God Is Coming for You

God hasn’t forgotten you. In the middle of the storms raging in the world today, God still hears the quiet prayers of those calling out to Him. He still hears the tiniest of whispers calling out His name.

I believe He is listening for your voice. Today. Right now.

The enemy is going to try to magnify the darkness of the world, making it seem so large that you, your concerns, get swallowed up—like you’re whispering  into hurricane winds and your voice is too weak, small. You can shout, but no one will hear.

Satan wants you to lose all hope. He wants you to give up. Stop praying. Stop trying. Just give in. It’s useless. The world is one big mess, and you’re just one person. You can’t do anything to fix your own problems let alone the massive struggles of the world. Besides, God isn’t really listening to you and your little voice.

Rubbish. All of it.

God hears His children. Always. He never sleeps, so on those nights you can’t sleep, He calls you to curl up next to Him in the living room. When you’re in a meeting or in the middle of a conversation and you are in desperate need of guidance, God hears the silent prayers of your heart.

And when you are on your knees, sobbing into the carpet or standing during a church service and the tears are reaching clear down your neck, God stands beside you.

He sees the walls you’re trying to build again.  He knows why you built them before. He wants you to trust Him. Hand Him the bricks.

My dear friend, God is coming for you. He is going to rescue you. He is still the God of godly surprises and mighty rescues. Don’t think for even a minute that He doesn’t know how to reach you or how to get through to you. He created you. He knows you better than you know you.

He may come for you through the words of someone you haven’t seen in a long time—words that leave you standing in awe with more tears coming because you’ll see God has not forgotten you.

He may come for you through the mighty power of His Holy Spirit—speaking to you through your own mouth and the words He gives you. He may reach out to you from the pages of His Word—helping you to hear His voice clearer than before with eternal hope staring at you from words so profound and true they leave you trembling.

Or perhaps He will come for you, to love you and remind you He’s never going to leave you, through this very blog—so you will know His children are still out there in the world, in the storm, battling the darkness.

They are fighting for truth, for light, and for you. And more importantly:

God is fighting for you.

You are not alone. God is coming for you. Hold on.

“The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” (Exodus 14:14 NIV.)

“So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. For in just a very little while, ‘He who is coming will come and will not delay.’” (Hebrews 10:35-37 NIV.)

Photo from pexels.com.

Distraction

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I’ve finally emerged from the “hole” I’ve been in. I’m not talking about the claustrophobia-inducing crawl space I recently descended into to kill mold where I had to belly crawl and turn my head around backward (it felt like it!) to paint over those menacing monsters that were invading our helpless floorboards.

I’m talking about the hole of distraction. Actually, distractions are more like a swamp with all the slow-me-down squishes underfoot.

I know I’m not alone, hanging out in the quagmire of distraction. We’ve certainly got a lot of things tugging on us for our attention:  Covid-19, politics, masks vs. no masks, violence, shut-downs/cancellations, quarantining, fear, rioting, and wildfires. Just to name a few.

Throw in your own “stay-cation,” unusual family get-togethers (if any), summer DIY attempts, financial woes (lack of employment or decreased pay), and school worries (back in session or maybe it’s not or maybe it is but only online or partly online), and it’s enough to make your eyes jump around in your head wondering what to look at next.

It’s easy to get sidetracked or pulled in different directions with so much going on. It’s like you’re the only piece of candy left sitting in the street during the parade and a swarm of kids has spotted you.

But what about God? What happens to your relationship with Him when you’re so distracted by all that’s going on around you?

God speaks to you, to all of us, through His Word and His Holy Spirit. But when we’re distracted, we’re like a bunch of rubber-necking drivers so busy gawking out the window that we miss what He’s saying, and we wind up missing our turn.

We lose our way and before long, we run out of gas and start walking.

Hello, swamp.

It doesn’t take long for this murky place to zap us of our strength, peace, and joy—no one laughs when they’re knee-deep in the muck of being in the wrong place at the wrong time doing the wrong thing. And there is no peace when you feel far away from God.

But one of the great things about God is that it’s never too late to call out to Him and ask Him to help you get back on track. You don’t even have to belly crawl to get there. 🙂  If you humble yourself and ask Him for help, He will lift you up.

And you don’t have to have all of the answers, logically mapping out how to get from here to there. You don’t have to be “perfect” either. You don’t even need to have hiking boots to get out of the swamp and back to your relationship with Him. God will give you exactly what you need, and He will meet you right where you are.

