Let’s Go Relationing!

Here lately I’ve been feeling a little blue, melancholy, detached…you might even say depressed.  My thoughts have been scattered like a fart in the wind.  Confusion and doubt continue to strike at my heart and grab on like a five pound weight pulling it down deeper into my chest.  And honestly, I’ve really felt a lot of anxiety at the thought that the rest of my life is going to include these mood swings.  I feel like I have whiplash some days…happy, sad, excited, bummed, stresses, relaxed…whewww!

In the midst of all these emotions, I decided to sit out on my back porch to enjoy a bit of sunshine and also to have a little conversation with Dad!  I went on a relationing.  It’s kind of like vacationing, but instead of packing your bags, you just simply spend time relating with God.  In this specific conversation I was trying to relate to Jesus.  I point blank asked if Jesus ever felt depressed?  I know Jesus felt anger (Matthew 21:12-13), I know He felt anxious (Luke 22:44), and I know he felt sorrow (John 11:35).  But did He ever have a lingering sadness?  Did He ever have a little black cloud follow Him around?  I received my answer the very next morning at church in one of our key verses!

14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. 16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. (Hebrews 4:14-16)

Did you know that temptation can mean trial, calamity, or affliction?  So the answer is YES!  Jesus likely did experience some type of depression.  I can’t tell you how comforting this was to me.  Jesus has felt all the things I have felt.  He’s walked in my shoes.  What better intercessor can we have than someone who knows exactly how we feel?

Amazingly, it was through Jesus’ emotions and sufferings that He developed obedience. Just imagine, a young boy Jesus could not fulfill what a 33 year old Jesus did.  A teenager Jesus couldn’t have fulfilled what a 33 year old Jesus did. And a 21 year old Jesus couldn’t have done it. It took a maturing through the temptations and struggles of little things to prepare Him to face the biggest thing- the Cross!  So, if Jesus came to be like us and we are being made like Him through sanctification, then it stands to reason that our temptations also offer us opportunities to exercise obedience.  So, my blueness actually presents an opportunity for me to grow in my faith and exercise trust in God, to be obedient to His word despite how much I want to find a form of release.

And, the best part of the temptations we face is, we don’t face them alone.  God is right there with us, Jesus is interceding for us and the Holy Spirit is strength us.  All we have to do is turn to Him, seek Him…basically, go relationing with Him!

Father, we thank you for our many blessings, especially your Son Jesus.  We thank you for our perfect intercessor who knows our struggles and continues to work all for our good.  Help us to remember to go “relationing” with you more.  For when we seek you, you seek us.  Amen!




The Secret to Contentment

The opposite of content is malcontent. That word means “one who bears a grudge from a sense of grievance or thwarted ambition,” or “one who is in active opposition to an established order or government…a rebel. Essentially, if someone is malcontent, they are dissatisfied.

“…a sense of grievance.”

Suffering…distress…complaint…resistance. These are all words associated with “grievance.” Are you dissatisfied today? Are you suffering? In distress about something? Complaining? Resisting something? Are you holding a grudge? Are you in opposition to something? A little rebellious? I am. Or at least I was until God convicted me this morning!

The word content as an adjective means, “in a state of peaceful happiness.” As a noun, it means “a state of satisfaction.” So how do we get from suffering to satisfaction? From resistance to resting?

Paul tells us what it is in Philippians 4:12-13:

I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ,who gives me strength. (NLT)

What’s the secret? Jesus. How can we do all things? Jesus. But notice Paul does NOT say “I can have everything through Christ.”  He says “do.”  Contentment doesn’t come from having more or better things. Or receiving blessings. The secret to contentment is using the power of Jesus Christ to DO God’s work. That is when you become peaceful and satisfied.

The past few weeks have been a struggle for me at work. I’ve been questioning why God has me there. I’ve been complaining and whining about the meaningless work I’m being assigned. I’ve been rebellious and resistant. I’ve been selfish and full of pride. I’ve been malcontent.

But God showed me this Word today and convicted me (again) about my perspective, my priorities, and my source of power. To BE content, I must access the power of Jesus Christ and DO God’s work–no matter where He has me at the moment. I need His perspective to see the people in need around me. He gives me opportunities to minister to people here in this place where people are suffering. I’m not here to receive something. I’m not here to gain earthly satisfaction. I must shift my earthly perspective of pride, greed, selfishness and the “need” to feel important to an eternal perspective where I can see who is hurting around me and share God’s love.

