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Have you found yourself wondering if God was ever going to answer your prayer?

My friend, Author and Speaker Donna Jones, shares from her book — Seek: A Woman’s Guide to Meeting God what happened when she and her family didn’t give up on a prayer request.

Donna writes…

Just over a year ago our family saw the answer to a prayer that took 40 years to answer. In case you skimmed right over that last sentence, let me repeat the time frame again—40 years. Not 40 minutes. Not 40 days. Not even 40 months.

40 years.

40 years ago my brother-in-law became the first Christian in his family. After several years and a few awkward conversations, my husband followed his brother’s footsteps and became a believer, too. Together they began to pray for their mom and step-dad.

When JP and I married, I joined in praying. Once our kids became old enough to question why Grandma and Grandpa didn’t believe in God, they prayed, too.

There were seasons of intense prayer and seasons of scattered prayer.

Was it discouraging at times?  You bet.

Did my husband and his brother ever give up hope?  They sure did, especially when they were told, “Please don’t talk to us about God anymore.”

Respectfully, they stopped talking about God, but they never stopped praying. Or loving. Or visiting, or calling, or caring.

For 40 years.

About this time last year, my mother-in-law shocked us by announcing she was considering going to church “just to see.” We held our breath and continued to pray. She went and liked it. Several women invited her to lunch. These women were warm, thoughtful, even downright normal, and my mother-in-law liked them immediately. They invited her to join their home Bible study. She went “just to see.” She liked that, too.

Then, seemingly out of the blue, she called my husband and asked, “How do I become a Christian, exactly? I’ve been waiting for someone at church to tell me, but they never do.”

Why did it take 40 years of prayer before my mother-in-law made a spiritual commitment?  Honestly, I have no idea. Sometimes we just don’t know why God works the way He does.

What I do know is this: we’re glad we didn’t stop praying, even if it took years to see the answer.

Maybe you’ve prayed for something—or someone— near and dear to your heart too, but have yet to see God answer. Perhaps you’re tempted to give up. You might even be toying with thoughts about how God doesn’t hear your prayers or care about your concerns. It’s easy to give up when we don’t see immediate results. And if people around us seem to have their prayers answered almost instantaneously? Well, it’s like adding salt to the wound.

Unanswered prayer can make us feel invisible.

If we begin to believe we’re invisible to God we’ll likely throw up our hands in despair and ask, “Why bother?”

The enemy would like nothing more than to sideline you and your prayers by tempting you to believe God doesn’t see you or hear you, and therefore, doesn’t care for you.

But God does see. He does hear. You are not invisible. The cries of your heart do not go unnoticed. The eyes of the LORD search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him (1 Chronicles 16:9).

The fact that you are reading these words right now is proof.  It’s God’s way of bending low to say “I see. I know.”

May I tenderly whisper something the devil doesn’t want you to hear? Keep on praying and don’t stop. Don’t let the enemy win.

Personally, I find great comfort in Jesus’ words,

Keep asking, and it will be given to you. Keep searching, and you will find. Keep knocking, and the door will be opened to you.” (Matthew 7:7)

It’s easy to think of prayer as a one-stop deal. But Jesus so clearly indicates that prayer is an ongoing pursuit. Prayer is pressing in and pressing on, even when the pressure’s up.

If you’ve been tempted to stop praying, don’t. If you’ve been tempted to stop caring, don’t do that either. When you are tempted to give up, look up. And pray.

Even if it takes 40 years to see the answer.

 “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time

we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (2 Thessalonians 3:13).

For your chance to win a free copy of Donna’s book, leave a comment below about what you are waiting on God for, and share this post on your social media page. (U.S. residents only for book giveaway, please.)

DonnaJonesDonna Jones is the author of Seek: A Woman’s Guide to Meeting God, Raising Kids with Good Manners, and Taming Your Family Zoo. A national and international speaker, Donna has spoken from coast to coast and on four continents helping women find and follow God in real, everyday life. Her favorite role is wife to her pastor/hubby, JP, and mom to their three wildly funny, young adult kids who frequently sit on her kitchen counter just to chat. For more encouragement and free resources connect with Donna at www.donnajones.org.

 

 

There are a few situations in my life right now that could really stress me out. My husband is waiting to hear about three different job opportunities, and to be honest, he needs at least two of  the three!

