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Every time I write a book about something, God makes sure I learn it first.

So what was my lesson behind writing my book, Drama Free Actually, God made me learn that one AFTER I’d written the book — two days, in fact, before the book released.

I got up one morning to discover flooding in my garage and water seeping up from my living room carpet in our entryway.

It was a leak in the  water pipe underneath our kitchen  slab! A team of water mitigation specialists came over and set fans out on our carpet,  peeled back our kitchen linoleum,  tore out our cupboards to check for mold on the floor boards,  and then a plumber came over to begin a reroute of the lines underneath our slab to put them in the walls so there would be no more slab leaks.

Suddenly there were eleven holes punched into the drywall in our home. Some in the kitchen ceiling, some in the bathroom, some in the entry way above the front door. In addition, our kitchen was covered in plastic during this reconstruction mess.

To our mischievous kitten, Mowgli, some strange men entered our home and built him a brand new personal playground.  Mowgli immediately began to explore  those holes in the wall, running through the ceiling rafters and making us think he was lost and couldn’t find his way out. We tried taping up the holes with large pieces of plastic, but Mowgli found a way to enter the forbidden areas. Each time we left the house and came back again it was a desperate search to find Mowgli whom we could hear overhead, but could not find!

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Are you someone who is constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop? Do you find it’s easier to expect the worst than the best? Do you find yourself fearful that God won’t really come through for you?

As women, our fears range from living out our lives alone, to not being able to have children, to losing our jobs or homes or someone close to us. Often,  our fears are rooted in a misunderstanding of who God really is. Depending on your upbringing, you may see God as the One who seeks to pay you  back for mistakes you’ve made in the past. Or, maybe you see Him as One who will think good and hard before coming to your aid when you find you are in need. But God isn’t an angry god with a vengeance to get back at you. He’s the God who loves you and wants your love and trust in return.

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” (NIV, emphasis added).

God wants your faith — not your fear — that He really can come through for you. But in order to have faith in Him, you must know who He is and be convinced He’s trustworthy. So let me give you two steps that will help you get to know — and love — this God you no longer need to fear.

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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.

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.

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.

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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“Where is God when it hurts?” “Doesn’t He care?” “Why would He let this happen?”

Those are questions I often hear from women who are in the midst of suffering. A betrayal, an illness or injury, a devastating disappointment — they can all make us feel that God has been negligent.

And I understand.

It’s easy to believe that God doesn’t care about us when we’re experiencing pain.   But a closer examination of Scripture tells us that God is intimately acquainted with the events of our lives. In fact, in many situations in my life and in the lives of women I know, He is the One who has protected and comforted, in spite of the pain we have endured.

If you are believing right now that God wasn’t there or didn’t care about you (or you know someone who is feeling that way right now) consider these truths from Psalm 139:

  • God intimately examines you, not to find your faults, but to know all about you (verse 1).
  • He knows where you hang out, what time you get up in the morning, and what you’re thinking before the thought even comes your way. Not only are you noticed, you are constantly watched over (verse 2).
  • He familiarizes Himself with everything you do. He is not only familiar with your ways of doing things, He has them memorized (verse 3).
  • He knows what you’re going to say before you even say it (verse 4).
  • He places hedges around you to keep you safe. In other words, God hovers over you (verse 5).
  • He won’t let you wander out of His sight. He is aware of everywhere you go. And He sticks to you like glue (verses 7-12).

God is there. He is aware. And He does care.  And if He’s allowed something painful in your life, He has a reason. And He promises that reason is for something eternally good that you might not see this side of heaven (Romans 8:28-29).

Think about something painful that has happened in your life and something good that you now have because of it. As you do, you may find yourself saying, “Aha. God was there. He does care. And He is still working His plan in my life.”

I would love to hear from you in the comment section below about where you found God in your painful situation …and what blessings are now yours because you have gone through that pain. And if you’re still in that place of hurt, let me know how I can pray for you and help shoulder that load.

 

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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Sometimes we have to choose joy, not wait for it to find us.It’s been one of those weeks. A week in which I had to choose joy.

A week in which it seemed like every time I turned around there was another unexpected expense, more disappointing news, and what appeared to be another setback.

“Really, God?” I said at the end of the week, exasperated. “Can You give me a break?”

I happened to be putting together teaching material that week for an upcoming women’s retreat that was themed “Choose Joy.” Suddenly it became apparent to me that I was not choosing joy in the midst of my circumstances. I was, instead, letting my circumstances control my life and my attitude.

