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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?

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.

Do you ever feel intimidated as a parent? If so you’re not alone.

I’m now a featured blogger at First Corinthians 13 Parenting and this morning  I’m offering some comfort and encouragement for those days you feel intimidated and not quite up to the task. For me, it started when my daughter was a teenager.

So, hop on over to the First Corinthians 13 Parenting blog this morning and find some comfort and encouragement meant just for you.

And please let me know what you think of my new friends over there. I KNOW you’ll find something on their site to minister to your heart today.

Read more about “When Parenting Looks Intimidating” HERE.

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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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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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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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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prayer-on-my-knees4I’m a firm believer that God knows exactly what He’s doing when He says “no” to our prayers, when He seems to wait before answering our prayers, or when it seems He isn’t listening at all.

Psalm 145:8-9 says: The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. The Lord is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made.”

That tells me that His graciousness, compassion, and love are at work — even in unanswered prayer. So here are seven reasons to thank God even when you’re not getting an answer – yet:

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When life gets messy, it’s easy to get stressed. Or angry. Or bitter.

But most of the time we’re in the middle of a mess, God wants to sharpen us, mold us, and transform us. So we might as well respond the way He desires so we can get out of the mess, don’t you think?

As I was writing my newest book, When God Sees Your Tears, I realized there’s lots of reasons to trust God in the middle of the mess. Stress kills, so save your health, pass the test, and please God by trusting Him in the middle of the mess.

Here are 6 reasons to trust, not stress, when you’re in the middle of the mess:

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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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praying_women_blackI’m sure you’ve heard some of these well-intentioned comments:

“At least you have a husband.”
“At least you already have a child.”
“You may not enjoy it, but at least you have a job.
“Well, at least you’re healthy.”
“At least you still have________________
“At least you don’t suffer with _____________”

Oh, the sting of well-intentioned remarks when there’s something more that is burdening your heart. And, oh the sting of those two guilt-ridden words: “At least….”

As I’ve ministered to women over the past 30 years, I have seen quite a few women settle for “at least” in their life. And yet, I believe that if God went to such great extremes to show His love for you and me by having His only Son die on the cross for us, then He did not intend for us to be content with “at least.”

Yes, God’s Word says we are to be thankful “in all circumstances” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). He also tells us that “godliness with contentment is great gain” (1 Timothy 6:6). But God doesn’t want our gratitude and contentment to be a form of resignation (“I guess I should be happy with this, since it’s all I will ever get anyway”). Rather, God wants His children to be full of anticipation for the “more” that He is so capable of giving — to the point that we thank Him ahead of time for all that He is about to do.

This God who tells us to be thankful in all things actually raises the bar when we decide to settle for less or at least what life brings us:

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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 tired of living on a battlefield? Does it seem like every time you turn around there’s an argument brewing?

As I was writing my book, When a Mom Inspires Her Daughter, I included some practical ways we can choose our battles wisely and also diffuse some battles so we’re not constantly in a warzone with our children. But I realized recently, that these peace-making principles can apply to ANY relationship. That’s probably because our battles can be intensified or diffused altogether based on how we — as wives, moms, and girlfriends — choose to react.

Whether you’re going head-to-head with your teenager, your husband, a friend, or a difficult family member, these steps can help you bring calm to an otherwise chaotic situation:

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Dream_book_cover_FJ3LI remember feeling very discouraged that I would never be able to live my dream.

My husband, a young Bible college graduate, had just turned down a job in a nice area of Orange County, CA where he would’ve worked as an associate pastor for the son in law of my favorite Christian author. That was supposed to be my connection, my “open door” into the world of Christian publishing. There went my quick ticket to realizing my dream.

But God often does something completely different than we expect when it comes to opening the door to our dream.

My husband, Hugh, instead took a pastoral job at a tiny church in an out-of-the way community on the back side of the desert.

For six years I wrote and taught women’s Bible studies at this tiny little church and wondered, at times, if God had forgotten about my dream to write books.

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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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