Waiting for the Proper Time

“ . . . you give them their food at the proper time. You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing.” Psalm 145:15-16 NIV

Like kids begging for candy in the checkout lane, we sometimes tug on God’s coattails with the same impatience and/or insistence. “Please, please, please, God. Please grant my desire . . .”

Don’t get me wrong. I firmly believe that we are to pour our hearts out to God and freely tell him the desires of our hearts (Psalm 62:8). I also remember that Jesus told his disciples the parable of the persistent widow “to show them that they should always pray and not give up.” (Luke 18:1 NIV)

Yes, God wants to hear from his children and out of his great love for us, he will answer our prayers. But many times his answers don’t come when we want them to—or packaged quite like we’d hoped.

Like any good parent—like the perfect father he is—he waits for the proper time to give us our food, our desires. Just as we don’t give a baby solid food before his body can handle it, God waits for the perfect time to bless us with the things we need, the things we desire, the things we plead for. He will indeed satisfy our longings in one way or another, sometimes changing the longings themselves.

God’s timing is always right. I’ve depended on this truth throughout the course of my life and also throughout my writing career. I trusted God for years to bring about book publication at the proper time and he did. And I, along with the rest of our family, clung like a lifeline to the truth of God’s perfect timing as we waited on him in the matter of our daughters and sons-in-law being blessed with the babies they so desperately wanted.

Without a doubt, some answers are harder to wait for than others. Some require an extra measure of faith. But if we continue to trust, if we continue to wait in expectation, one day we will see God open his hand and satisfy our desires. Maybe even above and beyond our dreams, as in the case with our two sets of twin grandsons. And all these blessings—all these answers to prayer—will happen at the proper time.

“In the morning, LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly.” Psalm 5:3 NIV

*How has God encouraged you during times of waiting? If you’re currently waiting on God’s answer, you might like to read an “In the Meantime” Prayer.

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue, will come out in early May. One lucky subscriber (new or current) will receive a $15 gift card to Barnes & Noble and a signed copy of my book to use personally, give as a gift, or donate to a library. *Temporary problem with Life Notes sign-up. To sign up, just contact me.

*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 aloshbennett, Creative Commons License

Theme Word 2024: Balance

“. . . it’s a matter of striking a balance.” 2 Cor 8:13 GW

What does starting a new year mean for you? For me, it means it’s time to focus on a new theme word. I’ve never been big into New Year’s resolutions, but this is the twelfth year now I’ve chosen a theme word to help guide me through the year. It’s a practice I highly recommend. I can honestly say it has benefited me year after year.

The word the Lord impressed on my heart for 2024? Balance. I never know all that the Lord has in mind when guiding me to a new word, but this year maintaining balance in my life seems especially important.

My responsibilities and the demands on my time have been much greater for quite some time with my husband’s Alzheimer’s impacting our lives, but I’m also still working part-time as a writer and author (with a new book contract and all that entails too.) I’m also continuing to serve as president of the Fellowship of Christian Writers group I belong to. Throw in trying to be an involved grandmother to two sets of twin boys along with maintaining other family and church involvement, and as you can imagine, my to-do list never gets caught up.

With all that in mind, I need God’s guidance, wisdom, and help in maintaining the balance he wants me to have. One that will not shortchange special times or moments spent with my husband as I try to fulfill my other responsibilities and desires. But also one that allows me to keep those things going in a way that brings glory to God. So yes, balance is what I need right now. Balance as God guides. And as the year unfolds, I may find that God has even more applications for balance in store.

If you haven’t done so yet, why not choose a theme word for 2024? I can guarantee that having an over-arching word—a quality, an attitude, or an action—to focus on will help give you direction and help you grow throughout the year. 

You’re welcome to join me in focusing on balance—it’s something we all need, isn’t it? But I encourage you to give it some thought and prayer first. God may have another word in mind for you. Why not ask him? He is faithful to guide!

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” James 1:5 NIV

*What is your theme word or anchor verse for 2024? I’d love to know!

*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! Temporary problem with Life Notes sign-up. To sign up, just contact me.

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

*Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

Biblical Blessings for the Mother of the Bride

Mother of the Bride, I’d like to pray some blessings from the Bible over you as we’re beginning a new year this week.