Now, I can pull out my hair, and lose sleep at night, and keep calculating what we’ll do if he doesn’t get any of those jobs. Or, I can realize it is ludicrous for me to worry that God isn’t aware, or doesn’t care, or won’t provide for us in time.

I choose to not be ludicrous. So I thought of five good reasons not to worry about that or anything we tend to worry about. Those five good reasons come down to five things you and I will never hear God say as we hand Him our worries and concerns.

So here they are. You never have to fear any of these responses when you trust God with what is on your heart:

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I thought it was time to put together a list of the 10 best (and most challenging) books I’ve read in the past 10 years.

These books have convicted my heart, challenged my theology, helped me grow, opened up my eyes to new insights, and helped me love Jesus more. When we love Jesus more we can be a better wife, mom, daughter, sister, friend, employee, neighbor, and so on.

Wow, it was hard to confine this list to just 10 (and I omitted some great titles I’ve read more than 10 years ago), but these are the books I need to re-read now and then because their principles are timeless. And this list is in no particular order…I’d rate them all No. 1:

  1. A Praying Life: Connecting with God in a Distracting World by Paul E. Miller (There are golden nuggets in this book that I think about daily and I can’t forget his description of how cynicism in this world affects us.)
  2. Slave: The Hidden Truth About Your Identity in Christ by John MacArthur (You will never again confuse the word “servant” — which is a profession — with “slave” — which is a purchased possession. We are God’s slaves.)
  3. Say Goodbye to Regret: Living Beyond the Would-Haves, Could-Haves, and Should-Haves by Robert Jeffress
  4. Grace Gone Wild: Getting a Grip on God’s Amazing Gift by Robert Jeffress
  5. The Life You’ve Always Wanted: Spiritual Disciplines for Ordinary People by John Ortberg
  6. The Apocalypse Code: Find Out What the Bible Really Says About the End Times and Why It Matters Today by Hank Hanegraaff
  7. The Last Days According to Jesus: When Did Jesus Say He Would Return? By R.C. Sproul (If you think we’re living in the “last days” that the Bible refers to, I challenge you to read this one!)
  8. Radically Obedient, Radically Blessed: Experiencing God in Extraordinary Ways by Lysa TerKeurst
  9. When People are Big and God is Small: Overcoming Peer Pressure, Codependency, and the Fear of Man by  Edward T. Welch (Ok, I read it 15 years ago, but just revisited it this week as I was finishing up my book, Drama Free — which releases in March. We are drama when we fear people more than we fear God!)
  10. Suburbianity: What Have We Done to the Gospel? Can We Find Our Way Back to Biblical Christianity? by Byron Forrest Yawn.

Which books have been life-changers for you? Please let me know in the comment section below. I’m sure I — and my readers– can glean from your list, too. Keep reading books and keep growing!

Slavery is not something of the past.

It still happens in this country and even in our local communities.

This week I asked my friend, Peggy Sue Wells, to share on my blog what is on her heart. And she is concerned with what is on God’s heart — the injustice of young girls who are being sold into slavery and human trafficking. As you read her shocking and heartbreaking story, be asking yourself what YOU can do to stomp out slavery in your corner of the world.

And keep in mind these words from our God who hates injustice:

Rescue those being led away to death;
    hold back those staggering toward slaughter.
If you say, “But we knew nothing about this,”
    does not he who weighs the heart perceive it?
Does not he who guards your life know it? (Proverbs 24:11-12).

PeggySue writes:

“Twelve-year-old Carrie was a smart girl taking classes for gifted and talented students. One day as she walked home from middle school, a man in a fancy car drove up beside her and told her she was pretty. Though she didn’t tell her parents about him, every day for six months he met her after school and they talked. He bought her small gifts and made her feel special. After six months she finally agreed to get into his car.

When the door shut, Carrie’s life changed forever. Her boyfriend drove her far from home and took away her identity. For the next five years, he prostituted Carrie to more than 100 men each month. Taken from state to state, there was no place for her to run, and she was without hope for rescue. Though Carrie was a United States citizen, in the land of liberty she was no longer free. This all-American pre-teen was a slave.

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Do you ever get – or give – “biblical advice” that isn’t actually from the Bible?

My guess is that it happens more times than you realize because there are so many secular sayings that sound like they’re from the Bible when they, in fact, are not.

To help you be able to discern the real stuff from the imposter, here are three “verses” that are often quoted as if they’re from Scripture when in fact, they are actually contrary to the truth found in God’s Word:

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Got stress? It seems to be our constant companion in this life.