You simply need to pull your life back from the greedy, candy-sticky fingers of Distraction, and give God your focus.

And while you’re at it, give Him all of you and watch and see what He does.

“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:18 NIV.)

“But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen.” (Matthew 6:6a emphasis my own, NIV.)

“Get down on your knees before the Master; it’s the only way you’ll get on your feet.” (James 4:10 MSG.)

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.” (1 Peter 5:6 NIV.)

 

 

 

 

Searching for Your Purpose

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“What am I supposed to do with my life? What is God calling me to do?”

I’ve heard others ask those questions, even asked them myself a zillion times or so. It all reminds me of picking blackberries.

Let me explain.

When I was a little girl, my brother and I would follow the trail behind our house and into the woods as we searched for blackberries. Not the green or red ones, of course, but the dark, fat ones.

Usually, I could stay on the path and pick enough to contribute to Mom’s cobbler. But sometimes I’d spot a ginormous berry in the middle of the blackberry bush, so I’d work my way through those pesky briars as they tugged at my clothing and scratched my skin.

When I’d finally reach for the prize, that one blackberry I knew would be worth the bloody scratches on my arms and legs, my slightest touch to a nearby branch would send the thing plummeting to the ground.

Sigh.

So without my top berry, I would maneuver my way out, carefully backing up as I tried to avoid more snags and cuts. After feeling defeated and a little beaten up, I’d realize there was a whole mess of blackberries on the outside of the bush hiding under the canopy of leaves. I’d missed them because I’d had my eyes fixed on that berry in the middle. The one that looked the best. The one that would be the most difficult to pick.

What looked the best and what I knew would be the hardest to reach seemed to be the one I needed. Or so I thought.

And isn’t that what we do sometimes when we’re searching for our purpose, God’s will for our lives?

We use our eyes or our logic and we dive into something we have no business diving into—all because we think it’s the real “prize.” It makes sense to us. We know it’s going to be a lot of hard work, but we rush right in there after it, believing it to be “God’s best” for our lives without stopping first to check with Him.

We get banged up, scratched up, left feeling defeated because when we finally reach “it,” the thing falls away and we’re left standing there looking at the mess we’ve gotten ourselves into. We wonder if it’s too late to turn around and ask God to show us His plan. (Hint: As long as you’re still walking around on planet earth, it’s not too late.)

If we would just stay on the trail God has us on, He will show us. If we stay close to Him and keep talking to Him even when we don’t feel like it, even when the answers are SO slow in coming, even when we don’t feel Him, and even in the midst of a pandemic when things seem to be out of control, God will show up and teach us through His Holy Spirit what we’re supposed to do with our lives.

My friend, your life’s purpose may be closer than you think, easier to recognize than you realize, and simply not at all what others believe you should do with your life.

Go to God. He’s the One growing the berries, after all. And He’s the One who has the best recipe for your life.

“I cry out to God Most High, to God who fulfills his purpose for me.” (Psalm 57:2. ESV.)

“You can make many plans, but the Lord’s purpose will prevail.” (Proverbs 19:21 NLT.)

 

Photo from pexels.com.

 

 

 

Peace in the Midst of Chaos

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I’m a word girl. I know, big shocker there to discover a writer that likes words. What can I say? Words are the tools of my trade. Without them, I would be scribbling stick figures with awkward, uneven eyes and jagged lips doing all sorts of acrobatics to indicate their internal turmoil. It just wouldn’t make much sense.

Similarly, God’s Word is the tool of the Christian’s trade. That would explain how, when the world seems to be falling apart and is in total chaos, we can read God’s Word to find wisdom, understanding, direction, and peace when the world offers us none.

Instead of looking through our own eyes at what’s happening in the world today, we can look through eyes of faith and see things more clearly the way God intended through His Word:

“If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.” (Galatians 5:15 NIV, emphasis my own.)

The word that stood out to me was “devour.” I remembered reading that here:

“Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8 NIV, emphasis my own.)

Can you see how “devour” in both of these cases consumes in order to destroy?

There’s another word. Destroy.

“The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy.” (John 10:10a NLT, emphasis my own.)

