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If you are dreading Valentine’s Day you are not alone.

Every year I talk with women, read loads of emails, and even receive hand-written letters from women who are lonely in love, disappointed from unmet expectations, or simply tired of the loneliness they feel on a day designed to celebrate love.

Whether you’re single, married, divorced, or widowed, you may feel like a woman who walks alone. But there is One who knows your heart inside and out, and knows exactly how to fill it with joy when nothing else satisfies.

Scripture tells us Jesus our High Priest is one who can sympathize with our weaknesses (Hebrews 4:15). Not only can He help us when we are being tempted because He was tempted too, but He can relate to our sorrows because He lived life on this earth, as well. And because He is God and knows us inside out (Psalm 139), I believe He also understands a broken heart, a lonely heart, and an empty heart.

So take heart. You have a God who can meet your emotional needs because He knows you intimately and invites you to pour out your heart before Him (Psalm 62:8).

Here is a “pour it out” prayer for the lonely on Valentine’s Day. Say it from your heart and share it with someone who needs to know she is loved.

Lord God, You are the Creator of love and the Author of romance. It was all Your idea in the first place. And therefore, You understand more than anyone else when I feel I am lacking in what others seem to have in abundance.

Thank You that You understand the deep desire of my heart for companionship, emotional fulfillment, and physical and emotional intimacy. You made me with a desire to be fully known and loved by another. Help me to see that You know me fully, and understand me more than any other. Comfort me with that assurance on the days when I wish I had someone physically – or emotionally – close to me.

Even though You, Lord, can at any time change my circumstances in order to fill the void in my heart, for some reason You have chosen not to. Help me to trust You with what You are withholding from me, perhaps so I will draw closer to You and rely on You more for what I need (Psalm 84:11). Help me to trust You during the times that your “no” is protecting me from what I don’t yet see. Help me to hold onto hope that You really do have my best in mind and Your wisdom is far above mine.

On this day that so many celebrate love, help me to celebrate Your love for me, with a deep knowledge that You love me more than any person on this earth ever will. Help me to find joy in that as I wait for Your best for me. Help me to see Your love for me in every flower that blooms, feel it in every warm ray of sunshine, hear it in every pure and right love song, and experience it in every good and perfect gift I receive (James 1:17).

Thank You that You have searched me and You know me (Psalm 139:1) and that nothing is hidden from You.

Lord, I love that You know all about me. And when You see desires of mine that are not fully in line with Yours, You do not toss me aside. You, instead, send friends my way to love me back to You. You send songs my way that remind me of where I need to be in my relationship with You. You send words my way that remind me that You are the One who opens Your hand and satisfies the desire of every living thing (Psalm 145:16). Lord, take any longing that lies within me that is unhealthy and replace it with a stronger desire for You. And because You tell me to “come boldly to the throne of grace” (Hebrews 4:16, NKJV) and tell You all that is on my heart, I will not try to hide anything from You. I want to experience intimacy with You the way an honest, transparent love relationship was meant to be experienced.

Thank You, Lord, that You see it all and You love me just the same.

“All my longings lie open before You, O Lord; my sighing is not hidden from you” (Psalm 38:9). You know what I long for and what disappoints me. Comfort me on those days when I feel disappointed and hurt by what this world has to offer. Help me to remember that You are the only Perfect Love and the One I must keep my eyes upon. Thank You for Your demonstration of sacrificial love for me and remind me that no one on earth could express that kind of love toward me. You truly are the One I must seek above any other.

May the prayer of the Psalmist be mine today:

“Satisfy  [me] in the morning with your unfailing love, that [I] may sing for joy and be glad all [my] days” (Psalm 90:14).

 

 

About 16 months ago I posted a blog called  “5 Things God Will Never Say as You Hand Him Your Concerns.”

You were encouraged to find out that God’s response will never be:

1. You’ve got this yourself.
2. I 
really don’t want to hear about it.
3.
You don’t need Me.
4.
Sorry, it’s impossible.
5.
I don’t want to do anything for you

(Click on that link above and you can get the details on why you’ll never hear those responses.)