In fact, stress is trying to be a companion of mine as I write my next book, Drama Free. So, I asked my friend Sally Nance — who writes a wonderful blog called The Healthy Happy Woman —  to share some practical ways that you and I can stress less. I’m already trying a few of these as I struggle with deadline pressure and they are really helping.

So, as I get back to my book-writing deadline, here are some words from Sally that just might change YOUR life, too:

Stress has become a 21st century epidemic, and women are especially vulnerable to its effects, particularly when it comes to our day-to-day outlook on life.

Whether it’s the big stressors, like a health crisis, divorce, or a major move, or the little stressors, like traffic jams and full schedules, there is always something threatening to steal our joy and leave us frazzled, exhausted, and discouraged.

The good news is that it doesn’t have to be this way!  We can experience joy and peace in the midst of a stressful world.  I have discovered 5 proactive ways to deal with stress, protect your joy, and live a happy life.read more

Want to drop a few pounds, find more energy, enjoy life,  and live a little longer? The secret is to keep moving.

The older we get the more sedentary we become. I even read a statistic that a woman gains an average of one pound a year after age 40. That’s been true for me…as much as I’ve tried to fight it. Now that I’m just over 50 years old, I realize how important it is for my mental, emotional, physical and even spiritual health to keep moving.

Using tips from my book, When You’re Running on Empty, I’ve put together some interesting facts and practical ways you can keep moving, keep healthy, and enjoy life even more.

Read about it here at MTL (More to Life) Magazine.

 

Every week for the past ten years, I’ve received at least one or two emails asking me for marriage or relationship advice.

And while there are thousands of books out there on the topic — and a thousand  more reasons why women struggle in their relationships — I’ve found that what has most helped my marriage of 28 years — and thousands of other marriages and relationships as well — is  best summarized in my book, When a Woman Inspires Her Husband

“The quickest way to run your marriage into the ground is to expect your husband to be God in your life — to fill your every need, to know what you’re thinking and feeling and be able to respond accordingly, to be your joy, to be your all-in-all. He is a man. He is not able to be all of that for you. He is human, and that means he has weaknesses and will let you down at times. Finally, he is a sinner (as all of us are), and that means he will disappoint you, anger you, and even hurt you more times than he or you would like. So don’t look to your husband to be God in your life, or to fulfill your every need. Instead, look to God as your spiritual husband (Isaiah 54:5-6).

“God’s Word frequently uses the marriage relationship to illustrate God as our husband. God desires to be a husband to us and have us respond, in return, as we would respond to a husband — to forsake all other gods and love only Him, to respect Him, to dwell intimately with Him, to look to Him for our provision, and so on. There is nothing that will free up your husband to love you more than taking your emotional expectations off of him and leaving them with God. Your husband can then love you in the best way he is able, without feeling he has an impossible task in front of him. (For an in-depth look at this subject, see my book, Letting God Meet Your Emotional Needs.)”

Whether we are married or not, as we look to God first to fill our emotional tank, we will find we are more able and stable to deal with whatever comes our way. And that makes us more appealing women to be around.

It’s been said that a woman should be so deeply immersed in God that a man has to seek Him in order to find her.

Immerse yourself in Him this week. And watch the benefits of it in your relationships.

Before my daughter, Dana. started work at Disneyland  she had to take a class called “Traditions.” In this class, Disney employees (called “cast members”) learn the traditions and values upon which the Walt Disney Company was established so that they can continue in those traditions and provide parks guests with the ultimate magical experience. In the class, they heard stories of their founder, Walt Disney, that helped establish Disneyland as the happiest place on earth. And one of the stories Dana told me about struck me in a particular way.

Shortly after Disneyland Park opened, Walt was walking through the park and observing the happiness he had created when he noticed a little boy, sitting on a bench in Fantasyland, crying.  Walt sat down next to the boy and asked “Why are you crying? You’re in the Happiest Place on Earth! What could possibly make you cry?” The little boy wiped his eyes and he said “My brother got to sit on the white horse on the carousel.”

Walt reached into his pocket and pulled out a ticket and handed it to the boy and said “You come back tomorrow and I guarantee that you will be able to ride the white horse.”

That night, after the park closed, Walt ordered that every horse on King Arthur’s Carousel  be painted white so that no child would ever cry again for not being able to ride the white horse. To this day, every horse on what is now known as Sleeping Beauty’s Carousel is white, so every child who rides on the carousel will feel special.

