Monday, May 25, 2015

A Time for Every Season



I have been pondering the seasons of my life a lot lately - especially since becoming a first time grandmother.

It seems in the beginning of our lives, time goes by very slowly.  Small children are often heard saying just five minutes into a long road trip, "Are we there yet?!?!"  As a small child I can remember excitedly waiting for something I was looking forward to and would think to myself, "Why is time going so slow! It seems like forever until the day will be here!"  Or when the school year dragged on and on before summer vacation was finally here.  I remember watching A Charlie Brown Christmas when I was 6 years old and, I confess, I didn't like the part where Linus explained the true meaning of Christmas because it seemed like it lasted an hour long!  [Coincidentally, when my husband was a little boy, Linus's speech was his favorite part, and he was unchurched at the time!  My husband currently shares that story as part of his testimony.  A blog post for another time.  :-) ]

Maybe it is because children don't have the ability to tell time or understand calendars that causes their slow perception of time...

Entering into adulthood, time seems to normalize; moving along at just the right pace - no longer wishing away childhood to be grownups who can do whatever they want whenever they want.  Instead, the reality of adulthood has settled in, which can be difficult at times, but nevertheless, most young adults and 20 somethings are happy at the prospect of their whole lives ahead of them with endless possibilities.

During our childbearing years, many of us can wish the time away.  Those newborn months can be very difficult - emotionally and physically taxing.  A young mom may find herself saying, "I can't wait until my baby isn't fussy all the time or until she can sleep through the night."  During the toddler years, especially with strong-willed, very active children, a mom might wish for the time when she can sit and relax and not have to be on her toes constantly chasing after the safety of her child.  I'm sure you can think of many other examples of perfectly normal responses of moms wishing the time away throughout all stages of their children's growing up years.

When our children approach mid to late teens, we then want time to stop.  We are realizing before too long our children will be off to college or leaving to start a life of their own or to get married.   We start asking ourselves, where did the time go??

And then the empty nest comes when we want to go back in time.  It is then that the regrets come... We regret not playing with our children when they asked us to, instead choosing to do housework. We regret having wished away the difficult times of childhood realizing now the preciousness of every moment.

As grandparents, we tend to savor time...

For me, becoming a grandparent has been such a surreal and profound experience. I know I loved my children just as much, but the love I feel for my precious granddaughter feels so powerful.  Recently, I walked my two month old Lexi around the block in the stroller; the very block I used to walk her momma around 24 years ago.  With each step I took, I allowed myself to be in the moment, looking around at the trees that are so much taller and thicker then they once were when my daughter was a baby.  I can hear echoes of conversations with my neighbor as we pushed our babies around the block together.   I thanked God for the wonderful season of motherhood I had when my children were young, for the blessing of a daughter who is such a good momma to her own daughter, and the precious blessing of a granddaughter for my husband and I to enjoy.  I am truly savoring and cherishing every moment of this season.

Although I can't speak from experience as I have not reached that season of life yet, I have talked to those who are in their 80s and older who have a peace about time.  They are now satisfied with their lives as they lived them.  [Wisdom and age does that to a person...], and are ready to spend eternity with their Lord and Savior - looking forward to Everlasting time.

Every season of life brings its own failures and triumphs, sorrows and joys, trials and peace.

To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
A time to kill; and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, 
and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

No matter how you view time through the seasons of life, "do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. " 2 Peter 3:8

Take comfort, "all things past, present and future are ever before Him."  Matthew Henry Commentary

For it is God's timeline that is perfect for His children...

Everything about His chosen ones and their lives was on His mind before He "created the Heavens and the Earth."  Genesis 1:1.

 Before He made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy 
and without fault in His eyes.  
Ephesians 1:4  

All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.  
Psalm 139:16

The Lord made a way for us...

But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth His Son...  
Galations 4:4

The Lord created us in Christ Jesus, to live during a specific point in time...

He marked out their appointed times in history (Acts 17:26)

The Lord chose the hour we would believe...