Are you feeling malcontent, too?  God is challenging us to adjust our priorities and stop waiting around for God to give us a new job, more important responsibilities, a better house, a better spouse, more money, a better car, etc.  We can’t wait around for contentment! We are content when we choose to tap into the the power of Jesus and DO what He needs us to do. We are content when we make His work a priority and see His people as more important that our wants. If we can stay in alignment with God’s assignment for our lives and focus on eternal desires and not earthly desires, then that, my friends, is where we will find contentment.

Thank you, Lord, for your Word. Thank you for continuing to guide us with your Holy Spirit. Please forgive me for falling back into malcontent. Help me, oh God, to stay in alignment with your assignment for my life. I want to focus more on you and your people and less on my own selfish desires and make a difference eternally. In Jesus’ name, Amen!


Encouragement in the Waiting: The Key to Effective Prayer

When you have been praying for something for a long period of time that hasn’t come to fruition yet, it can be discouraging. Crushing. Disheartening. It can make you feel hopeless. Proverbs put it this way: hope deferred makes the heart sick. I completely understand that heart-sickness. The weight that feels like a bag of stones, sinking into your stomach when the hurtful thing you prayed would never happen again, happens yet again. The despair that sets in when the changes you asked God to set in motion have not appeared. This period of time between when you inquire of God to move on your behalf and when you actually see the result is so very difficult.

While reading Matthew 7 in the New Living Translation, one of the section titles caught my eye. The header mentioned above Matthew 7:7-11 is titled “effective prayer”. When I read this, I perked up. If Jesus is telling me how to have effective prayer, I probably want to pay close attention. After all, I have been pleading with God over a handful of things for years, and that doesn’t feel too effective. I am here to learn! What he says next is a super simple key that is necessary to having prayers answered.

Jesus says, “Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.” (Matthew 7:7 NLT)

Jesus tells us to keep on. He tells us not to give up or give up in our petitions to our Heavenly Father. Are those instructions a little disappointing? Anti-climactic? Too simple? Too time consuming? I mean really… keep on praying for how long exactly, Jesus? Because that’s not exactly the quick fix I was hoping for.  Can you relate?

If you are someone who has been praying specific prayers for long periods of time, you may go look for resources about having prayers answered. Those resources are readily available. Books, devotionals, blogs and sermons are all over the place that give various formulas for a prayer that will be answered. I am not saying those resources are bad or wrong. I have utilized many of them myself. But Jesus’s command was simpler: DO NOT STOP PRAYING! KEEP ON! DON’T GIVE UP!

So as your sister in Christ who has struggled and is still struggling to find the faith and endurance to keep praying for the things I have been asking for over the span of time, I want to encourage you not to give up. Keep on asking, seeking and knocking. Paul puts it this way: So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. (Galatians 6:9)

Jesus tells us that everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. He reminds us that even though we are sinful, we know how to give our children good gifts, so how much more does our loving heavenly father know how to give good gifts? So if you are reading this, cling to God’s promises that if you ask you will receive. And most importantly, cling to the unshakeable truth of God’s character as a good father. Take heart and keep on praying!

Abba, thank you that our prayers never fall on deaf ears. Thank you that Jesus lives to intercede for us, and that Holy Spirit prays for us too. Fill us with a fresh dose of endurance, and give us the strength to have hope and faith again. Do not let disappointment rob us of fellowship with you. Remind us of your goodness so we can trust your promises and provision. In Jesus name, amen.

Love, Lacey

Check Your Power Source

Recently, I received some shocking news that, essentially, boils down to the rest of my life not looking the way I had pictured it.  Here I have been, rolling through life, finally feeling like I was in a good place, and Whammm!  Everything is about to change!  The uncertainty and fear that goes along with all of the unknowns has caused me to really doubt my abilities.  In the midst of all my fears and worries, a reoccurring theme has been “What am I going to do? How can I do this? What if I fail?” 