I remembered a verse I’d memorized as a teenager. One that God seemed to be whispering in my ear:

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Are you ready for 4  more things you never have to worry about?

I asked you last week to let me know what keeps you awake at  night and, based on your responses (and what I know of God’s trustworthy Word) here is another list of 4 things God can control a lot better than you and I can:

1. You never need to worry about being ignorant or relying on your own thinking. God’s wisdom is there for the askingJames 1:5-6 says:

If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind (NLT).

So,  ask God for wisdom and ask for it by faith in Him alone. And as you apply Proverbs 3:5-6, He will straighten the way for you:

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question_markDo you ever find yourself questioning God?

Why now, God? Couldn’t You have waited another week or so?

Why her, Lord? Couldn’t you have let it happen to someone else?

Why this, God? Couldn’t you have gotten my attention in some other way?

I found myself questioning God when something my husband and I had hoped for didn’t turn out the way we had expected or prayed. And God’s answer, from His Word, reminded me again Who is in control:

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts.

Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord.

“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than   your ways,

and My thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9, NASB).

That was God’s gentle way of telling me that He has a bigger picture that is above and beyond anything that I can see right now. And so I am asked to trust Him.

God sees our entire story in the spiritual realm that we can’t yet comprehend. He has reasons that are far above our own because He is God and we are not. And we are asked to simply trust…

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Have you ever had a God encounter?

Let me rephrase that question. Have you ever had a week in which it seemed like nothing went right?

I used to wonder why that happened. Now I know better.

Now I realize that a cruddy week is often my glimpse of a God encounter. Because it’s a week in which I get to know Jesus just a little bit better.

Unfortunately, at least in my life, a God encounter is not a bright light, a loud voice from heaven or the sudden realization of a dream.

Nope. When God shows me more about Himself, it’s usually in those times that I truly need Him. Those times when I’m downright desperate for Him. Those times when nothing seems to go right.

For me it was a week that started off with disappointing news from a friend, a car repair that I couldn’t afford, and then a bad case of food-poisoning that had me wiped out, physically, for two days. It all occurred on a week that I really needed to get a lot of things done. And instead, I found myself on my knees (and flat on my back) talking to God.

It was then that I remembered a treasured truth from God’s Word.

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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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These are the questions that burned on the hearts of my readers this past year:

  • How do I know if that open door is from God?Yamanashi Prefecture, Japan. woman standing in doorway looking out at bright sunny day, view from behind and below
  • What do I do when I feel stuck?
  • How do I move on from the pain inflicted by my father?
  • How do I trust God when I really don’t understand what’s going on? 
  • When will God give me a husband?

You asked. And I answered. And since my answers to YOUR questions represented my  top 5 most popular blogs in 2014, I’m running the links here in case you missed any of them.

Be encouraged…and share this blog with a friend who needs encouragement, too.

Cindi’s Top Five Blogs of 2014:

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Admit it.blogquote-marriage3

You at one time believed God brought you and your husband together. That’s what you told others. And that’s why you married him. Yet, looking back…you were more concerned about what you would receive out of the relationship, than what you could give.

I did that, too.

It’s only natural. We think first of our needs, our happily ever after, our own selfish ambitions. But I truly believe God brings us together with another individual in marriage to show us, firsthand, what it means to exercise Christ-like love and become more like Christ in our everyday lives.  That being said, those days when you and I are “fed up” with our husband are the days we need to die to self and say “God, how can I serve him? How can I be the wife he needs me to be, rather than focusing on his shortcomings?”

Wives frustrated with their husbands often ask me, out of desperation, what they should do. Two things:

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blog quote - husbandIt’s probably the one question I hear women ask more than any other. It is likely the biggest area of frustration for a large percentage of my readers. And it is definitely one of the most difficult questions for me to answer.

The question is “When will God give me a husband?”

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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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weddingphotoHugh&CindiThis week my husband and I will celebrate 26 years of marriage. More than two decades ago, we told each other “I do” in front of family and friends. And after all these years, Hugh is still putting up with me. 🙂

I could be all gushy and say “I can’t imagine my life without him,” but honestly speaking, sometimes I have imagined that. And those are the times I am reminded that marriage isn’t — and never has been — about me. It’s about the One who called me to live, work, and serve alongside this man to accomplish God’s will for His glory.

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