For He says, "In a favorable time I listened to you, and in a day of salvation I have helped you."  Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.  
2 Corinthians 6:2

Besides, you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep.  For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed.  
Romans 13:11

The Lord has a purpose for our lives...

For we are God's handiwork created in Christ Jesus to do good works, 
which God prepared in advance for us to do. 
 Ephesians 2:10

Making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.  
Ephesians 5:16

So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom. 
Psalm 90:12

The Lord has chosen the appointed time for that Glorious Day...

As a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in Him, things in Heaven and things on Earth.  Ephesians 1:10

Our Heavenly Father has a purpose for every season of life that we go through; birth, childhood, adulthood, empty-nest, grandparenthood, and the golden years...  Jesus understands our thoughts and feelings through each season of life, beckoning us to come to Him with our struggles, disappointments, trials, triumphs, joys and praises; for He has loved us with an Everlasting love.  Jeremiah 31:3

Whatever season of life we are in right now, whether in the midst of sorrows or joys; failures or triumphs, trials or peace, we must not lose sight of God's perfect timeline so that we can say with the Psalmist...

But I trust in you, O Lord; I say, You are my God,.  My times are in Your hands. 

Monday, May 18, 2015

When you are afraid to confront...



CONFRONT - face a situation that makes you feel uncomfortable, or to say something to someone about something they have done that bothers you.  Vocabulary.com

I'm sure just reading the word confront and its definition can bring about discomfort and anxiety.  I think it's safe to say that nobody enjoys confrontation.  The times in my life where I've had to confront a loved one over something they have done, I end up rehearsing what I am going to say over and over again.  My stomach fills with butterflies, and I become extremely anxious to the point that if I don't follow through sooner than later with my plans to discuss the concerning matter, I can't function because I am so preoccupied.  Preoccupied with all the "what ifs".  What if they refuse to listen?  What if this damages our relationship?   What if this does more harm than good? What if I've got this all wrong?

When my children were younger, I would not become apprehensive when disobedience needed to be addressed.  It was a necessary part of parenting.

Discipline your son and he will give you rest; he will give delight to your heart.
Proverbs 29:17   

Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.  
Proverbs 22:6


And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.  You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. 
 Deuteronomy 6:6-7

But something changed when my children reached 16...  I would certainly follow through with discipline, but I felt more vulnerable when the need to confront arose.  The late teens can be such a delicate age where it is possible to do more harm than good if a concerning situation is not handled properly.  As a mom, I knew I was not infallible and there were times when I would present the problem, based on appearances, but in the course of the conversation, my eldest son, in particular, could convince me that I had it all wrong, and maybe I did, but most of the time I didn't.

I was blessed with children that were for the most part obedient in their teen years.  There were only a few instances that were quite serious where "confronting the heart" was necessary.  Unfortunately, before confronting my child with the issue, I would process and go through my "what ifs?"  which wasn't accomplishing anything.  I would then finally pray for wisdom on how to handle the situation.

The Lord's wisdom taught me early on that when a serious matter needed to be discussed, He would give me the words to speak in the moment.  I also learned that it is important to speak those words with an attitude of humility and gentleness.

"But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves.  For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict.  
Luke 21:14-15

A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare."  
Proverbs 15:1

Inevitably, the Lord would always hand to me an opportunity which led to an opening to confront the situation with gentleness and humility - to speak to the heart of the situation.  I would be in awe of how the Lord would bless the conversation and the fruit that would result.

When my son was 18, he began testing us with his curfew.  I sought the counsel of a Pastor friend asking him how I could "make my son obey the rules of the house".  His response shocked me.  He said, "You have raised him up in the fear and admonition of the Lord for 18 years. He is an adult now.  It's time to let him go."  I responded, "but Pastor, shouldn't my son still respect and honor his parents and the rules of the house??"  The Pastor responded, "He will...  You have raised him accordingly, your son will return, but you need to give him that freedom."