Admittedly, I have allowed today’s exhaustion to cause overwhelming fears about future events.  I have allowed my thoughts and emotions to drive a perceived truth that is not in line with God’s truths.  I have forgotten that God will supply all my needs, if I just seek Him.  I have forgotten that He will give me manna for each day, and I have been using today’s manna worrying about not having enough manna for tomorrow.  Jesus warns against this in Matthew 6:34:

Worry not for tomorrow, for tomorrow has worries of its own.  Sufficient is each day’s troubles.

Basically, my recent shock caused me to turn inward and rely on my own abilities, or my own batteries, rather than plugging into God.  Just like a battery, eventually, my own internal abilities will falter in providing all that I need….I will, and have, run out of myself!  But, if I plug into God, and I draw upon His source of power, bringing it into myself, then the power never stops.  After all, God is not subject to blackouts!

For God has said “I will never leave you I will never forsake you” Heb 13:5

I know God is working with me through this though.  I’ve felt Him nudging me to continue on, despite my fears.  I’ve seen His encouragement come through in the most unlikely places, like that perfectly timed text that says “I’m praying for you.”  He’s growing me and developing me for something else…to be reliant on Him rather than being self-reliant.  It isn’t until my batteries are fully drained and removed that His true power and ability shines bright.  It isn’t until I am empty and realize that I cannot do this of my own power that He changes something inside of me.  The switch clicks and I go into exterior power mode.

Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.  2 Cor 12:9

It doesn’t make the future less uncertain, but it does make it less scary knowing that God’s outlet is always there and available to me and all I have to do is just turn and seek Him. 

Having faith in His future gives me power in the present!

Father, thank you for all of our blessings, especially your Son Jesus, by whom we are allowed to tap into your power source any time we need to.  Help us continue to seek your in those difficult times and continue to give glory to you through our struggles, so that your purpose in them might be fulfilled.  Amen.



Extravagant Love

We all go through seasons of life…and love.  Sometimes we feel lonely and unloved while sometimes we feel head over heels in love. But, feeling in love—or feeling unloved—has absolutely zero to do with God or your capacity to be loved.

This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.1 John 4:10

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.Romans 5:8

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.  John 3:16

For He loved the world…the WHOLE world. That includes you! (And it also includes that person that you don’t like at all… let that sink in for a minute.)

Imagine loving someone ~other than your child~ so much that you would knowingly send your only child to die for them…on purpose…even though you didn’t know if that person would choose to love you back. THAT is how much God loves you. It’s essentially unfathomable, right? There’s no way I could do that.  I mean, no offense to my dearly beloved family and friends reading this, but I just couldn’t do it!

When we first started our Freedom small group, one of our older male leaders loved to read Romans 5:8 but he’d get choked up every single time. At first, I was shocked by it. Here’s this grown man—former military, successful, dignified man—and he’s weeping at the thought of God’s extravagant love for him. Why? I didn’t really get it. Honestly, I thought it was just for show.  I mean, I grew up in church, so I knew all about, “Jesus loves me,” and “God so loved the world.” I didn’t understand the emotion tied to it. But you know what? I never actually personalized it. And when I finally did, it made me weep as well. And still does.

Have you personalized it?

Let’s try it this way. Read this paraphrase out loud:

Even though He knew I was going to be a sinner, Christ died for me. It’s not about anything I have done or can do, but about who He is. God loved me so much that he gave His only Son, so that if I just believe in Him, I will not die but have an eternal life in heaven.

I’m guessing some of us need to read that out loud a few more times. Maybe even every day until we truly believe it deep down in our heart. This kind of love is not a feeling. You can’t fall into it. You can’t earn it or deserve it. It’s excessive, exaggerated, elaborate, generous, and showy. And there is not a single thing you can do to mess it up. Not a thing. So what’s the catch, you ask? It’s simple. You simply have to receive it.

Yep. That’s it. Accept the gift. John 3:16 says, “…whoever believes.” Do you believe it? If you are doubting that you are worthy of this love today, on this “day of love,” let me help you to see yourself as God sees you.

