Growing in a Hard Place

Last summer while on vacation with my husband, I witnessed one little flower after another growing in hard places—in the nooks and crannies of rocky formations above tree line in Colorado.

I spotted the flowers pictured above in the Mount Evans Wilderness area. The flowers found there (and in other alpine regions throughout the world) display a delicate but hearty beauty that seems to cry out, “Look at me! I made it! I’m growing in a hard place. I’ve survived harsh conditions and my beauty is declaring God’s glory!”

And today we each have an opportunity to be like the alpine flowers—we can grow in the hard places we find ourselves in.

Due to the current worldwide coronavirus pandemic, we have literally been thrust into harsh conditions—threat of illness and possible death of ourselves and our loved ones, social isolation as we join together separately to rob the virus of opportunity to spread, financial losses and loss of jobs for many, and an inadequate supply of medical supplies, food, and other product shortages as people panic and start hoarding. Most of us have also had to place certain plans or events on hold—some of them very important like graduations and weddings.

Some of us are dealing with living in other hard places at the same time. Some may be grieving the loss of a mate, family member, or friend. Others may be struggling to keep a marriage afloat. Some are living with chronic pain or long-term health problems and some are even battling cancer or other life-threatening illnesses.

As we each struggle with our own set of harsh conditions, let’s remember that if we hang on, the beauty will come. Persevering and overcoming struggles always serve to make us better, to help us grow. We will have the chance to declare to the world, “Look at me! I made it! I’m growing in a hard place and I’m declaring God’s glory!”

Hang on, friends. God will see us through—and oh, what beauty will come!

We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 1 Corinthians 4:8-9 NIV

*Are you seeing any beauty in your circumstances yet?

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, comes out in early May. One lucky subscriber (new or current) will receive a $15 gift card to Amazon and a signed copy of my book to use personally, give as a gift, or donate to a library. Sign-up is free and to the right! (If you’re on a mobile device, scroll to the bottom of the screen and click View Full Site to find it.)

*For info about my book Mother of the Bride and also my Wedding Inspiration cards, check out my Books/My Work page.

*My photo

Marching Orders to Strengthen You

“March on, my soul; be strong!” Judges 5:21 NIV

I saw this verse years ago in one of Beth Moore’s blog posts. She was sharing scriptures about marching since it was the month of March, and I instantly fell in love with these simple yet powerful words: “March on, my soul; be strong!” And today in the midst of the national emergency we find ourselves in regarding COVID-19, these words take on new meaning.

Just reading or saying these precious words from the Word of God seems to infuse my soul with his encouragement and strength. I think most of us probably feel the need for such encouragement on a daily basis as we face the challenges of life, but there are times when the need for fresh strength eclipses everything else.

Are we faced with a difficult road to travel this month? Yes. Do fear and uncertainty loom ahead? Yes. Are we worried about the pandemic? Yes. And maybe some of us are facing other difficult roads as well. Maybe a continuation of an already difficult journey where no end is in sight.

Whatever the case, let’s allow the breath of heaven—the Word of God—to give us our marching orders and the strength to carry them out. Let’s march on!

“Blessed are those whose strength is in you, whose hearts are set on pilgrimage.” Psalm 84:5 NIV

*What has God done recently to strengthen you for a difficult road?

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue, will come out in early May. Sign-up is FREE and to the right! (If you’re on a mobile device, scroll to the bottom of the screen and click View Full Site to find it.)

*For info about my book Mother of the Bride and also my Wedding Inspiration cards, check out my Books/My Work page.

*Flickr photo by NINXIVICreative Commons License

Where Is God When Times Are Bad?

“When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider this: God has made the one as well as the other.” Ecclesiastes 7:14 NIV

Nothing like a little gem from God’s Word to put things in perspective, huh?

Why is it, I wonder, we are so quick to thank God and acknowledge his presence and hand in the awesome blessings that come our way, but when something bad happens, we say, “Where were you, God? Why did you let that happen?”

When tough times come, has God really stepped away from us? When painful events descend, has he removed his hand from our lives?

If we believe the Word of God—and in particular the above verse from Ecclesiastes—no, God is not an aloof observer when our world is falling apart. He allows grief, hardship, and pain to touch our lives and will use those experiences for good in some way.

Romans 8:28 (KJV) says, ” And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” The question is will we believe that truth and trust God when we are hurting?

Let’s remember that we are dearly loved children of God (1 John 3:1), and he stands ready, just as we do with our children, to help and comfort us through our bad times. Let’s not let our trials distance us from our Father. Let’s draw close to him and let him carry us, trusting all the while that he will not waste our pain.

“Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love. For he does not willingly bring affliction or grief to anyone. ” Lamentations 3:32-33 NIV

*How has God used your pain to bring about something good?

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, comes out in early February. One lucky subscriber (new or current) will receive a $15 gift card to Starbucks and a signed copy of my book to use personally, give as a gift, or donate to a library. Sign-up is free and to the right! (If you’re on a mobile device, scroll to the bottom of the screen and click View Full Site to find it.)

*For info about my book Mother of the Bride and also my Wedding Inspiration cards, check out my Books/My Work page.

*My photo

7 Sentence-Prayers Inviting God’s Power—For the Hurting

Does your heart yearn to help people who are hurting? Mine does and I’m sure yours does too. One way we can help hurting people is through our prayers. And we can do this for anyone. We often feel so helpless, especially when distance is involved, but prayer can cover that distance in the span of a whispered plea. 