Now, here are 4 more things God will never say when we trust Him with our problems, rather than worry:

  • I’m sorry. When we tell others our concern, they can sympathize with us. They might even be a contributor to what concerns us, in which case they might apologize. But we have a God who makes no mistakes. All His ways are perfect  (Deut. 32:4). So He is a God who literally never has to say He’s sorry.
  • I had no idea. There is nothing You can tell God that will take Him by surprise. Nothing will shock Him or disappoint Him or change the way He feels about you. Read Psalm 139 – in its entirety — as a refresher course in how familiar God is with all of your ways. (“O Lord, You have searched me and known me.…Even before there is a word on my tongue…You know it all….”) Don’t ever think you’re telling God something in prayer that He doesn’t already know.
  • I’ll pray for you.  This is often a believer’s response when we share our struggles. And it’s great to have friends who will remember to actually pray for us, after telling us they will. The wonderful thing about telling God our concerns is that He is already at work in our circumstances (Romans 8:28-29). So, rather than saying “I”ll pray for you,” God’s response is “I’ve got you!”
  • I wish I could help. Most of the people we confide in really are helpless when it comes to eliminating, fixing, or solving our concern. They can offer comfort, support, and encouragement but that’s about it. God is the Only One who really can help. Listen to the song writer’s words in Psalm 121:

My help comes from the Lord,
    the Maker of heaven and earth.

 He will not let your foot slip—
    he who watches over you will not slumber;

 The Lord watches over you—
    the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
 the sun will not harm you by day,
    nor the moon by night.

 The Lord will keep you from all harm—
    he will watch over your life;
 the Lord will watch over your coming and going
    both now and forevermore (verses 2-3, 5-8).

The Lord really is our Helper. And if it appears He’s doing nothing about your concern, He is either waiting for the perfect time to come through for you or He is working something far better for you than you can imagine.

Can you trust Him with your concerns today?

For more on God’s tender heart toward you, see my devotional  God’s Whispers to a Woman’s Heart, and read a sample page on my website.

Do you ever feel like God isn’t answering your prayers?

I heard from a reader recently who asked “How long am I supposed to pray if God continues to ignore me?”

It might feel like God is ignoring you when He doesn’t answer your prayers immediately or in the way you’re hoping. But Scripture offers us insights as to why God might appear to be silent.

One verse that I’ve found most helpful in my own life – when it comes to unanswered prayer – is Psalm 84:11, in which the Psalmist said “No good thing will [God] withhold from those who walk uprightly.” I find three principles (and loads of encouragement) in this verse for why God might not be answering my prayer or yours.

  1. God’s idea of a “good thing” might be different than yours. You might be praying for a husband, a job you’ve been hoping for, or to win the lottery. Why would God not give you any or all of the three? Because even though you might feel it’s good for you to be married, or to be working in a job you like, or to have more money, God’s opinion might differ. Just because something makes us happy doesn’t mean it’s good for us, eternally. And God has our eternal best in mind.

 In Matthew 7:11 Jesus said:

“If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him?”

We want our children to be happy, but not at the expense of their health, and therefore we don’t give them candy at every meal. We want them to hold down a good job, but we won’t do that job for them because learning responsibility and the consequences of a bad decision are more healthy and good for them in the long run. Trust that God, your Heavenly Father, knows what is best for you. And while you may be heartbroken at His “no,” He may very well be sparing you a bigger heartache down the road.

  1. God is waiting for you to be obedient. Scripture exhorts husbands to be considerate of their wives and treat them with respect so that their prayers aren’t hindered (1 Peter 3:7). And Psalm 84:11 says “no good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly.” Are you walking uprightly? Is your life not only obedient, but surrendered to Him? If not, God may be withholding or refusing to acknowledge your prayers to get you back into line with His will and purposes.
  1. It isn’t the right time. God has three answers. Yes, no, and wait. Because He can see what’s eternally best for us, and He can also see what’s coming down the road (and we can’t), trust His judgment. Don’t second guess Him. His timing is always better than yours. If you are walking uprightly and what you’re asking for is truly a good thing then, according to Psalm 84:11, God is not withholding after all. It just isn’t time.
  1. You aren’t asking in faith. How we pray is just as important as what we pray for. In  James 1:5-8 we are told:

“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.”

Furthermore, Hebrews 11:6 says,

“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”

So ask in faith and without hesitation or doubting. God may be waiting for you to truly believe He can do what you are asking for.