And the time of testing came, 1 a.m., my son was not home, 2 a.m., still not home, 4 a.m., still no sign of him...  Of course fear gripped my heart, but the Holy Spirit prompted me to sit in the living room with the light on with my Bible and read from His Word and so I did...  At 5 a.m. my son came home.  He walked past me as I sat reading my Bible.  I was calm and collected when he walked in the door.   I told him I was glad he was home safe.  He then broke down crying...  From that day forward, my son established for himself a very reasonable and responsible curfew and would always be home at an acceptable time.  Treating my son as an adult brought about the adult in him.

When someone has been given much, much will be required in return; and when someone has been entrusted with much, even more will be required.
Luke 12:48

I believe when our children become young adults they have a desire for us to trust them outside the boundaries of childhood.  When the adult child feels trusted, they will live up to that trust.

I can't promise that my experience with my son will work for everyone, but I do believe all prodigals, when they have been raised and disciplined in a Godly home AND when they are treated with respect, will return to obedience eventually.  It requires much diligence, patience and love on our part as parents.

 And let us not grow weary of doing good, 
for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.
Galations 6:9

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

There are also times when we need to confront someone because of a wrong we have committed; we need to make things right.   I don't know about you, but this causes much apprehension in me.  Not because I don't want to reconcile,  but because I am worried I have done irreparable harm to the relationship.

I have found myself in that position a few times in my life.  I am one of those people who has to make things right as soon as possible.

In one such instance, the person I needed to confront concerning what I had done was not ready to speak to me yet.  It seemed like an eternity before he was willing to talk with me.  I prayed that the Lord would intervene when the meeting did finally take place.  I can remember my heart pounding and my mouth being so dry as I began to apologize.  The conversation was uncomfortable at first, but then the Lord  showed His mercy by softening the heart of the person I was asking forgiveness of and blessing my repentant heart.

 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone.  Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
Colossians 3:13

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Unfortunately, this side of Heaven, there will be confrontations because we live in these earthly tents which yield to selfish desires, whether we are the offending party or we have been offended.  

In the Amplified version of James 3:17-18, James gives us God-breathed instructions for handling confrontation in a Christ-like manner; instructions that come with promises.

But the wisdom from above is first of all pure [undefiled]; 
then it is peace loving,courteous [considerate, gentle].  [It is willing] to yield 
to reason, full of compassion and good fruits; it is wholehearted and 
straightforward, impartial and unfeigned [free from doubts, wavering, insincerity].

And the harvest of righteousness [of conformity to God's will in thought and deed] is [the fruit of  the seed] sown in peace by those who work for and make peace [in themselves and in others, that peace which means concord, agreement, and harmony between individuals, with undisturbedness, in a peaceful mind free from fears and agitating passions and moral conflicts].

The following practical steps gleaned from the above verses will help us to speak the truth in love and to free us from any apprehension which could prevent us from confronting the situation in the first place.

  1. PRAY - Seek the Lord in prayer asking for wisdom concerning the words to speak, the timing of the conversation, your own heart in the matter, and insight regarding the other person's perspective.  Pray for a heart that bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  1 Corinthians 13:7  Pray to be filled with love and compassion toward the other person.
  2. BELIEVE the best in the person you are confronting.  Don't presuppose their guilt in the matter if you feel you have been offended, and don't presuppose their rejection of your heartfelt apology if you were the offender. 
  3. Hold on to HOPE that the confrontation will result in restoration and a strengthening of the relationship. 
  4. Be COURTEOUS, CONSIDERATE AND GENTLE, yielding to reason during the conversation.
  5. Be lovingly STRAIGHTFORWARD when discussing the situation not letting yourself DOUBT or WAVER. 
  6. LISTEN - Let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger.  James 1:19  When you take the time  to really listen as the other person responds to the case you have presented, you may gain valuable insight into what caused the offending situation in the first place.  Hearing the heart of the person will fill you with love and compassion for them.  Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, FOR LOVE COVERS A MULTITUDE OF SINS.  1 Peter 4:8    
  7. When we seek the PEACE of Christ through confession of our own sin in the matter, God promises that it is He who blots out our transgressions for His own sake, and He will not remember our sins.  Isaiah 43:25  When we are seeking peace with the person that has offended us we must keep entrusting ourselves to the One who judges justly.  1 Peter 2:23      
Remember, the Lord commands us to confront when we have offended.