I am His precious child. (John 1:12, Galatians 3:26)

I am justified and redeemed at no cost to you. (Romans 3:24)

I have a right to the same inheritance of Jesus Chris.t (Romans 8:17)

I am fearfully and wonderfully made. (Psalm 129:14)

I am chosen by God. (Colossians 3:12)

I am salt of the earth. (Matthew 5:13)

I am God’s incredible work of art. (Ephesians 2:10)

I am a citizen of heaven. (Philippians 3:20)

I am not condemned. (Romans 8:1)

I have been set free from your bad decisions from your past. (Galatians 5:1)

I am blessed. (Ephesians 1:3)

The Bible is full of God’s promises that you are loved extravagantly—more than you can even imagine—based on your human experiences with love. You could write pages and pages of these affirmations.

Receive it today, friends! Open up your hand (the one not holding your phone…or both if you’re not holding anything) toward heaven and pray this with me:

Dear God, thank you for loving me. Thank you for your son Jesus—the most amazing gift of love that anyone could ever give to me. I know I’ve messed up, but you love me anyway. I can’t really wrap my head around that, Lord, but I receive that love today. Help me to experience this extravagant love and accept this gracious gift. Help me to trust you more and more each day so that I can grow closer and closer to you, feeling more and more loved. Help me to not be afraid to be loved and show me how to love others well (1 John 4:18-19).

We All Have a Thing

You know that thing that keeps resurfacing in your life, making you feel insufficient, full of fear, or unworthy? Maybe you overcome whatever it is, just to fall back into it again. You hear those little whispers tormenting you and telling you, “See…you can’t get past it.  You are a loser. You can’t help others because you are so bad.”  We all have a “thing.” I feel like I have several, actually. And sometimes, just when I feel like I’ve finally defeated one thing, another one will surface. In just the last couple of years, I’ve discovered that I’m not alone. And I can actually embrace my “thing” and still be worthy in the eyes of God—and others.

To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

2 Corinthians 12:7-9

Paul explains that although his “thing” is from Satan, God allows it in order to keep him humble. God tells Paul that even though this thing—this thorn—is making him weak, God provides enough grace.  God can still use us even though we are not perfect. HE is still  perfect, even in our weakness.

Lately, I’ve heard friends beat themselves up over their imperfections. Why do some people think their thing is worse than anyone else’s thing?  Past experiences play a big role in that but so does our culture and society.  For instance, if you struggle with an addiction to alcohol or drugs, people will react way differently to you than if you struggle with the love of money.  (Doesn’t our culture tend to encourage the love of money and possessions—like you are more worthy and influential if you drive a fancy car and go on expensive vacations?) But, to God, are the “things” really that different? In either case (drug/alcohol addiction or love of money), focusing and obsessing over something (anything) more than focusing on God will create quite a thorn in your side.

Paul mentions that he has a thorn in order to keep him from being conceited.  I find that fascinating! It is possible, despite how much we wish we didn’t have a thing, to recognize the goodness in it? Imagine if we didn’t struggle. Would you care to read anything from me if I was perfect and never struggled with anything? Does anyone really want a friend who is perfect and never struggles? Could we really help anyone who is struggling if we never had our own issues to battle? Paul’s teaches us to use our thing to stay grounded so that we can tell others how great God is—even while we are struggling.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 

First, we all need to recognize what our thing actually is. If you are reading this and you’re thinking, “Hmm..I don’t really have a thing,” then your thing may be pride. (Pride is sneaky! I know this first hand…you can read some of my story here.) I challenge each of you reading this to just ask God, in prayer, to show you what it is. Psalm 139:23-24 shows us how to pray for that:

Search me, God, and know my heart;
    test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
    and lead me in the way everlasting. 

If you think your thing is just terrible and you feel ashamed or embarrassed about it, then you can believe that there is someone else out there with the same thing who is afraid to talk about it. God may not take it away completely; you may always fight to keep it minimized. But that may be your testimony. That one thing may be what God wants to use to bring you closer to Him, and closer to others.

God’s grace truly is sufficient. We have to do our part, though, if we want Him to help us manage it and allow us to use our thing to minister to others. God tells us to seek Him for the help we need. (Jeremiah 29:13, Proverbs 8:17, Amos 5:4, Matthew 6:33, Psalm 34:10, Matthew 7:7, Romans 2:7, and many more!) We can’t manage our thing on our own. Alone, we do not have the power that God is referring to in 2 Corinthians. Jesus came to earth so that we can access that power—through Him.  (Read Romans 8!) We need His power to accept that thorn in our side and then use it to glorify Him.