  1. God has something better for you than what you are asking for. This is my favorite reason for why God says “no” but we so often forget to consider it. Because He is good and knows what’s eternally best for us, and doesn’t want us to settle, God sometimes says no or closes a door because He has something better for us that we haven’t even thought to ask for. He is One who can do “immeasurably more” than all we can ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20). Trust His timing. Trust His “no.” And trust His idea of what is eternally best for you. He really is a good father.

Do you believe that?

Do you know what it’s like to feel disappointed in God?

You’ve prayed. You’ve been faithful and obedient. You’ve sincerely wanted God’s best, not yours. And then “God’s best” turned out to be something that didn’t feel best for you after all.

You’re not alone in that disappointment. And God hasn’t forgotten about you.

For the past three years, my family has experienced its share of disappointments. My husband, a pastor who served faithfully for 20 years, stepped out of the senior pastorate for what we believed would be a one-year sabbatical, after which time he would transition into whatever God had for him next. And that one year turned into two, and then into three, and then, just as we were bracing ourselves for another disappointing year, a door cracked open. And that door actually stayed open long enough for him to walk through and experience life on the “other side of disappointment” once again.

And the words that keep coming to my mind and heart — as I reflect on the past three years of asking, waiting, complaining, repenting, and asking again — are never forgotten.

While you may feel disappointed this Christmas because of a lost love, a lost job, a lost opportunity, a hurtful betrayal, or a wayward child, you are not forgotten. Disappointed at life, perhaps, but never forgotten.

Here is a prayer I prayed in the disappointment. And I can pray it again now as I reflect on His perfect timing. I trust it will bring peace to your heart as you continue to ask and wait for your God to come through.

Lord, Jesus, I thank You for what You are doing in and around my life. Not because I feel good about it, but because Your Word commands me to “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). I truly want Your will in my life, but I want Your grace and Your wisdom to not only recognize it, but to accept it and be grateful for it, as well.

I know You are in control of all things. I know You are the giver of “every good and perfect gift” (James 1:17). And yet for some reason You have chosen not to give me what I am asking for at this time. Your Word says You are “a sun [to light my way] and shield [to protect me from harm]” and that “no good thing” will You withhold from those whose walk is blameless (Psalm 84:11). Therefore, I choose to believe You are still good even when You withhold something from me and I don’t understand why. I choose to believe You are still loving, and You are still protecting me in the midst of what still feels disappointing.

Lord, at this time of the year when people are focused on giving, help me to remember that You have given me the greatest gift I could ever receive – salvation through my faith in Your Son, Jesus. And because of that great gift of Your Son, I also have peace, comfort, provision, and many blessings I might have missed because I was focused on the disappointments and the letdowns instead.

Thank You for all the days You have heard my cries, seen my tears, and worked behind the scenes in my life when I didn’t even realize it. Thank You for the many times you have walked before me or alongside me, “though your footprints were not seen” (Psalm 77:19).

Thank You for the air I breathe, for the ways I am healthy, for the fact that as disappointing as life has been, it could be far worse. Thank You for the people in my life who have reached out to me and been the arms of Jesus to embrace me, the hands of Jesus to serve me, and the mouth of Jesus to provide words of comfort. Thank You, that even on days when I received none of that, You were still there, speaking to me through your Word, through the circumstances in my life, and through Your quiet whispers on my heart.

As Christmas approaches, help me to love and serve others around me from a heart that loves You and trusts You no matter what has happened, and no matter what lies ahead. Thank You that my hope is not in my circumstances, nor in the odds, nor in “luck,” nor in others; my hope is in You (Psalm 62:5). “My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth” (Psalm 121:2). “For you have been my hope, Sovereign Lord, my confidence since my youth” (Psalm 71:5).

And Lord, in the midst of my disappointment, don’t let my heart grow bitter and don’t let me begin to doubt Your love and presence. In these difficult times, “May integrity and uprightness protect me, because my hope, Lord, is in you” (Psalm 25:21). May I be a light to others this Christmas season as I focus on Who You are, and may my heart of gratitude and faith in Your unseen promises please Your heart. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Let me know if you’ve prayed this prayer so I can pray for you, too. Merry Christmas, my friend, you are not forgotten.

Feeling discouraged? Tired? Physically or emotionally run down?

It happens — from life, lost love, disappointments, and an overloaded schedule.

And God understands those days. I believe that’s why He included some encouraging songs in the Bible that remind us we’re not the only ones who have felt down and complained to Him about it.