Carousel

Jesus said in Matthew 7:11: “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!”Walt Disney was just a man, and he had limited resources when he opened that park. And if he’d go to that extreme to please a little boy who isn’t even his own, how much more will our Heavenly Father (who owns the cattle and the white horses on a thousand hills!) make the effort to please the hearts of His own children?

Our God’s resources are so much more than Walt Disney’s were when he opened his park.  And our God wants to bless, but in a way that’s eternal, not just temporal. And in addition to wanting to bless, He knows what’s best for you and for me.

Can you trust that God knows your life’s story and He can still work it out even if right now, you aren’t sitting on a white horse? Can you trust that He doesn’t need to repaint…He already has your story written and perfected?  And will you trust that He knows exactly how to get you to the happily ever after!

In Psalm 84:11: we are told “The Lord God is a sun and a shield. The Lord gives grace and glory. No good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly.” If you are asking God for something “good” and He’s not granting — it either isn’t truly good for you — or it isn’t time.

Trust Him. He specializes in the happily ever afters. And He always knows what is the very best for His children.

Is Our Culture Forsaking God?

Sadly, the answer to that question is “Yes.” That’s what my friend, Janet Thompson, says. She is the author of the newly-released book,  Forsaken God? Remembering the Goodness of God Our Culture Has Forgotten.

Janet says we, too, can forsake God without realizing it by forgetting the good things He has done for us.

I asked Janet to share her insights on my blog this week. Here is what she had to say:

Today’s culture is quickly forsaking and forgetting the goodness and power of our Great God. The Bible describes the potential destruction through all generations to people who forget God. The dangers are paramount.

If we don’t remember what God has already done, we won’t believe what He is capable of doing in the future. Memory builds faith.

We read the Old Testament and lament at how forgetful the Israelites were of God’s goodness. Every time He did something good for them, they started grumbling that they needed something else. And are we any different today?

The Israelites repeatedly rejected God, even though He:

  • freed them from bondage and slavery by miraculously parting the Red Sea for them to pass through on dry ground,
  • provided manna from heaven,
  • guided them with a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night,
  • never let their shoes wear out even after walking for 40 years,
  • and He offered them a land flowing with milk and honey.

God was only as good as the next miracle or provision. A forsaken God.

Yet they were warned:

“But watch out! Be careful never to forget what you yourself have seen. Do not let these memories escape from your mind as long as you live! And be sure to pass them on to your children and grandchildren. Deuteronomy 4:9 NLT

We wonder at how the Israelites could be so blind and ungrateful. Why couldn’t they trust that a God who provided and protected them in the past, would do the same in the present and future? But their memories were short. As often as Moses and God tried to help them remember, still they forgot. And at great sacrifice. The original generation freed from Egypt never got to see the Promised Land because they doubted God’s goodness. Even Moses wasn’t able to enjoy its beauty because at a crucial moment, he took matters into his own hands and forgot that God was in control.

We would never forsake God! But wait . . . don’t we forget too? God has done amazing things in our lives, but when the next crisis arises, we panic that He might not show up for us this time. Or when prayers are answered, we might take credit ourselves or offer praise to someone else instead of giving God the glory and recognition He deserves.

We never intentionally forsake God, but if we’re honest, we do unintentionally forget him. So let’s agree that forgetfulness will stop with our generation. We live in a world today that is quickly trying to eliminate God from the public square and even in the private domain. Christians need to help a lost world remember God and that starts with remembering Him ourselves.

In my new book Forsaken God?: Remembering the Goodness of God Our Culture Has Forgotten, there are suggestions for ways to remember all that God has done in your life and, then share that memory in your sphere of influence. One effective way is to share our testimony. As a Christian speaker, I give parts of my testimony every time I speak. “Feed my sheep” is my testimony of a time when God clearly spoke those words to me. When I said an obedient “OK,” He went on to reveal that the sheep were women and feeding was mentoring.

That was 20 years ago, and today God has taken Woman to Woman Mentoring around the world as women enjoy the blessings of being in Titus 2 mentoring relationships. I still stand in awe as I write that story, and every time I tell it from the stage. I will never forget how God used me to start a worldwide ministry, and I give Him all the glory for the blessing it has been to so many.