We all have a thing. Your thing is not worse than my thing. But like Paul, we can recognize it, turn to God for help and continue to seek His power, and allow our thing to keep us humble so that we can boast to others about the glory of God.


Oh, God, our precious Father in heaven, show us your glory today.  Thank you for your son, Jesus, who died on the cross so that we could live an abundant life. Thank you for giving us access to the same miraculous, healing power to turn our weakness into something beautiful that we can use to help others. Show us our thorns; reveal our “thing.”  I pray for each person reading this to find the glory in that one thing that makes them feel insufficient. Give us revelation about your power that is in us through your Holy Spirit! Allow us all to truly understand that your grace is sufficient and your power is made perfect in us even though we have a weakness.  Help us all to glorify you through our struggles instead of hiding and suffering alone.



When God Won’t Do What You Want Him To Do…

I am excited to discuss a Biblical account with you all that I have been studying this week. It has really spoken to my heart and encouraged me to see my circumstances and the moving of God in a fresh way. The account of the healing of Naaman can be found in 2 Kings 5:1-19.

Naaman was a mighty warrior and the commander of a great army in the land of Aram, which neighbored Israel. As we know, even the most powerful people have struggles and issues, and Naaman’s battle was with leprosy. Through a series of events, Naaman got in touch with the prophet Elisha to seek healing from leprosy. When Naaman reached Israel, Elisha simply instructed him to wash himself seven times in the Jordan River and he would be healed.

And that did not go over well. Naaman’s reaction after hearing Elisha’s instructions was not one of excitement, obedience or willingness, but of anger. When I consider this in my rational brain, I can honestly understand why. I relate to Naaman here, and I can put myself in his shoes easily. I have been angry Naaman more than once. Think about it… Naaman just travelled approximately 350 miles from Aram (modern day Syria) to Israel to get healed, and this man asks him to take 7 baths in the river? What in the world?

Read Naaman’s response to Elisha’s instructions: “But Naaman became angry and stalked away. ‘I thought he would certainly come out to meet me!’ he said. ‘I expected him to wave his hand over the leprosy and call on the name of the Lord his God and heal me!’” (v. 11)

In anger, Naaman says “but I thought…” and “I expected…” Wow, I have DEFINITELY spoken those words to God in prayer more times than I care to admit! God, I thought this situation would be better by now. I expected you to appear in this specific way at this specific time to remove or resolve this hurt in my life. Can you also relate to Naaman’s frustrations? During his long journey, Naaman had plenty of time to ponder the healing that was to come. He created expectations about the miraculous way he would be healed, even to the point where he pictured the prophet Elisha waving his hand over the disease in the name of the Lord and immediate healing taking place. Isn’t that dangerous—when we place self-imposed expectations on God and tell him exactly how and when He should act? Read on, and you will see that Naaman almost allowed his own expectations to prohibit his healing completely.

At this point, scripture tells us Naaman “turned and went away in rage” (V. 12). He was actually ready to leave because he was so disappointed. However, he was blessed to be surrounded by people who calmed him and encouraged him to stay on track. His officers responded to his irritation in the following way: “Sir, if the prophet had told you to do something very difficult, wouldn’t you have done it? So you should certainly obey him when he says simply, ‘Go and wash and be cured!’” (V.13). Isn’t perspective a blessing? As a result, Naaman finally obeyed and washed in the Jordan River seven times.

Can you guess what happened? That’s right… his leprosy was cured! A miracle healing had taken place. Naaman responded in gratitude and reverence to the Lord the God of Israel, promising he will no longer offer burnt offerings or sacrifices to any other God.

This story has a happy ending. The sick man is healed and God is glorified. But how close was this situation to going in a completely opposite direction? I hope this story will encourage you to never put God in a box. We know that God’s thoughts are nothing like our thoughts (Isaiah 55:8). God chose to heal the leprosy by commanding him to wash in the river 7 times. Why? Because that is what God chose. God did not heal the leprosy by asking the prophet to wave his hand over the ailment in the name of the Lord. Why? Because God did not choose to heal in that way in this situation. Naaman was not God. You and I are not God. The Lord, Adonai, is God. We do not have to tell God how to be God because He is better at it than we could ever be. He calls the shots, not us, and for that I am grateful.