In Psalm 6, David was experiencing an emotional low. He apparently felt discouraged, defeated, and overwhelmed. Physically, he was wasting away. He’d been running from his enemies too long and he was exhausted. Spiritually, he was dismayed and thought God had forgotten him. Emotionally, he was depressed and feeling ready to give up. I’d say David was running on empty!

Listen to his cry for help:

“Be merciful to me, LORD, for I am faint;
O LORD, heal me, for my bones are in agony.
My soul is in anguish.
How long, O LORD, how long?
I am worn out from groaning….” (Psalm 6:2-3, 6a)

Do you ever feel that way? I do. When I’m over-extended, and I’ve pushed myself beyond the limits and I’m feeling physically and emotionally rundown. When I’ve reached burnout.

David was originally focused on his feelings. But then he focused on the facts to bring him out of his depressed and run-down state. Look at what happened when he started to remember the facts about God:

“Away from me, all you who do evil,
for the LORD has heard my cry for mercy;
The LORD accepts my prayer.
All my enemies will be ashamed and dismayed;
They will turn back in sudden disgrace.” (verses 8-10)

What caused the dramatic shift in how David felt? He got his focus. It wasn’t about how he was feeling. It was about the God who was going to take care of him. When he remembered the facts about God, his feelings waned and he got the energy and confidence he needed to get through his situation.

This is what David discovered by focusing on the facts about God, rather than his feelings:
• He may have felt like he was forgotten, but the fact is that God knew his case.
• He may have felt that God wasn’t listening to Him, but the fact is that God in Heaven heard his cry.
• He may have felt that God had rejected him, but the fact is that God had accepted and acted upon his prayer.

What About You?

You, my friend, may feel rundown and defeated, like you can’t do one more thing but the fact is that you can do “everything through him who gives (you) strength” (Phil. 4:13).

You may feel you’re up against a no-win situation, but the fact is that “…with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26) and “Everything is possible for him who believes” (Mark 9:23).

You may feel like you’re at the end of your rope and you can’t do one thing more, but the fact is that “those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary (Isaiah 40:31).

By waiting on God (that doesn’t take a lot of energy, by the way), you’ll gain new strength to rise up, walk, and even run.

Switch your focus right now onto God…the One who hears your cry and helps you.

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.

 

 

Darcy is rejoicing at God's touch

Darcy, far right, with her family.

I wonder how often you and I have received God’s touch, but we never knew it was Him.

In response to my recent blog “Three Ways to Hear God’s Voice,” I heard from Darcy, a beautiful woman I met several years ago and with whom I shared a heart connection.

Darcy informed me she is battling stage 4 colon cancer! She said she is hearing from God “very, very clearly” and she shared with me her recent experience of receiving God’s touch.

Her story slammed my life into perspective once again and I’m sharing it with you, with her permission, to encourage you that God knows when we most need to hear His voice and feel His healing touch.

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Tips on Hearing God's VoiceCould you use some tips for more effectively hearing God’s voice?

This week I asked Author Leighann McCoy to share her insights on how you can develop your listening skills when it comes to hearing God’s voice. You can also win one of ten books she is giving away at the end of the blog so stay tuned:

Leighann, author of A Woman’s Guide to Hearing God’s Voice, says:

Like Cindi, I too have been a follower of Christ since I was a girl.  And even though I’ve written a book on the subject, I still find it difficult to hear God’s voice.

Sometimes I strain my ears and hear nothing at all.

And sometimes I can’t distinguish the voice of God from the other voices I hear in my head.

One time I “heard” God tell me that I was pregnant and I was having a baby boy. A few weeks later I discovered that I was indeed pregnant! But a few weeks after that I found out my baby was a girl. I was partly hearing God’s voice and partly hearing my own wishful thinking.

It’s not that hard to hear God’s voice, but it’s not that easy either. Cindi encouraged us to listen to God’s whispers. I call those whispers His “still small voice.”

(I’ve put together a bonus resource at the end of this post that includes a link to a message on hearing God’s still small voice and 4 reliable tests to distinguish His voice from others.)

The key to hearing God’s “still small voice” is learning how to listen. Here are four tips for effective listening.

  1. Pay attention.

It kind of goes without saying, and yet we rush into our quiet times, read our Bibles, talk to God about what we want Him to do for us then off we go.