But you don’t have to be a speaker to share your story. Someone today needs to hear how Jesus changed your life. A hurting world needs the Christian world to tell them the source of our joy and hope. Mentoring is a great place to share our testimony to encourage others to know the Jesus of the Bible.

There are over 50 ways described in Forsaken God? to help remember God. Here are just a few:

  • Taking pictures
  • Journaling
  • Reading our Bibles
  • Receiving Communion
  • Making a thankful list
  • Joining a small group
  • Sharing with children

What are some ways that help you remember God’s goodness?

(You can order Janet’s book at Amazon, Christianbook.com, and signed at her website.)

Janet Thompson is an international speaker, freelance editor, and an award-winning author of 18 books including Dear God, They Say It’s Cancer and Praying for Your Prodigal Daughter. She is also the founder of Woman to Woman Mentoring and About His Work Ministries. Visit Janet at: womantowomanmentoring.com.   www.facebook.com/Janetthompson.authorspeaker,   http://www.linkedin.com/in/womantowomanmentoring/ www.pinterest.com/thompsonjanet  and https://twitter.com/AHWministries

I think it’s natural for us to feel alone as women.

You and I have burdens we carry — emotionally and spiritually. And God will often draw us out to a lonely place so we can get to know Him in a deeper way and hand those burdens to Him. I’ve learned through the years that our alone times can be doorways to discovering a deeper intimacy with God. When we feel alone, we can sense His presence in a way that perhaps we couldn’t before.

In my second week of focusing on God’s gifts, I can’t help but think how blessed we are because of God’s presence.

God is bent on relationship. And that’s why He offers us His presence so that we are never truly alone.

I love how the Psalmists wrote about God’s presence,  especially when they felt alone.

One of my favorite songs in Scripture is Psalm 27, written by David who sang:

One thing I ask from the Lord,
    this only do I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
    all the days of my life,
to gaze on the beauty of the Lord
    and to seek him in his temple (verse 4).

David was saying the one thing he wanted the most was God’s presence.

Do you realize that David wrote this Psalm at a time when the presence of God was not accessible to anyone as it is to us today through the power of the Holy Spirit?

David longed to “dwell in God’s presence” which could only happen if he lived in the temple, because that’s where God’s presence dwelt. But David could not live in the temple because he was not a priest. And even if he were, the presence of God dwelt in the Holy of Holies, that inner chamber where only the High Priest could enter once a year, and after a lengthy ritualistic cleansing process so that he wouldn’t be struck dead by the holiness of God.

Under the Old Covenant, the Holy Spirit only visited certain people at a certain time for a certain purpose. God’s spirit came upon the prophets of the Old Testament and they were able to demonstrate the power of God and perform miracles. God’s anointing spirit came upon Samson and he experienced tremendous strength. The Holy Spirit came upon David and he was able to kill a bear and a lion with his hands. The Holy Spirit came upon Elijah and he was able to call down rain and  fire from heaven. But other than those temporary moments of the Holy Spirit’s presence, the people under the Old Covenant were pretty much separated from God by their sin.

But when Christ died on the cross as the ultimate sacrifice for our sins, He removed that separation and there was instant access between God and those who come to Him by faith on the merit of what Jesus did for them.

Today we have a Savior who has made it possible for us to be in the presence of God – always. We have the indwelling Holy Spirit, when we come to God through faith in Jesus, and that means God’s presence is always with us.

We can experience today what David only longed for.

Can you, like David, say “there is one thing I need…”?

Oh, that you and I would realize there really IS only ONE thing we need…and it’s to be in God’s presence. And we can be.

This morning I found myself focusing on what I don’t have.

I hate it when I do that.

I have been given so much. Yet it is in my human (sinful) nature to focus on what I don’t have, rather than to count my blessings.

Do you ever do that? Start thinking about an opportunity that hasn’t come your way, places you haven’t visited because you don’t have the money, a certain measure of success you haven’t yet attained, or a relationship or position in life you don’t yet have?  And in the process you forget all that you do have?

Jesus said:

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10).

You and I do have life to the full when we focus on what God has given us – gifts in the spiritual realm that can help us through the physical realm

So, for the next several weeks, I want to focus on God’s incredible gifts that God has given to you and me through His Son, Christ Jesus. Gifts you and I can tend to take advantage of, or forget altogether. But gifts, nonetheless, that will help us experience life to the full.

Today, let’s remember God’ s incredible gift of His power.