As you help your daughter plan her wedding, I’m sure you’ll need an extra measure of God’s strength and blessing. I want the very best for you this year as you prepare for one of the best days in the life of your family. So from me to you —

Blessings from the Word of God, the Bible (NIV):

“May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face shine on us—” Psalm 67:1

“May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” 2 Corinthians 13:14

May God give you heaven’s dew and earth’s richness—an abundance of grain and new wine.” Genesis 27:28

“From the LORD comes deliverance. May your blessing be on your people.” Psalm 3:8

“May the favor of the Lord our God rest upon us; establish the work of our hands for us—yes, establish the work of our hands.” Psalm 90:17

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13

I hope these blessings encourage you, MOB. Keep looking to the Lord!

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

*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! Temporary problem with Life Notes sign-up. To sign up, just contact me.

*Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

The Hope of Abundance After Testing

“For you, God, tested us; you refined us like silver . . . we went through fire and water, but you brought us to a place of abundance.” Psalm 66:10; 12 NIV

I imagine some of you reading these words today are going through fire and water right now. God is testing and refining you. And it hurts.

Maybe I don’t hang out with the right people, but I don’t know anyone who enjoys taking tests. Nor do I know anyone who lines up early to be first for the refining process.

And going through fire? Well that’s downright scary and packed with potential for pain.

As for water, at first we might think oh yes, I’ll take that one. But consider the resistance we face when we have to walk through knee-high, waist-high, or—heaven forbid—neck-high water even when it’s calm. Add huge waves or dangerous current, and going through water imparts its own brand of scary.

The experiences that refine us—the fire and water—many times are marathon trials to boot. Endurance tests. When caring for Don’s mother during the last several years of her life over a decade ago, at times the demands of hospital duty threatened to engulf me. I also shared in the ongoing pain of our daughter and son-in-law as they waited for years to have a child. And now I’m in the midst of another endurance test as I navigate the waters of caring for a spouse with Alzheimer’s. No, refining isn’t easy.

Thank goodness the word but comes after the mention of tests and refining, of fire and water in the scripture above. Thank goodness God doesn’t leave us struggling through endurance tests forever. Instead, he brings us “to a place of abundance.” A place of great blessing.

So let’s take heart, friends. Let’s remember that as we go through the refiner’s fire, our place of abundance may be just around the bend. Great blessing is surely on the way.

“I am the LORD your God . . . Open wide your mouth and I will fill it.” Psalm 81:10 NIV

*How has God blessed you with abundance after a time of trial?

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in every regular issue, comes out in early November. 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! Temporary problem with Life Notes sign-up. To sign up, just contact me.

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

*Photo by Maxim Tajer on Unsplash

Bird Calls, God, and Paying Attention

Over ten years ago now, I started hearing voices I hadn’t really paid attention to before.

The voices belonged to birds. Yes, the songs and calls of our feathered friends. Previously I heard them as the background and soundtrack to the great outdoors of my life, but then they became something more.

It dawned on me that those voices—those songs—belonged to certain species of birds, and if I paid attention, I could learn to identify their calls. And further, if I became alert to their voices and could identify their calls, I had a better chance of capturing  photos—especially of the ones I’m most interested in, like cardinals. (It also dawned on me that my interest in birds had sprung from my interest in taking good photos. Kind of neat, huh?)

So I began to listen more. When I heard a bird call, many times I stopped momentarily and paid attention. I looked for the bird, listened, and then tried to remember its sound for future reference. And just recently I downloaded the Merlin Bird ID App to my phone so now I have this amazing tool to help me identify bird calls.

After learning to pay attention all those years ago, I discovered birds even have different calls for different purposes. For example, cardinals sing, but they also cheep-cheep-cheep while feeding and looking for food. I never would have realized that, though, if I hadn’t become alert to them, if I hadn’t started paying attention.

I wonder how many times God tries to communicate with us and we miss it. I wonder if  his voice gets lost in the soundtrack of our lives, especially  if we relegate him to the background and neglect to listen for him.

What blessings might we capture, what pearls of wisdom might we learn if we decide to be alert to God’s voice? To listen for him and then stop and pay attention when we hear him call.

More voices than ever compete for our attention today, don’t they? Let’s not miss the most important one. Let’s tune our ears to hear the song of our Savior and our God.

“Listen and hear my voice; pay attention and hear what I say.” Isaiah 28:23 NIV

*What voices are you paying attention to?

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, comes out in early November. One lucky subscriber 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! *Temporary problem with Life Notes sign-up. To sign up, just contact me.

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

*Flickr photo by fauxto_digit, Creative Commons License