Father God, we surrender our expectations and desires to you. We submit to your wisdom and authority as Lord of our lives. Thank you that your ways are higher than ours. Your plan is better than ours in every sense of the word, and we give you full permission to move and heal according to your plan. Heal the broken areas in our hearts and lives, and receive all the glory. Renew our trust in you because you are worthy of it. In Jesus name, amen.


Keep on Believing

What is it about music that is so moving?  Music can be such a powerful mover in our hearts and lives…literally!  Some music, I just can’t help but dance to (despite the horror to my children), or want to work out to! Other music can be a mover of our hearts when they feel so broken and confused.  Music can be a form of worship when performed or enjoyed for the Glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31)…which means, music is also a weapon of warfare against our enemy!  Music can be a wonderful distractor from our problems and an encourager to continue on despite them.  One such song recently reminded me of this…Miracle by the band Unspoken.  It goes a little something like this:

Have you stopped reaching?
No longer seeking greater things
Have you forgotten you have a Father listening? oh
He tells the sun when to rise
Gives the wind it’s breath
Swings a door wide open and moves in a moment you least expect

 Don’t you give up on a miracle
You’ve got to speak to the impossible, oh
You’ve got to pray till your break through breaks through the ceiling keep on believing
Don’t you give up
Don’t you give up on a miracle

 How many chances?
How many answers pass us by?
You know it takes faith to step on the waves when you’re terrified
So when you’re packed in a corner (corner)
And can’t wait any longer

 Don’t you give up on a miracle
You’ve got to speak to the impossible, oh
You’ve got to pray till your break through breaks through the ceiling keep on believing
Don’t you give up
Don’t you give up on a miracle

 Feels like the presents the words you’ve spoken
They go unnoticed like drops in the ocean
Just beyond the veil of your vision
Your mountains are moving, moving on
Remember the works his hand has done
Where you once were and how far you’ve come, oh

 Don’t you give up on a miracle
You’ve got to speak to the impossible, oh
You’ve got to pray till you break through breaks through the ceiling keep on believing
Don’t you give up on a miracle (don’t you give up)
You’ve got to speak to the impossible, oh (you’ve got to speak, keep on believing)
Pray till your break through breaks through the ceiling keep on believing
Don’t you give up
Don’t you give up on a miracle

 Pray till your break through breaks through the ceiling… keep on believing

Aside from being catchy, this particular song has really reminded me of some important lessons here lately…I keep putting God in a box by thinking He can’t or won’t come through on that miracle I’m waiting on.

The truth is, our Father, who made everything…EVERYTHING…can certainly perform that, by comparison, little miracle I am waiting for.  Moreover, as our most loving Father, He wants to!  He wants good things for me…and you too!  Perhaps the biggest miracle that is being performed within us during the waiting is that we learn to trust in our loving Father.  Waiting (as difficult as it can be in our hurry-up society) and placing our faith in God alone, establishes a trust deep inside as we see and feel His love come through for us.

I recently had a little storm hit me.  It literally knocked me off my feet for a day or two.  In the midst of all the fear and worry, I realized I was so caught up in the emotions that I totally forgot to turn to God.  As soon as I realized this, I said, “Father, I trust you, but I am scared.  Father, I trust you, but I am worried.  Father, I trust you, but I feel alone.”  The miracle in that moment was that I felt less afraid and less worried and less alone because I was seeking Him, and I was trusting in resources far bigger than mine.

Father, we thank you for all of your miracles and signs and wonders big and small.  Help us in the confusion of our emotions to continue to seek you and draw upon your strength.  From your strength we continue to hope and endure patiently for your will to be done.  Please continue to speak to us through your living word and your Holy Spirit and in whatever ways we hear you, even music, so that we can be assured of your loving presence.  Through Jesus name we pray.  Amen.



Serendipity or Providence


The occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way.

In the fall of 2001, I was about to graduate from college. I was in Mexico doing my student teaching during the events of Sept. 11th then came back home to a totally different place in October. Life was pretty confusing for me during that time. I guess you could have called it an identity crisis. All my plans for my life were pretty much out the window at this point. I was very single, about to graduate a semester late in a career field that I was 75% sure I was not cut out for, and was so confused about my own personality. It was just…weird.