So our enemy, the devil, is out to destroy us, wanting to devour us. That’s his purpose. Can people actually be used by the enemy to destroy each other?  If they’re not filled with the Holy Spirit and staying alert to the enemy’s schemes, sadly, yes.

What does God’s Word say about how we should treat each other?

“This is my command: Love each other.” (John 15:17 NIV.)

 “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” (1 John 4:7-8 NIV.)

“Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.” (Romans 12:9-10 NLT.)

There’s a powerful word. Love.

“Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.” (1 Corinthians 13:7 NLT.)

So when we look through our eyes at a world that seems to be crumbling all around us, we have the opportunity to look through God’s Word and see. Really see. We can see through eyes of faith that the enemy is behind the killing, stealing, and destroying.

As we know, the thief comes to cause harm, but Jesus Christ has come to give us life to the full (John 10:10) and peace. True peace which the world can never give us.

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27 NIV.)

We are not to be troubled or afraid, my friends. We are to “be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” (Romans 12:12 NIV.)

And when the world looks back and sees God’s children joyful in their hope as they seek their Father’s face, patiently awaiting His direction during times of disorder, and faithfully praying to God for each and every need and person the Holy Spirit guides them to pray for, then the world may very well get a glimpse of peace in the midst of chaos.

What a beautiful sight that would be for all eyes to see.

 

(Photo from pexels.com.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pruning

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When God prunes something or even someone from our lives, it hurts. We may wonder where we went wrong or why He’s doing it. We may try to ignore it and keep pushing forward with our own agendas or what others have told us. We may think we’re misunderstanding what’s happening, that God would never prune that so there must be something else going on.

I’ve been struggling lately with a lot of things He’s been pruning, wondering if there is going to be anything left of me when He’s done. I’ve cried out to the Holy Spirit for wisdom and discernment, knowing He is the only One who can really help me to understand what’s happening.

I’m learning through my own experiences the two reasons why God prunes things from my life:

Growth.

Protection.

Maybe this seems obvious to you, but I’m a little slow and sometimes I need God to teach me something more than once so I can “get it.” (I’m so thankful He’s patient!)

I find myself begging God to leave certain things and crying when He gently makes a few snips and cuts here and there as those things fall away.

To my human eye, I can’t see the reasoning behind it.

But I know better than to trust my own reasoning. (The mess I would be in today if I trusted me instead of Him! The very thought makes me cringe.)

Here’s an example: I thought I was supposed to start a business last year designing graphic art to inspire and encourage others. So I did.

But God trimmed that right out of my life not long after it was up and running.

Today, I am thankful. I have more time to do what He’s called me to do: take care of my family and write.

But when He first did it, I didn’t understand. The designs I created were encouraging people to turn to Him. How could that be bad?

I realized if it’s not God’s will for my life, then I shouldn’t be doing it because it takes the nourishment and sunlight away from what He is trying to grow in my life. No matter how those grapes might appear to me on the branch, if it isn’t what He has in mind, He’s going to snip it.

IF I surrender those pruning shears to Him.

Oh sure, I could have been stubborn and kept going with that little business. But I know it would have put a strain on my family and my writing.

And ultimately my relationship with God would have suffered because I would have pulled away from Him as I hid those shears in my hands.

Instead, I allowed Him to trim that business away just as I’m allowing Him to trim things from my life today.

Does it hurt? It sure does.

But the best way to grow closer to Him is to allow Him to clear away those excess things, those distractions, those toxic relationships, and anything that will harm us. Anything that hinders our growth.

And He will snip at those things we were not created to do. (Me? It’s cooking for large crowds. Oh, I get by for our little family, but it’s not pretty!)

When we allow God to prune those things out of our lives, we are allowing more of Him, more of His light to flood into our lives to produce the fruit He intended all along.

God-honoring fruit that will last.

“‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the Lord. ‘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 NIV.)

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5 NIV.)

“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit – fruit that will last.” (John 15:16a NIV.)

“Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.” (Psalm 9:10 NIV.)

 

 

 

Now Is the Time

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We’ve all been hurt by someone. Perhaps it was a parent or a close friend when you were just a child. Maybe it didn’t happen until you were much older, blindsiding you and leaving you crushed and wondering how you’ll ever come back.

Maybe you were even hurt by someone in the Church.

It can happen. The Church is not a building where people gather but a family of believers, a group of imperfect people trying to follow the perfect Jesus Christ.

Unfortunately, most families do hurt each other at one time or another.

