My prayer life gets derailed often, so I need all the encouragement I can get. My busy schedule can turn prayer into a quick, routine whisper asking God to bless my day, and sometimes not seeing the answers I long for discourages me. Yet recently I experienced a mini-revolution in my prayer life, and it wasn’t because my schedule opened up for longer prayer times or because I received a miraculous answer I hoped for.
Have you ever been disappointed when it seems like God closes a door? It’s hard to trust God and wonder what He’s up to at the same time, isn’t it?
A few years ago, my family received disheartening news. My son had dared to apply to a highly competitive university, number one in the nation for his field of study. He worked hard to fill out the application, take extra tests, write multiple essays, and even go to an interview. We knew only 8% of the top students in the nation could be accepted, yet we were still crushed when he received notification that they’d be unable to offer him admission.
Usually optimistic and positive, my son grieved the loss of his dream, and my mom’s heart was bruised at seeing him so disappointed. He’d worked hard, seemingly for nothing. It seemed so unfair that I couldn’t help but ask God, “What are you doing?”
The next day I told my sob story to a friend over coffee. Her response surprised me: [Read more…]
Sometimes life brings circumstances you didn’t plan or hope for, and how do you handle it when God changes your plan?
I’m an organizer by nature. I love to make plans and to-do lists. But 9 times out of 10, my plans don’t turn out quite as I expect. I might be skipping through my day making progress on my projects when God allows a change in my situation:
- The car breaks down.
- A child gets sick.
- I get an emergency phone call.
I’m sure these things happen to you too, and I hate to admit sometimes I get bent out of shape when things don’t go according to my plan. But I’m growing and trying to learn to adjust my expectations and accept each day as it comes.
We may not like the small setbacks that crop up in our day, but we can trust God’s plan. We can trust Him to use those little disturbances to form Christ in us. I want to let go of my agenda graciously when God sends an interruption my way.
Sometimes God changes more than our agenda for the day.
I am the absolute Queen of Absentmindedness. Even when I read Scripture.
When my kids were little, we’d laugh at Richard Scarry’s absentminded storybook character, Grandma Cat. She’d enter the room in her cute cat apron with her cute cat spectacles perched on her head and say, “Has anyone seen my glasses?” Just like it did for Grandma Cat, absentmindedness gets me into lots of funny scrapes, but it doesn’t help me one bit when I want to read Scripture to hear God’s voice.
Grandma Cat never paid attention to where she put her glasses, and often I open my Bible with that same lack of attention. If I’m not careful, I can skim through my reading by rote, without really noticing what the Scripture is saying to me. Thoughts of my to-do list or yesterday’s hard conversation occupy my mind and make it harder to hear God’s voice while I read. Then after I’m finished, I wonder, “Now what was that all about?”
Does this happen to you too? We desperately need the wisdom and encouragement Scripture can give us, yet we have a hard time focusing on what we read! To combat absentmindedness, I’m trying to cultivate the secret art of paying attention when I open God’s Word. Just a few small but mindful changes can help us get more goodness out of our devotional reading…
You can follow this link to join me over at PeacefullyImperfect.com today. I’m sharing 6 tips to help you get more out of reading Scripture and find the encouragement you need. You’ll also find a printable for a simple Bible reading and journaling plan I wrote for you. Based on Psalm 119, it’s called “Treasure God’s Word.”
Even though God’s people celebrate resurrection and new life at Easter, maybe you feel like you’re hanging on to hope by the skin of your teeth? Maybe the hallelujah choruses at church ring empty for you. Perhaps spring’s messages of budding trees and flowers haven’t quite made their way to your soul.
Friend, maybe you’re struggling through yet another family crisis this Easter, and your hope has drained away. Has loss or sickness stolen your joy? Celebrating the Resurrection comes hard when our hope is all but dead. Yet God’s Word tells us He specializes in bringing the dead to life.