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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.

“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.

 

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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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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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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When my friend sent me a text upon learning her husband was diagnosed with colon cancer, I was surprised — yet encouraged — by her reaction:

“God’s got this,” she said confidently.

I want that type of unswerving trust in the One who can handle all things. And I know you do, too.

Last week I asked you what you worry most about so I could encourage you to trust God in those areas. Here is what you, my readers, said:

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GST6Do you know what it’s like to ask God for something and to keep receiving a “no”?

I do. Whether I was trying to get a book published, trying to have a second child, or trying to pry open a door of opportunity, every time I received a “no” it was discouraging. But looking back now, that “no” was really God saying “wait — I have something better for you, instead.”

Sometimes God’s “no” is because He’s protecting us from what we don’t yet see. Other times it’s because He is waiting to give us something far better than we requested.

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Admit it, there are parts of the Bible that are difficult to digest. Certain girlreadingbiblewords sting and can cause us to question our faith. I came across some of them as I was writing my book, When God Sees Your Tears.

In the Old Testament story of Hannah, I found staring at me, like a dagger, seven words about why Hannah could not conceive a child: because the Lord had closed her womb. Those seven words explain, but don’t really explain, Hannah’s misery. And within those seven disturbing words are four words that explain — or don’t really explain — the troubles we experience today, too: because the Lord had.

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You, too, may have heard it all your life. God is in complete control of everything.

But, oh how that rubs when the crud of life comes your way.

What do you tell a young woman who is pregnant with her first child when her husband of less than a year abandons her?

What do you tell the wife of a pastor who is shot dead on his church campus while serving the needs of his congregation on his day off?

What do you say to the woman who has served God all her life but now fights a fatal cancer that is eating away at her bones?

All three of those women talked with me recently about their unanswered questions. All three of them today have an intimacy with God that I long for. And all three of them are leaving a legacy…not just in their life but in the lives of others. They are proof of what happens when God sees your tears.

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Where is God in the story of your life? When God Sees Your Tears

  • collecting your tears in a bottle (Psalm 56:8).
  • recording every detail in His book.
  • weaving His plan and purpose into your circumstances.
  • building a legacy out of what you might feel is wasted time.

It’s difficult to imagine how God can have a purpose or happy ending to our life’s story when we’re right in the middle of discontent — longing for something more or missing something we once had. But God sees our story from beginning to end and He knows exactly what He’s preparing us for.

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Are you in a place where you are second-guessing God?God's Whispers to a Woman's Heart

How often we go to the Creator and Sustainer of Life and ask, “Why now?” “Why this?” “Why me?”

And His answer reminds us of 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).

God knows what He is doing — in your life and mine. He has a reason far above our own because He is God and we are not. And we are asked to simply trust:

  • that He is a God who “causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).
  • that “there is an appointed time for everything” (Ecclesiastes 3:1) and that means He didn’t get the timing wrong in the slightest.
  • that “His works are perfect….” (Deuteronomy 32:4) and He is a God who never makes mistakes, regardless of what we might think.
  • that He is a God who neither slumbers, nor sleeps (Psalm 121:3-4), meaning nothing takes Him by surprise.

Can you pray this with me this morning?

Lord, I will trust You even when it seems like my world is turning upside down. I know You are in  control and – because You are loving and good — You wouldn’t have things any other way.

(From God’s Whispers to a Woman’s Heart. Start your day listening for His whispers.)

 

womanlisteningHave you ever found yourself wondering Why doesn’t God speak to me?

Many of us talk to the Lord and just want to hear Him respond now and then. But sometimes we aren’t sure what to listen for.

In the four decades since I’ve given my life to Christ, I have never experienced an encounter with God 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 Him. 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? Then I recommend these three steps:

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Wouldn’t it be nice if life consisted only of pleasant surprises, not the disappointing ones?

The other day I received news that was gravely disappointing. I wasn’t woman-prayingprepared for it in the least. I was shocked, actually.

God had been on a roll with blessings in my life. I guess I’d gotten a little comfortable. And this disappointing news couldn’t have come at a worse time — a week before Christmas, just days after celebrating my daughter’s college graduation, and just a week prior to my husband’s transition into a new season of life that carried with it a lot of financial uncertainty.

My family was daily looking for the little assurances that God had our back and we were constantly praising Him for all the times He came through. And now, it looked like the door to my golden opportunity and financial stability had slammed shut. My first reaction, spoken aloud, was “God, this is so out of character for You.”

And then I suddenly realized something.

God doesn’t do anything out of character.

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I’ve heard many women, through the years, tell me their story of pain and frustration and ask “Where was God, anyway?” “How could He just stand by and let that happen?” “Didn’t He care?”

Have you ever asked found yourself asking those questions? If so, it’s possible you’ve been believing some lies.

In my book, When a Woman Overcomes Life’s Hurts,  I point out the third step to healing and wholeness: Reject the lie that God didn’t care about the hurt you experienced. read more

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