But what devastates a soul is when the pain becomes a loud rushing sound, drowning out the voice of God, and that soul walks away from Him.

I imagine Almighty God lowering His head and sobbing, longing to hold His child who has turned away from Him and is suffering alone. (If this is you, please turn back to God. Please let Him hold you and help you to heal and move forward.)

Now is the time, dear Church, to prepare to bring back those who have been wounded by our imperfections; each and every lost and wounded soul. Now is the time to open our hearts to God so He can fill us with His love to overflowing, so when the doors of the building open wide and the injured, the broken, and the lost come in, we are ready to pour out His love upon them.

We must be ready to love like never before.

And we must prepare to find those who have wandered off, to take His love to them and not wait for them to come to us. Let us remember this time of being the Church outside of a building and not grow comfortable when we return to meeting inside of a building again. Let us be so moved in our desire to please God, the One we met with when we were withdrawn and in our homes, that we can’t sit still, that we must go whenever He calls and wherever He leads.

Heavenly Father, help us to be ready to obey You when You call. We invite You, Holy Spirit, to have your way and lead the Church inside and out of the buildings where we meet, beyond the social media sites. Expand our territory. Jesus Christ, You are the head of Your Church, and we yield and surrender ourselves to You. Use each one of us as the members of Your body, Lord. Please forgive us for the time we’ve wasted and redeem that time, Lord. Our hearts need You. Our spirits long for You. Our desire is for more of You and less of ourselves. Lead us, Holy Spirit, guide us and teach us how to love others more deeply than ever before. Teach us to worship in spirit and in truth. Teach us to speak Your Word with great boldness. Show us how to reach those who are hurting in the world. Help us to bring the wounded back into Your fold. And teach us to love You more deeply with all that we have and all that we are without worrying what others might think, aiming only to please You.  It’s in Your name, the powerful name of Jesus Christ, we pray these things. Amen.

May the Lord prepare His Church for the mighty movement of His Spirit. May He stir us from our sleep, stir something deep within our spirits now so when we are drawn together in the physical realm again, the whole world will hear His voice and know our God reigns.

And those who have wandered off, those who are lost, and those who have been wounded will be overwhelmed by the very love of God who never, ever gives up on His children.

“Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood.” (Acts 20:28 ESV.)

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39 NIV.)

 

(Photo from pexels.com.)

 

Isolation, Depression, and Hope

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For years I’ve been fascinated with tiny houses and how the kitchen table lowers from the ceiling or how the staircase can hide against the wall like a bookshelf. I’ve seen the shows, even visited small structures and imagined trying to live in one.

One day I hope to have one, not necessarily to live in one unless I want to live alone since my husband gets claustrophobic and doesn’t like the idea of climbing a ladder to go to bed, and frankly, I can’t say I blame him. But I would love to own a tiny house or “she shed” as my own little writer’s nook.

I could decorate it in all things Christmas, leaving a tree in the corner all year long. I would string white lights in the rafters and have a tiny fireplace in the corner. It would be my escape, my Christmas wonderland, inspiring Christmas tales I’d tap out on my laptop while the coffeepot gurgled in the corner.

I’d play songs by Bing Crosby and Nat King Cole and tuck Christmas books on the shelves, leaving a special place for “The Greatest Gift” by Philip Van Doren Stern which became one of my all-time favorite movies, “It’s a Wonderful Life.” I’d throw a furry rug on the floor and fill the space with the fragrance of freshly brewed coffee, of course, and the scent of spiced apple.

I get so excited daydreaming about it (as you can tell!). And I hope one day that daydream will become a tiny, lovely reality in our backyard.

Having hope is so important in the world we are living in today, especially when we’re all homebound for the duration of the coronavirus.

We may have to stay put in our houses or in our yards, but our minds are free to soar and fixate on whatever we choose.

Me? I choose God. I choose to have hope in Him when everything else is screaming at me that I need to be anxious and afraid. I’m choosing to believe the promise that Jesus is preparing a place for me in heaven, and He will come back for me. And I’m looking forward to it.

Having hope in the promises of God brings my mind peace at a time when depression, like a venomous spider hiding in a dark corner, threatens to bite.

Not many people know this about me, but when I was in college, I was treated by a counselor for clinical depression.

