumstances take a different path than I anticipated?  Will I be able to admit that I am not in control and that there is Someone much greater and more trustworthy than I could ever be?  Who knows the beginning and the end and what is best? 

Father, I am so guilty of trying to step in and take charge but then so disappointed when my way didn’t quite turn out as I expected.  What I need to do is take a deep breath and then open the Word and look at the many times You were faithful to those whom You called Your own.  Faithful even when they didn’t deserve Your favor but Your judgement.  It is rock solid truth that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.  Right now I am choosing to trust in You.