So in today’s installment of my blog series featuring sentence prayers that invite God’s power, let’s focus on the hurting.

Is someone we know grieving the loss of a loved one? Do we know anyone going through divorce or some other soul-wrenching broken relationship?

Let’s not forget those who are physically hurting because of illness or chronic physical, mental, or emotional conditions. Maybe we know someone struggling with infertility or someone dealing with other heartbreaking or heavy situations.

Through the following sentence prayers, may we help hold up those we know and love who are hurting today. And may our hearts be eased as well in knowing that we are helping them through our prayers!

7 Sentence-Prayers Inviting God’s Power—For the Hurting

  1. Father, show hurting souls your love today in some special way, reassuring them that you see them and that you’re with them. (Genesis 16:13; Psalm 3:18; Lamentations 3:32; Luke 7:13)
  2. Lord, remind the hurting to turn to you—to run to you, not away from you—and allow you to be their refuge in the storm. (2 Chronicles 20:12b; Psalm 9:9, 18:2, 36:7, 62:8, 71:3; 141:8)
  3. Father, comfort and carry the hurting today. (Psalm 23;4; 28:9; Isaiah 46:4; 49:13; 2 Corinthians 1:3-4)
  4. Lord, bring people to minister to those who are hurting and then help the hurting accept their comfort and help. (Job 16:5; Isaiah 41:6; Romans 12:15; Galatians 6:2; 2 Corinthians 7:6-7)
  5. Father, guide those who are hurting to fully feel their grief or pain and to give themselves grace as they make their way through it. (1 Samuel 30:4; Psalm 34:18; Isaiah 22:4)
  6. Lord, help the hurting forgive and give grace to those who thoughtlessly compound their pain by insensitive remarks or actions. (Luke 23:34; Matthew 7:12; Colossians 3:13)
  7. Lord, bind up and heal the hearts of the hurting and be their balm of Gilead. (Psalm 147:3; Jeremiah 8:22)

Let’s bless the hurting today with our prayers. Let’s help them make it through!

 “On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers.” 2 Corinthians 1:10-11 NIV

*What are some other ways we can pray for the hurting today?

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue, will come out in early August. Sign-up is FREE and to the right! (If you’re on a mobile device, scroll to the bottom of the screen and click View Full Site to find it.)

*For info about my book Mother of the Bride check out my Books/My Work page.

*Flickr photo by ePi.Longo, Creative Commons License

7 Sentence-Prayers Inviting God’s Power—In the Lives of Unbelievers

A new month means a new installment in my monthly blog series featuring sentence prayers inviting God’s power and this month we’ll focus on unbelievers.

Most of us have family and friends who have never come to a personal faith in Jesus Christ. Our hearts ache with the knowledge that they don’t have the same sure hope we do of eternal life in heaven with the Lord when our lives on this earth are finished. We are concerned as well for casual acquaintances and entire people groups around the world.

Through our prayers we can help prepare the way for unbelieving hearts to be open to the good news of a Savior for all. Here are some prayers that can have an eternal impact in the lives of those you’re concerned for. Let’s be faithful to pray—and ready to share!

7 Sentence-Prayers Inviting God’s Power—In the Lives of Unbelievers

  1. Lord, soften the hearts of unbelievers in my world and beyond and help them become seekers with a hunger and a thirst to know the truth—to know you. (Ezekiel 36:26; Matthew 5:6; Acts 16:30)
  2. Father, send out workers into the harvest field—people who will share the good news of salvation in Christ—and please bring about your divine appointments with those who need to hear. (Matthew 28:18-20; Luke 10:2; Acts 8:26-39; Romans 10:15)
  3. Lord, remove the blinders and lift the veil of darkness and spiritual blindness so they can see and believe that Jesus is the Son of God, the Savior of the world. (2 Corinthians 4:4; 2 Corinthians 3:14-17; John 3:16; 20:31)
  4. Holy Spirit, convict unbelievers of their sin and their need for a Savior. (John 6:44; 16:7-8; Romans 6:23)
  5. Father, open doors for spiritual conversation with those who don’t know you and give me the words to say, helping me to speak the truth in love. (Matthew 10:18-20; Ephesians 4:15; Colossians 4:5-6)
  6. Lord, place a hedge of protection around your planted Word so that the devil won’t steal the truth and hope of eternal life that it can bring. (Mark 4:15; John 5:24; 17;17; Colossians 1:25-27)
  7. Lord, open their hearts to respond to the message you’ve sent to them, giving  them ears to hear. (Acts 16:14; Mark 4:9)

As you make these prayers your own, may God work in hearts in a mighty way, bringing all to salvation!

For God says, “At just the right time, I heard you. On the day of salvation, I helped you.” Indeed, the “right time” is now. Today is the day of salvation.” 2 Corinthians 6:2 NLV

*What other sentence prayers can you add?

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue, will come out in early May. Sign-up is FREE and to the right! (If you’re on a mobile device, scroll to the bottom of the screen and click View Full Site to find it.)

*For info about my book Mother of the Bride and also my Wedding Inspiration cards, check out my Books/My Work page.

*Flickr photo by dtcchc, Creative Commons License