Therefore if you are presenting at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering.  Matthew 5:23-24
                                                                                                                                                      
And the Lord commands us to confront when a person has offended us.

If another believer sins against you, go privately and point out the offense.  If the other person listens and confesses it, you have won that person back.  
Matthew 18:15
                                                 
Confrontation can be uncomfortable, but I know from my own experience, when I have sought the Lord in prayer and conducted myself in the manner described in James, He has blessed and restored the relationship and/or restored the person on a right path once again.

Confrontation no longer needs to strike fear in our hearts.  

We have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, 
Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.  For we do not have a 
high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect was tempted as we are, yet without sin.  Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.  
Hebrews 4:14-16

There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.  For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.  
1 John 4:18

When we seek to lovingly restore a brother OR we are seeking to reconcile to a brother in love, we do not need to fear the outcome, because perfect love casts out fear.


You might find me on these link-ups:
Grace & Truth Link-upWoman to Woman Ministries,  Growing in Grace Link-up, 3DLessonsLif4eLivefree Thursday,Everyday JesusSDG GatheringInspire Me Monday, Titus 2 TuesdayA Wise Women Builds Her HomeA Look at the Book,  Sunday StillnessThe Weekend BrewSpiritual Sundays, Soul Survival,  Give Me GraceA Little R&RTestimony TuesdayWomen with Intention WednesdaysStill SaturdayGood Morning MondaysTell His StoryBlessings Counter Link-up Party,Faith & Fellowship Blog HopMotivate and Rejuvenate MondaysBe Salty

Monday, May 11, 2015

Red Light Revelation



Do you ever notice that when you are running late and need to be somewhere important, that every single traffic light always seems to be red!  It never fails!  Because of the red traffic lights, I end up being delayed further! My mood becomes more irritable as the clock keeps ticking away.  If the red lights weren't enough, it seems every person I am driving behind has decided to go slow!  My attitude deteriorates even more...  In my mind, I'm directing hostility to the poor innocent slow driver in front of me.   Inevitably, this series of events occurs many times on the way to church...  Certainly, a shameful way to begin the Lord's Day.

The reality of the situation, I didn't allow myself enough time to get ready so that I wouldn't be late, despite red lights or slow drivers.  You see, there can be just as many red traffic lights on days when I am not in a rush.  The difference is I don't notice the red lights because I have allowed plenty of time to arrive at my destination and/or I'm enjoying the drive, enjoying the company, deep in thought or whatever the case, at that particular time, it is not effecting me.  I'm not letting red lights ruin my day.

The remedy for the red traffic light problem.  Don't be late!  Whether it be school, work, an appointment or church, prepare as much as you can the night before.  Make your lunch, lay out your clothes, set your alarm earlier, prepare in any way you are able, and don't let social media distract you.

Go to the ant, you sluggard; observe its ways and be wise.
 Proverbs 6:6

I realize that unforeseen things can certainly happen that cause us to be late which are outside of our control; a hungry baby, a diaper that needs changing, a crying toddler, a teachable moment for our children, a sudden important phone call, a friend in need, just to name a few.  In those cases, when we  are running late and encounter red lights, we can rest contented knowing that we took care of important matters - matters of provision, comfort, and the heart - matters for the Kingdom.

"Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness,
 and all these things will be added unto you." 
 Matthew 6:33

When you seek first His Kingdom, maybe, just maybe, you will find that every traffic light will be green. :-)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

There are some days when just simply being clumsy and dropping something will cause me to go into a rage.  It's really quite silly how angry I become just because I dropped something.   In the moment, I wouldn't dare tell myself I was being silly because after all, I want to feel angry!  But then that moment fades quickly, and disappointment sets in when I realize, "Wow, I was just reading an edifying Christian blog post or praying or reading my Bible and I'm behaving like this??"  Then I hear Satan whispering in my ear, "And you call yourself a Christian...  I don't think so..."