Scripture says “for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control,” (2 Timothy 1:7).  That means we have His Spirit to help us be bold when we would otherwise be timid, to help us  love unconditionally when we otherwise could not, and to help us exert self-control.

And on days you and I feel especially weak, Second Corinthians 12:9 tells us that Christ’s power  “is made perfect in weakness.”

Do you know why you and I tend to worry and stress? We forget God’s power. Do you know why we give up when we could otherwise succeed? We forget that He is capable. Do you know why we shrink back when we could be moving forward?  We forget that He can do all things.

Why else would we start in with our “what ifs?”

What if I can’t get this done?

What if this bill is not something I can pay?

What if we can’t move beyond this? 

Approach this day remembering you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you (Philippians 4:13). Tackle any project that comes your way knowing God is able to do through you what is beyond you. And remember all that you do have today because you have His power. It is there for the asking.

Are you a worrier or a warrior?
A worrier is one who tries to fight her own battles of fear, insecurity, and doubt.
A warrior lets God fight those battles through her.

Ephesians 6:12 tells us “we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies (like the person who is making your life miserable), but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places” (like the unseen thoughts, fears and frustrations that cloud your judgment, persuade you to worry, and tempt you to stress out).

Here’s how you can tell if you’re a worrier or a warrior:

A worrier says: “I’m so nervous about this situation. I’ve never done anything like this before.
A warrior says: “God has gone before me into this situation so I have nothing to fear.”

A worrier says: “There’s no hope.”
A warrior says:”My hope is in the Lord…”

A worrier says: “What if something bad happens?”
A warrior says: “God causes all things — even the bad things — to work for good to those who love Him” (Romans 8:28).

A worrier says: “I’m not strong enough. Surely I will fail.”
A warrior says: “The Lord is my strength” (Psalm 28:7) and “If God is for me, who can be against me?” (Romans 8:31).

Did you notice the difference? The worrier is looking at the world through her physical eyes. She sees (or doesn’t see) and she fears.

The warrior is looking in the WORD and has God’s  response for every situation she encounters. She sees with her spiritual eyes…from God’s perspective…the perspective of a victor, an over comer, a conqueror (Romans 8:37).

Romans 12:2 tells us “do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may]prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”

To be conformed to this world is to worry like every other person in the world.

To be transformed by the renewing of your mind is to think differently  — as a warrior princes should think, as a warrior who knows where her strength is, where the power is, and to Whom she belongs.

So which one are you? A worrier or a warrior?

If you’re the former, here’s the best news of all:  A worrier can turn into a warrior at any time. Your transformation is just a prayer away:

“God, grant me, according to the riches of Your glory, to be strengthened with power through Your Spirit inwardly so that I can be a woman of faith, not fear….a warrior,  not a worrier” (Ephesians 3:16-17).

Will you join me in the ranks as a warrior?

For more on being a warrior, not a worrier, see my newest book, 10 Secrets to Becoming a Worry-Free Mom.

I’d love to give you ten minutes of encouragement on how you can be a worry-free mom. And if you don’t have kids, I’m sure it will help you with other areas of your life that you worry about.

I’m posting for you today a quick-moving, 10-minute interview of mine with Rick Probst and Dan Ratcliffe at Faith Talk LIVE Radio. To hear a few secrets and a few amazing stories of what God does for those who trust Him with their worries, click HERE.

And then….leave me a comment — or question — and  you’ll be entered into another drawing for a free copy of my newest book, 10 Secrets to Becoming a Worry-Free Mom (U.S. residents only, please).

Talk to you soon!

It was great hearing from so many of you last week about how you could benefit from my newest book, 10 Secrets to Becoming a Worry Free Mom. Special congratulations to Mindy Minkus, Kelly Bistline and Lisa L for winning a free copy of the book.

And as a special thanks to YOU for reading this blog, I’d like to gift YOU with a savings of $4 off of my newest book. Just go to my website store, make your purchase, and enter the coupon code “blogfan” to save $4 at check out. But hurry, this offer lasts only thru Thursday, March 10, 2016.

Thank you, friend,  for opening my emails, reading my words, commenting on my blogs,  and being an overall encouragement to me as you follow my ministry to help women find strength for the soul.

“I thank my God every time I remember you” (Philippians 1:3).

 

I’ll admit it. I’ve said the words aloud or thought them many times.

And I’m guessing you have, too.