Depression was like that awful spider and its web covered my thoughts, keeping me from having hope. I felt alone. Isolated. I had no joy. I felt numb and yet deep pain all at the same time. I didn’t want to do anything but sleep. And when I was awake, all I wanted to do was cry.

It was an awful place.

Years later when I quit my job to stay at home with our daughter, depression tried to attack me again. I was more isolated than what I was used to and I would sob at the back corner of our yard where my husband and daughter couldn’t see me.

But God saw me.

And He sees you too. If you’re struggling during this period of isolation, with the “culture shock” of staying at home for days and weeks at a time, please call out to God, reach out to family and friends. Seriously, reach out! You do not have to suffer, and you do not need to go through it alone.

When you’re feeling alone, that’s when the enemy will lie and tell you all sorts of nonsense.

Here’s the truth: God will never leave you (Hebrews 13:5). You don’t need to be afraid or discouraged because God is with you (Joshua 1:9). You were created for a purpose and God has a plan for your life (Jeremiah 29:11).

You are not alone, my friend, and your mind is free to soar even if you feel stuck in your living room. So go ahead and let your mind visit Christmas songs and tiny houses, far away dream vacations, and future plans.

You can, and should, think about lovely things (Philippians 4:8).

And let your mind stay fixed on God and His promises. He has given you His Holy Spirit, so you are NEVER alone. You have eternal hope in Jesus Christ, and He is preparing a place for you. And your place is going to be so much better than anything this world has to offer.

It’s going to be even better than a Christmas tiny house. 😉

“Why are you so downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.” (Psalm 43:5 NIV.)

“And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.” (Romans 5:5 NIV.)

“‘Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.’ Thomas said to him, ‘Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?’ Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’” (John 14:1-6 NIV.)

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade – kept in heaven for you. (1 Peter 1:3-4 NIV.)

 

(Photo from pexels.com.)

 

 

 

 

Do You Want a Spark or a Flame?

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Are you just getting by, barely hanging on? Does it seem like life is tossing you back and forth like a ping-pong ball? Or perhaps it seems the enemy is constantly hanging around, discouraging you and lying in your ear, making you feel like you’re a big fat failure and you can’t do anything right.

My dear friends, keep going! Press on! Stand strong!

Does it seem like I’m yelling at you? I am! (But not in a bad way. Keep reading.)

When I was reading Scripture this morning, I found a note I’d written a long time ago, asking myself the question:

“Do you want a spark or a flame?”

I don’t know about you, but I want a flame. A big roaring flame! I want to set the world ablaze with all that God wants to do through me. I want to be bold. Obey. Stand strong. Press on. Reach and grab onto my heavenly Father with all that I’ve got and never let go.

And that’s what I want for YOU.  (See, that’s why I was “yelling.” 🙂 )

If you feel at odds with so many things in life right now, like you’re being squeezed, don’t let worldly worries suffocate you. Don’t let the enemy make you fearful or discourage you. Press in closer to God.

You see, a spark is nice. It can be the start of something powerful.

But a flame, well, the flame shines bright. The flame is God’s power working through you now. The flame refuses to back down because of the darkness. The flame does not fear the darkness but dispels it, disarming it.

The flame doesn’t whimper in the corner, fearing the darkness will overtake it or afraid of overstepping boundaries. The flame doesn’t pull back but pushes forward. The flame roars and is bold, swelling and growing because of the fresh wind of the Holy Spirit. The flame hushes only to listen to the voice of God and no other.

But you and I, we have to do our part. We have to be obedient. We have to seek God above all else. We have to fan the flame. We have to trust in the power, the direction of Almighty God, and not try to contain the flame He sets ablaze in our hearts out of fear of offending others or losing control.

When we give control of our lives over to God, surrendering it all to Him, that’s when the world will see Him in us. And that’s when He can use us powerfully.

“This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you when I laid my hands on you. For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” (2 Timothy 1:6-7 NLT.)

“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in Heaven.” (Matthew 5:14-16 NIV.)

(Photo from Pexels.)

 

 

Warning in a Store

aisle-backpack-buyer-2292919I’ve been thinking about the Holy Spirit and how He whispers to us, leading us to pray for someone right in the middle of pulling weeds or brushing our teeth. And sometimes He even warns us.

The Holy Spirit warned me a few months ago.

I was in one of my favorite stores, wandering around and checking on all sorts of things when I noticed a man who resembled someone I know.