The reality of the situation, there are deep seeded issues I am wrestling with whether it be a relationship problem, a general problem, sickness, affliction, discontentedness, or not getting my own way.  I have not surrendered to the Lord whatever it is I'm processing subconsciously which results in an angry outburst just because I dropped something.  I'm directing my anger at the situation rather than addressing my feelings with the Lord.  I think a lot of times this happens because I feel like the situation I am dealing with is out of my control to fix or seems hopeless to change; the only thing I can control is my anger - at the dropped item...

"A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back." 
Proverbs 29:11

"For the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God".
James 1:20

The remedy for indirect anger, you must be honest with yourself and with God.  Instead of holding onto those things that are upsetting you, give them over to the Lord.  Talk with Him about it.  Ask the Lord to give you a teachable heart.  Seek wisdom on how to address those things that are in your control.


"Cast your burden upon the Lord and He will sustain you; 
He will never allow the righteous to be shaken."
Psalm 55:22

Search me O God and know my heart ; Try me and know my anxious thoughts; And see if there be any hurtful way in me.   And lead me in the everlasting way. 
Psalm 139:24

"Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me." 
Psalm 51:10

"Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and He will establish your plans."
Proverbs 16:3

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I confess, I am a murmurer, especially when it comes to housework or picking up after others.  As I'm cleaning, I am complaining to myself with much negative self-talk.  "Nobody else does anything around the house."; "I have to do everything."; "Am I everyone's servant??

The reality of the situation, I am feeling underappreciated, unnoticed...  In the area of housework, I am not seeing my home as a mission field - an area of service.   Any housework I am doing for my family is essentially cancelled out when I murmur in the midst of it.  I am not conducting myself as someone who is giving cheerfully, but instead as someone who is resentful.

Our homes are the first mission field the Lord commissions to us.  Serving those we love should never be resented, even housework...

"But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever."  1 Timothy 5:8

The remedy for murmuring, remember Who your work is ultimately for.

"Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than 
for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward
 of inheritance.  It is the Lord Christ whom you serve..."
Colossians 3:23-24

"Be devoted to one another in brotherly love.  Honor one another above yourselves. 
 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord."  
Romans 12:10-11

When we serve inside our homes, not only are we modeling Christ-like behavior to our spouses and children, we are training for service outside the home to be a witness to those who are perishing.

"By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another." 
 John 13:35

I do want to clarify that I am not implying that those who serve in the home should not be appreciated or should be treated as servants.  Every human being desires to know that they are loved and appreciated.  God designed us with hearts to love and to be loved.  It is important to spur one another on with words of encouragement and gratitude.

"And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works."  
Hebrews 10:24

Let us serve in our homes without expecting praise, working quietly for the Lord, knowing that He sees and is well pleased.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Matthew Henry sums up perfectly in his commentary on James 1 the experiences I shared above:

"When our faith and spirits rise and fall with second causes, there will be unsteadiness in our words and actions.  This may not always  expose men to contempt in the world, but such ways cannot please God.  No condition of life is such as to hinder rejoicing in God.

Seek happiness in and from God, not from perishing enjoyments."

It wasn't until I had read Matthew Henry's insights that I realized how much I allow "second causes" to rule my emotions and my behavior.  This certainly isn't good for my own emotional and spiritual health, and most especially, it is a poor witness to those around me.

I must remember to cast my burdens upon the Lord; to steadfastly seek God's wisdom in all things; to pray without ceasing; to endure and be patient in trials and affliction; to allow my heart to be taught; to serve the Lord with my whole heart and soul, and to have my enjoyment in Him.