They’re two of the most debilitating words a woman can say, especially when it comes to her children. These two words fill our minds with doubt and our hearts with fear.

They are the words: “What if…?”

What if my children get hurt?

What if they don’t make friends?

What if they follow the wrong crowd?

What if they’re lying to me?

What if they never get married?

And even: What if I’m not a good enough mom?

I realized one day, after spending time in God’s Word, that at the root of all my “What if” questions and worry is what I really believe about God’s character. When my mind plays through the various what ifs, the question I’m really asking is “What if God isn’t able?” “What if God isn’t good?” “What if God can’t handle this?”

There’s a reason God’s Word tells me “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus,” (Philippians 4:6-7, NLT).

As I give God all of my what ifs, worries, and anxieties, He can calm my heart and remind me that He is in absolute control.

That was the lesson I had to learn myself before I wrote my book, 10 Secrets to Becoming a Worry-Free Mom. Based on my own experience mothering – as well as wisdom and advice from many other moms – I found that there are treasures (secrets, if you will) to discover as we surrender to God what is closest to our hearts – our children.

One of those treasures is the incredible peace He offers as the Perfect Parent who allows us to partner with Him in raising, loving, and caring (not worrying) for our kids.

When I give God what is closest to my heart I am saying “You, God, are capable. You are trustworthy. And all my worries and what ifs are in vain.”

What are you saying – to God and to others – when you worry? And what would you like to start saying with your life and your actions from this point on?

I’m giving away three free copies of my brand new book, 10 Secrets to Becoming a Worry-Free Mom For a chance to win, let me know in the comment section below why you would benefit from reading this book. Winners will be announced on next week’s blog. (U.S. residents or American Post Office boxes only please.)

There are three things I could really worry and stress about right now.

And yet, I’m choosing not to.

Here are the concerns pressing in on me:

  • My husband is still in transition since he stepped out of the full-time pastorate to begin a sabbatical year and wait on God for what’s next. It’s now been two years. And we are still waiting for his city ranger job to go full-time or for God to open up a new door in ministry for him.
  • My daughter, now 23, still hasn’t found an affordable place to live near her job which she loves. Thus, she is commuting an hour and a half each way almost daily in crazy Southern California traffic. How she longs to feel “settled in” in her new career and adult life.
  • My parents are aging and I now have a Dad with prostate cancer, a mom with diabetes, and a step-dad struggling with the middle stages of Alzheimer’s. I live far away from them and wish I could be closer to help.

I guess you could say our lives are back to a day-to-day dependence on God when it comes to finances, work, our health, and so many other things. But then…isn’t everyone’s when you really think about it? Who of us is really in control of our circumstances from day to day? And when we recognize God has all our concerns in His hands, there is peace.

Philippians 4:19 tells us: “And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”

I’m grateful God has me and my family in that place where we must look for Him at every turn and wait for Him to come through for us at the end of every day. It builds our faith. It increases our dependence on Him. It keeps us humble. It keeps us in perspective. It keeps us on our knees in prayer.

THAT is why I’m choosing not to worry about all that concerns me and to trust the One who can change things at any moment.

What is the upside of what God is doing in your life in spite of what would normally cause you to worry? As you focus on the positives, you may begin to see what God wants to show you at this otherwise stressful time.

What is the one (or more) reason(s) you will go worry-free this year? Your reasons for worry are simply your catalysts for trust.

See my newest book, 10 Secrets to Becoming a Worry-Free Mom, to help you trust God with what is closest to your heart.

Do you ever worry about finding someone? Keeping someone? Marrying someone?

As Valentine’s Day approaches, you or someone you know might be wondering if God has forgotten about you when it comes to a love relationship in your life. But God is even more concerned about your relationship status than you are.

God gave us relationships to mirror the kind of relationship He wants to have with each of us (Ephesians 5:30-32). So He wants our relationships to be healthy and God-honoring. He gives us friendships, so we can understand unconditional love. He designed the marriage relationship, so we can understand the concept of dying to self and giving of oneself completely to another. He has given us parent-child relationships, so we can understand the fierce, protective love that won’t falter regardless of what our children do.

But I truly believe God wants us to cultivate an intimate relationship with Him above any other so we can know where to begin in cultivating relationships with others. If we don’t know how to love and be loved by God, we’ll suffer in our other relationships.