What if you…

  • Read your Bible
  • Asked God to speak to you
  • And then sat still?

Try it! Start small.

I began with 2 minutes. My mind wandered and I considered the “nothingness” a possible “waste” of precious time. But, after a few days I realized that I was beginning to hear God “whisper.”

  1. Shut out distractions.

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How to hear God's voiceDo you hear God’s voice? Or can you say you even know how to listen for Him?

Much confusion exists today about what it looks — or rather “sounds” like — to hear God’s voice. Especially if you’re waiting for the bright lights or a booming voice.

Many of us talk to the Lord often and just want to hear Him talk back now and then. But sometimes we aren’t sure how He’s going to do it. We’re not certain what to listen for.

In the more than 40 years since I’ve given my life to Jesus Christ, I have never experienced an encounter with Him in which there was an audible voice, a thundering from heaven, a burning bush, or a rushing wind. It was usually a still small voice that gave me an inner peace, a loving rebuke that changed my ways, the written Word of God that pierced my heart, or a sense of calling and direction that wouldn’t let me be until I followed.

God speaks in various ways by the Holy Spirit to those in relationship with His Son — through His Word (the Bible), through prayer (and what He lays on our hearts to pray for), through circumstances in our life, and through the church (godly advice from believers). And in my experience, I would have to say that He has spoken most clearly when I’ve been the most obedient, the most in need of comfort, and for the most part, taking the time to really listen.

Do you long to hear God speaking to you on a regular basis? Here are some ways you can fine-tune your hearing so you don’t miss Him and what He wants to say:

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Simple steps to peaceHave you ever wondered what to do when peace seems elusive?

Three women emailed me recently to ask how they can find peace.

One is struggling with an ex husband who won’t pay child support. Another lost her job. And a third is waiting upon God for a husband.

Like joy, which at times feels elusive, peace is not about our circumstances. Peace is about leaning into the One who controls our circumstances, and trusting that He knows exactly what He’s allowing.

Philippians 4:6-7 tells us how we can experience peace regardless of our circumstances:

“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 (NLT).”

Did you notice the three-step formula for peace that is found within that verse?

Step 1: Don’t worry about anything. God’s Word tells us straight-out not to stress, worry, or be fearful in any situation. Instead we are to…

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Did you know there are at least 7 things we never need to worry about? ‘

As I’ve grown older, I’ve made it a point to not waste a day worrying about something I can’t control.

I wish I’d had that mindset when I was younger. How many days have I wasted, how many stomach aches could I have spared, how much less stress could I have had if I’d remembered that the One who controls all things has my back and has my situation under perfect control?

Let me take this time to remind you — and encourage you — of the things you, too, never need to worry about if you are trusting in the One who can do all things:

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If God is saying “no” to your prayers for a child, I can understand if Mother’s Day hurts.

I remember the hurt and confusion I felt many years ago as I was asking God for a second child. Although I didn’t understand why He was withholding a baby from me — while many women around me seemed to be getting pregnant whether they wanted to or not — God had His reasons and His purposes, that I have realized through the years.*

While my first reaction was to question God, I now realize there was wisdom in His withholding.

While your discovery of His reasons and purposes might still be down the road for you, let me encourage your heart with these three truths:read more

Add subtitle textMy 3-year-old nephew, Escher, was praying for our breakfast just as we were about to go into Disneyland.

“Dear Disneyland Jesus,

Thank you for this food and for our day and for keeping us safe and healthy.

Amen.”

Escher had been known to address God as “Dinosaur Jesus” after spending a day at the “Walking with Dinosaurs” exhibit and being enthralled with his new discovery. And on days when he learned his Cousin Dana would be taking him into Disneyland again, his prayers were directed once again to “Disneyland Jesus.”

I couldn’t help but smile and think that little Escher was simply transferring the excitement of the blessing he was about to experience to the Blesser who was allowing it. I commented to his mom shortly after,

“Escher knows Jesus is Lord of the Dinosaurs and Lord over Disneyland, as well!!”

Call me one to spiritualize everything, but Little Escher’s prayer got me thinking. How easy it is for us, like a child, to pray to “Disneyland Jesus” — the giver of all good things. How wonderful, also, to pray to “Dinosaur Jesus” — who allows us the adventure of discovering new things.