There was this movie that came out that fall called Serendipity. That was the name of the dessert shop in the movie as well as the title. I remember it was a really cute movie, but the word “Serendipity” really stuck with me. Serendipity is catchy and fun to say. And, let’s face it: I, too, longed for a series of fortunate events to make me happy. If only I could just be lucky! I was putting all my hope in chance… in serendipity.

I moved to Atlanta, still waiting for my luck to change as 2002 kicked off.  I made a few New Year’s resolutions that were totally self-centered and relied on self-everything (control, confidence, esteem, etc.), which of course was a failure from the get-go. (I didn’t realize then that I couldn’t do any of that stuff without the strength and confidence that I find in and through my maker.)

My plan since childhood was that I’d get engaged in college and get married right after graduation. At this point, there was not even a prospect. So naturally, I was depressed about being such a loser.  I found myself defining my worth by some made up standards and goals of an 8 year old whose results were totally out of my control. I just felt like I needed some serendipitous events—and fast!

I was pretty miserable during my time in Atlanta. Ol’ serendipity didn’t exactly play out for me like I had hoped. But, in that dark and lonely time, I “just happened” to stumble across a Christian radio station. I even remember the song that was playing that made me actually leave the radio tuned in. It was, “ If You Want Me To” by Ginny Owens. She sang, “You never said it would be easy. You only said I’d never go alone.”  Oh, how those words stirred in me.

That summer, I was home visiting my parents and the preacher at their church mentioned the word providence. Something about that concept struck deep in my soul. Hmm. God is still in control of all things. Not me. He provides. Not luck. He takes care of the birds and he will take care of me too (Matthew 6:26). I remember writing that word –providence– on the little church bulletin to look up when we got home. (Funny to think about that now, but before smartphones, we actually used a real dictionary. Ha!)


Divine guidance or care; God as the guide and protector of all human beings.

So many moments (like “stumbling” across that radio station and hearing those words) would come and go without me really thinking too much of them back then. But my life certainly did begin to change. Good fortune? A lucky turn of events? Definitely not. God’s providence? His guidance? Absolutely. He intervened. On my behalf.

He seeks us but we have to accept Him too. He eagerly waits for us to just come back to Him. (Just like the father and the prodigal son in Luke 15:11–32.) I was certainly seeking something—something or someone—to change the course of my life. I was desperate. And He met me there. And I actually turned to Him this time and didn’t reject Him. Hallelujah!

I continued to sing these songs with lyrics like “I still believe” and “seek ye first,” and “light a fire in my heart again” and “I want to see your face.”  I sang about the cross and about forgiveness and about God’s glory. Something in me started to change. That dim, stifled little light inside of me lit back up and started to shine. I started to pray and seek God for provision and guidance. I slowly let go of my own plans for what I thought was best for my life and began to seek whatever God had for me.

If you are feeling hopeless this new year because you’re still waiting for your luck to change, take heart! You don’t have to wait around for serendipity…you have a mighty God—your creator—who promises to care and provide for you when you turn to Him. (Matthew 6:33, Philippians 4:19, 2 Chronicles 15:3, Proverbs 8:17, and many, many more)

Will you turn your face toward Him today? It’s a new year. Don’t make resolutions hoping that “the universe” will do you a favor. Waiting on your lucky-break will ultimately end in heart-break.

Choose Providence over Serendipity this year.

Choose to seek your Father in heaven. He’s there with you right now, waiting.  Let Him know you are ready to surrender to His plans and provisions and stop trying to manipulate your life according to what you think is best. His plans are greater.

“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”  Isaiah 55:9

Will you pray this with me?

Oh God, thank you for your providence. Thank you for changing the course of my life to align with your will instead of mine. I’m sorry for trying to take control. I’m sorry for wishing and hoping for my luck to change instead of turning to you and seeking your face. Here I am, Lord. I surrender my life to you. I’m tired of striving—I need your help. I give you my heart. I give you my life. Come and give me a fresh start. Change my trajectory. My hope is in you and nothing else. Thank you for never giving up on me. I love you. I trust you. I give you control. No turning back! In Jesus’ mighty name, Amen!