God tells us to seek His kingdom first and all these other things we are concerned about will fall into place (Matthew 6:33). So, if you are seeking Him and still wondering why He has left you single, let me encourage you with these 5 reasons you don’t need to worry about love:
1. God may be protecting you from something you can’t yet (and might not ever) see.
2. God may be waiting for the right time to bring someone far better into your life than you had thought to ask for.
3. God realizes you may be far happier and content now than if you DID have someone in your life. (Yes, it’s true. Some people are actually more miserable after marrying than before.)
4. God knows He is the Only One who can fulfill you completely. So He may be keeping you where you are until you know what it means to be complete in His love.
5. God promises that He works ALL things (relationships included) for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).

Can you trust that God knows best when it comes to sharing your heart? Then, as Philippians 4:6 instructs:

“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.”

As you do this, you can go boldly into Valentine’s Day, knowing your relationship status is “fully loved” when it comes to God.

For more on living a worry-free life, see my new book, 10 Secrets to Becoming a Worry-Free Mom, now available in my online store.

What if I told you that breaking the worry habit is easier than you think?

Last week I gave you the ABCs to start your journey of being worry-free:

  • Admit you and I are not in control.
  • Believe God only wants the best for you
  • Commit yourself to a deeper knowledge of God.
    This week I have the next few letters of the alphabet to help you apply Philippians 4:6 to your life and not worry about anything, but instead pray about everything.
  • Depend on God to do what you can’t. Worry says “I must handle this myself.” But trust says “God, only You can truly work this through.”Leave it in His hands and watch the worry and stress fade away.
  • Expect Him to come through for you. Philippians 4:6 instructs us to not worry about anything, but instead pray about everything, thanking God for all He has done. That tells me we should be thanking God ahead of time for all we are trusting Him to do on our behalf. That is faith…the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1).
  • Focus on the truth, not the “what-ifs.” The truth is “with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26, NASB). The truth is He will never leave us nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). The what-ifs are the scenarios our mind conjures up when we forget the truth of Who God is and what He is capable of.

This week I am depending on God to do through me what is beyond me. I am expecting Him to come through in the amazing way that Only He can. And I am focusing on the truth of WHO He is and WHAT He can do, rather than the what if scenario as if there were no God in control.

What are you depending on God to do, in particular, this week, this month, or this year? Let me know in the comment section below so I can join you in praying and trusting, rather than worrying.

I’m tired of sweating the small stuff. And stressing about the large stuff. And worrying about whatever is in between.
So, now that it’s a brand new year, my goal is simple and certain: To worry about nothing – and pray about everything.
It’s practical advice that comes from the Bible, yet it’s so difficult to apply at times.
Philippians 4:6-7 tells us:

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.

And the next verse tells us the result of not worrying, but choosing to pray about our concerns instead:

Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

Worry prematurely ages us. And stress, literally, kills. But more than wanting to protect my health, I want God to be pleased with my life and to worry is the opposite of faith. To worry or stress about something is to say to God –and others – that I don’t believe He is capable of taking care of all that concerns me.
In light of my upcoming book, Ten Secrets to Becoming a Worry-Free Mom (releasing March 1 from Harvest House Publishers), I want to be a woman who doesn’t worry about ANYTHING in my life, regardless of what comes my way.
As I point out in my new book, we don’t worry because of our circumstances. We worry because of who we are. And worrying – whether it’s about our children, our husbands, our aging parents, or our friends – doesn’t show how much we love another person, but how little we know God.
So, this is what I’m practicing every day this year – The ABCs to not worrying about the things that would ordinarily weigh us down. And I’m asking you to join me in this quest.

  • A – Admit you (and I) are not in control. It’s that easy. God can handle it. We cannot.
  • B – Believe God only wants the best for you. To release our lives and loved ones into God’s hands we must trust God and His character. We must believe He is good, He is loving, and He is so much wiser than we are. That means if He allows something we don’t understand, we trust Him, rather than worry that He got it wrong.
  • C – Commit yourself to a deeper knowledge of God. I’m a firm believer that if we want to improve any relationship in our lives, we must first grow in our relationship with God. As we get to know Him more intimately, we can trust Him with all that concerns us. And then, instead of being worriers (who focus on the negative and what could go wrong), we can be encouragers. How well you and I trust God is directly connected to how well you and I know Him. So, simply said, I want to know Him more.

So, will you share with me this goal to get to know this great, loving, capable God even better this year? If so, let me know in the comment section below. I’ll be right alongside you…encouraging you each step of the way.

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