But how we, as adults, struggle in the not-so-exciting times, in the downright painful times, to pray “Dear Heartache Jesus” or “Dear Cancer Jesus” or “Dear Death-of-a- Loved One Jesus.” And yet, He is Lord over the disappointing days as well as the Disneyland days.

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Blog quote - difficultWhat seems impossible that you are waiting upon God to accomplish?

While we can easily be hating the waiting, I encourage you to embrace the adventure of waiting upon God for your “impossible.” When we are in the midst of waiting, God is often in the midst of doing His best work.

When God told 99-year-old Abraham that his 90-year-old wife would conceive and bear a child — within a year — his wife laughed at the possibility.

But it wasn’t just a possibility. It was a promise. And God wasn’t smiling at Sarah’s reception of his promise as a joke.

God’s response to her unbelief was:

“Is anything too difficult for the Lord?” (Genesis 18:14).

God seems to specialize in doing the difficult, arranging the impossible, accomplishing the unfathomable. The only problem is, we don’t like being in the portion of His project where everything still looks difficult, impossible, and unfathomable. Yet, while we’re waiting, God is building in us a dependence on Him and a better idea of what it means to trust in His timing.

Here are some of the “impossibles” that I’m waiting upon God for right now:

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GSTquote10Are you wondering why God won’t answer a particular prayer of yours?

A question I’ve been hearing a lot lately is “Why pray? It seems futile. God isn’t doing anything about it.”

My how we hate the silence, and yet God does some of His best work in the quiet.

If you’ve been asking God to bless a certain area of your life, or you’re just feeling that He doesn’t hear you or doesn’t answer, let me offer you three things to think about:

1) God is under no obligation to bless anything that is not surrendered to Him.

We get the idea that because we pray, God is obligated to answer. Yes, God is good. Yes, He is loving. But His promises and blessings are to those who are obedient to Him (Psalm 5:12). We must be careful we don’t confuse God’s unconditional love with unconditional blessing. God makes it very clear throughout Scripture that there are requirements for His blessings (Psalm 1; 2 Corinthians 1:20):

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MTL-CindiMcMenamin-610x305With the holidays coming, it’s easy to get stressed, so all the more reason to be a person of gratitude rather than bad attitude.

I’ve found in my own life, that when I’m praising God in the pain — or just thanking Him during the mundane — it helps me become a person of gratitude in any circumstance. And that keeps me healthier and happier, over all.

Here are some simple prayers you can begin saying now to practice gratitude when the bad attitude starts seeping in to steal your joy, harm your relationships, and attack your health: (You might also want to read a few of these around your Thanksgiving dinner table this year.)

Thank you, God, for unanswered prayer. It reminds me that You know what’s best for me, even  when my opinion differs from Yours.

Thank You, Lord, for the things you have withheld from me. You have protected me from what I may never realize.

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Do you ever stumble upon something from years ago and find that it still touches you today?

I recently found an old  journal I kept during my high school and college years and discovered that what I wrote about my God 30 years ago still applies to His character today.

That tells me that although our situations change throughout the years our God never does.Though we may have forgotten certain heartaches or experiences in which we needed Him, He has not.

I hope this is a gentle reminder to you, too, that His love for you is still constant, His forgiveness is still faithful, and with all that you’ve been through, He is still the Friend who sticks closer than a brother:

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You are not alone when you feel discouraged because it seems like God isn’t answering your prayers. Even if it appears that God is silent, He is still there, still listening to your prayers, and still working out the details of your life, as you surrender to Him.  girlpraying

In this video interview with Crosswalk.com, I share with you how God can do amazing things with our disappointments and things we don’t understand — like unanswered prayer.

Watch my 3 1/2-minute video and be encouraged about what happens When  God Sees Your Tears.  And then pass this on to a friend or family member who needs this encouragement.  Watch now.

question_markWhy even pray if it seems like God’s not there?

Do you ever find yourself thinking that?

I know what it’s like to ask God for something and to keep waiting for an answer. It’s easy sometimes to wonder if He’s listening at all.

But I’m also convinced that God sees our story from beginning to end and He knows exactly what He is preparing us for while we’re waiting on Him….even if we can’t imagine He’s doing anything on our behalf.

If you’re in the frustrating phase of trying to get God’s ear, I want to share with you, from my new book, When God Sees Your Tears, three sources of hope for you to hold onto during this time when God appears silent:

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