I actually chuckled, thinking, wow he could pass for so-and-so, and wondered if I could somehow snag a photo with my cell phone without this man thinking I’m some weirdo. I decided no, I wouldn’t want a stranger taking my picture, so I moved on to gaze at wall art.

The man walked by, glancing at me.

I moved to the greeting cards.

The man busied himself nearby, looking at cleaning supplies. I realized he didn’t have a cart or a basket.

I felt something. I knew something.

I moved on. The man moved on too.

If I’m being honest, sometimes when I shop, I’m in my own little world. I’ve even asked other customers if they’ve heard me talking to myself. Sometimes they smile and admit they do it too. Other times they look at me like I’m crazy or with a dull expression like they couldn’t care less what I’m doing.

But I was not in my own little world that day. I was fully aware, fully observing my surroundings. And fully involved in praying and asking for wisdom.

I knew I was being followed, and I knew the Holy Spirit was warning me, reminding me of something a friend shared on Facebook: a video of a woman warning others about men kidnapping unsuspecting women in the parking lots of various stores.

It was no accident I’d seen the video the day before. It was no accident the Holy Spirit made me take notice of this man, keeping me from slipping into my own little world of sale items and conversations with myself.

And it was no accident that a woman I knew was working the register, who watched the man leave the store empty handed. It was also no accident that her next customer was patient, not minding that the cashier left her register to make sure I made it safely to my car.

It was also no accident that the rain began to pour just as I was about to leave the store, making me sprint past parked cars and hurrying to my own.

It is certainly no accident, no coincidence, that the Holy Spirit speaks to us every day. And it shouldn’t surprise us but bless us abundantly that He sounds the alarm when we’re in danger and guides us safely away from it.

Thank you, Holy Spirit, for speaking to us and guiding us.

“When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own but will tell you what he has heard. He will tell you about the future.” (John 16:13 NLT.)

“If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.” (James 1:5 NLT.)

“But all who listen to me will live in peace, untroubled by fear of harm.” (Proverbs 1:33 NLT.)

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Shifting Seasons

shifting seasons

Last year, I prayed about a writing opportunity. It seemed right. It seemed to fit with what God was calling me to do. But then as things started to move forward, I lost all peace.

Something shifted.

I didn’t understand it at the time. I just know I had NO peace. I mean, it was so bad I couldn’t sleep and found myself deeply uncomfortable in my spirit. I wondered if I’d done something wrong; did I not hear God right? Why would He lead me to an exciting path in the woods and then, when I’m only a few feet into the journey, would He stop me and tell me to turn around?

Undercurrents.

God knows all about those hidden things in every situation you and I face. He sees through the flattering and deceit. He is aware of the backbiting and hears the gossiping. He knows the ins and outs of everyone’s plans and whether there are secret agendas or selfish ambitions waiting to surface. He knows the hearts of all involved. He knows the big picture from every angle. And He can see way into tomorrow and to the very end of the path.

Sometimes God will allow us to see a fraction of those nasty undercurrents, and we can experience a moment of clarity and deep gratitude for His guidance to avoid that rocky terrain on the path we were on that was leading us to a cliff in the middle of the night.

But there are other times when we will never know why there was a shift but simply must trust the protection and guidance of our Father. We have to remember how deeply He loves us and wants us to follow Him, our Shepherd, to safety.

And yet there are other times when we’re smack dab in the middle of doing exactly what God called us to do; we’re experiencing such joy and excitement like the Holy Spirit is whispering within how important this moment is, not only to us, but to the Kingdom. We feel honored and humbled and thrilled and well, maybe a little set in our way thinking this is going to go on forever.

But then we experience the shift.

We lose all peace. We get a bad taste in our mouths like someone dumped salt instead of sugar in our lemonade. Honestly, it can be discouraging if we focus on it for too long. But when we remember God is the One who brought us here, then we know where He’s taking us next is probably going to be even better!

We have to be willing to surrender all of our plans to God, especially those that began with Him.

He is, after all, the One who causes the seasons to shift, bringing new growth through the death of winter in the form of a beautiful spring.

If you’re experiencing a shift, I’m there with you, my friend. I wonder what new growth is about to bloom in us? I’m excited to find out! 🙂

“When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own but will tell you what he has heard. He will tell you about the future.” (John 16: 13 NLT.)

 “I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding.” (Philippians 1:9 NLT.)