God Hasn’t Forgotten You

Long term trials have a way of wearing us down—in more ways than one. Whether it’s ongoing illness, unemployment, marital problems, teenage rebellion, or any number of other anguish inducing situations, we soon grow weary physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. We eventually wonder if God has forgotten us, don’t we?

If today you feel that God doesn’t hear your cries anymore or that he doesn’t care about you, remember that he loves you so much he sent his only Son to be your Savior. Take heart with these words of encouragement from my poem “Trust in Him”

“And when you finally feel
Like God has forgotten you,
He’ll show you he hasn’t—
Trust in him.”

Father, show the weary and hurting your love!

“I will not forget you. See, I have inscribed you on the palms of my hands.” Isaiah 49:15 NRSV

*How has God shown you his love in the midst of a long-term trial?

*The current issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue, came out earlier this month. It’s not too late to receive it. 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 Evie S. on Unsplash

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

Find Rest in God’s Promise of a Haven

“He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed. They were glad when it grew calm, and he guided them to their desired haven.” Psalm 107:29-30 NIV

Storms are inevitable part of our lives. Why? Simple—we’re not in heaven yet.

Jesus, in fact, warned us of storms. He told his disciples, “‘In this world you will have trouble.’”(John 16:33 NIV) But in that same verse he also told them that in him we may have peace and that he has already overcome the world. In other words, he promised that he is bigger than the storms that come barreling into our lives.

The words of Jesus have certainly proved true in my life. Time and again, God has stilled the storms that have assaulted me. He hushed the waves that threatened me.

Even when I felt as if I might drown not long ago while in the midst of a very private and nearly unbearable season of life, God strengthened me until the storm’s fury subsided. He held me up until he calmed the angry sea of waves around me.

And just as the Psalmist stated, after the winds and waves lost their steam, God led me to the haven I needed, a haven of peace and relief. And he has continued to surround me with peace. He’s wrapped me in comfort and led me along a path of forgiveness. He’s graciously given what I’ve needed.

But even though God has faithfully carried me through all the storms of my life and ministered to me in their aftermath, I still haven’t reached the point where I welcome them. I’m not sure any of us do.

We can reach the point, though, where we don’t fear storms so much, where we know our God is bigger. We can reach a point where we trust him in the midst of a storm. A point where we’re at rest—at rest in his promise of a haven.

“The LORD replied, ‘My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” Exodus 33:14 NIV

*When did the Lord last lead you to a haven?

*The new issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue, comes out tomorrow. 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.

*My photo (Coulter Bay area of Grand Teton National Park)

A Time to Abandon Plans and Move On

Remember how I told you in May about the robin I saw several years ago who stayed focused and built her nest in spite of my interloping presence? Unfortunately, the story didn’t end there. Something went wrong a few weeks later.

I’m not sure what happened. She faithfully sat on her eggs during the height of that summer’s heat wave. She watched over her nest and tongue-lashed other birds who came too close. When she wasn’t in the nest, she never seemed far away or gone for long.

When we left for vacation, I wondered if the sound of baby birds would greet us on our return. But it didn’t—no cheep-cheep-cheeps could be heard. No little upturned beaks gaped wide for a meal from momma.

Instead, momma bird was there, still faithfully sitting on the nest, still panting through the heat. I was glad I’d be on hand for the hatching. Glad I’d get to witness the birth of new life.

But one morning a few days after our return, the momma bird wasn’t in her nest. I thought it odd but not too unusual. When I checked that evening, again she was gone.

The next day the empty nest met me once more as I made my rounds. Now I feared something was indeed wrong. No sight of the momma bird in the days that followed confirmed my suspicions. The nest had been abandoned.

What would cause such a faithful and focused momma to walk away—or fly away, as in this case? More than likely, something happened to the eggs. Maybe some sort of predator got them, but I also wonder if the unrelenting heat we had that summer was the culprit. What a disappointment—for the momma bird and for me as well.

Poor momma bird. If the problem was the heat, I wonder how long past the normal time she waited, hoping to see her babies pecking their way out into the world. I wonder how many hot days she soldiered through, doing all in her power to succeed. I wonder how she knew it was time to move on.

Some of us have had plans and projects that didn’t work out. A few of us may be in the midst of one right now. We’ve worked faithfully and done all we know to do. We’ve kept trying and we’ve waited—and then waited some more.

We finally reach a point when we know it’s over, when we know it’s time to move on. Our hearts, heavy with the disappointment of an unfulfilled dream, sometimes want to cling to the pain and nurse our wounds. And that’s okay for a time. But like the momma bird, we need to abandon the dashed plans and move forward to what life has to offer now.

We’ll certainly learn from the experience and grow stronger, but for now—for today—it’s time to lift our eyes to the future and fly away.

“I lift my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.” Psalm 121:1-2 NIV

*Have you ever had to fly away from one of your hopes or dreams? Did a future blessing await you?

*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. *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.

*My photo

Focus Helps Us Finish

Focus. A word that most of us need to say to ourselves time and again, right? As a writer, I have to remind myself to focus repeatedly in order to stay on task with my main projects. And that rings true for most projects and goals we have in life.

I witnessed the perfect example of staying focused several years ago. I got to watch a bird build a nest one morning. The photo above is of that very bird at work.

I had taken my camera outside, hoping to spot a photo-worthy sight. I wasn’t disappointed. I spied a robin building her nest in a neighbor’s tree. Lucky for me, it was on a lower branch that overhangs our yard.

As the bird worked steadily, I approached more and more closely, unable to believe how close she actually let me get. It was almost as if she had blinders on. Nothing distracted her from the all-important task at hand.

She even seemed to work in rhythm. She flew to the ground, seeking out the next twig or blade of dried grass to include in her newest home, and then with her latest find grasped safely in her beak, she’d fly back up to her nest-in-progress and place it just so, tamping it down and forming it to her specifications. If she gave my interloping presence any thought, she didn’t let it show. She just worked on.

The qualities that enabled my feathered example to finish her project will help me complete my work as a writer as well. Steady work, ignoring distractions, finding a rhythm that works, using the best materials, skilled craftsmanship, and perseverance will all work together to help me create written works that can touch the lives of others. You may not be a writer, but I’m sure these same qualities help you complete your work successfully as well.

Focus. A quality we need day in and day out. Next time we get distracted or feel tempted to give up on our projects or dreams, let’s remember my little mentor with wings. Let’s keep working on too!

“Now finish the work, so that your eager willingness to do it may be matched by your completion of it, according to your means.” 2 Corinthians 8:11 NIV

*Where do you need focus in your life right now?

*The current issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue, came out today. It’s not too late to receive it. 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.

*My photo