 But let endurance and steadfastness and patience have full play and do a thorough work, so that you may be perfectly and fully developed lacking in nothing. 
 James 1:4

You might find me on these link-ups:
Grace & Truth Link-upWoman to Woman Ministries,  Growing in Grace Link-up, 3DLessonsLif4eLivefree Thursday,Everyday JesusSDG GatheringInspire Me Monday, Titus 2 TuesdayA Wise Women Builds Her HomeA Look at the Book,  Sunday StillnessThe Weekend BrewSpiritual Sundays, Soul Survival,  Give Me GraceA Little R&RTestimony TuesdayWomen with Intention WednesdaysStill SaturdayGood Morning MondaysTell His StoryBlessings Counter Link-up Party,Faith & Fellowship Blog HopMotivate and Rejuvenate MondaysBe Salty

Monday, May 4, 2015

The Assurance of Things Unseen


Years ago, before I was a believer, a friend and neighbor of mine introduced me to her friend Cindy.  We all had young daughters and would get together for playdates.  As Cindy and I got to know each other, she invited me to do a Bible Study with  her which ultimately led me to a saving knowledge of the Lord.

Cindy later shared that her friend and prayer partner, Ruth, had been praying over our meetings together, asking the Lord to open my eyes to His saving Grace.

The quiet work of the Holy Spirit was being accomplished through two dear sisters in the Lord; one through secret prayer and the other through tangible time spent in God's word together.

When I became a believer, my husband still was not.  I would excitedly come home and share with him those things I was learning in Bible study and what true Grace really meant.  My husband, a scientist, looked at everything in black and white when it came to talking about salvation in Christ Jesus.  It appeared it was going to be very difficult to help lead him to the Lord.

Cindy and Ruth diligently prayed together for my husband's salvation...  My husband received Christ as His Lord and Savior a year or so after I did!  And...  years later, went on to receive his M. Div at Bethel Seminary of the East!

I hope to offer encouragement to anyone who has been praying for months, years or even decades for a loved one's salvation to not lose heart.

The wind blows wherever it wants.  
Just as you can hear the wind but can't
 tell where it comes from  or where it is going, 
so you can't explain how people are born of the Spirit."  John 3:8

The Holy Spirit's work may not be perceivable in those He is regenerating, but He does indeed move through the prayers of the saints, according to His will in that persons life, in His perfect timing and for His Glory.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

A couple of years ago, I had a very serious matter for prayer; a request which appeared had already received an answer of "no" from the Lord.  The very thing I prayed would NOT happen did!  But in desperation, I continued to pray and ask for prayer.  I shared the situation with a dear sister-in-the Lord whose prayers I have always coveted.   I will never forget what she said to me.  She looked at me very confidently and assuredly said, "I believe the Lord is going to work in an unseen way to reverse this situation." I clung to those words...

Within the week, the situation had been reversed!!  Through a couple of very random unseen mishaps (which were revealed later) the Lord worked to stop what had already been in motion!  I cannot even express the incredible joy and gratitude I felt to the Lord for answering the prayer in such a profound way; how He used my friend to speak peace and Truth over me while I waited...

God used my perceived answer of "no" to a prayer for the purpose of increasing my faith in a mighty way.

I realize that not every matter for prayer is going to be reversed to what we want, if the outcome is not what we hoped for.  I have had many answers to prayer that were a definitive "no".  But in God's mercy, I was able to see years later why the answer was no for some of those prayers and was indeed thankful for the "no" because God's answer was above and beyond what I had prayed for in the first place!

When we pray, the Holy Spirit's activity in the matter may not be apparent sometimes.  But God is indeed working through every one of our prayers for His Glory and our good.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I knew of a  young Christian married couple who had an unplanned pregnancy.  I know for me, even though my husband and I planned our pregnancies, when I found out I was pregnant for my first, there was that moment of, "Oh no, what have I done??  My whole life is going to change!"  I can't imagine what it was like for this young couple who were not planning on a baby to suddenly realize they were having a baby!   It was a tumultuous time filled with emotion as they adjusted to the reality that they were going to have a baby even though they were in a transitional time in their life.   But despite this, the couple thanked God for the new life growing inside...

As the months of the pregnancy went on, God brought so much redemption and joy to this little family.  It was clear that the Lord had planned great and wonderful blessings through the growing baby and his ultimate birth.

 My frame was not hidden from you when I was being made in secret...
Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there were none of them.
Psalm 139:15-16

The Holy Spirit accomplishes God's will and purposes for our lives, sometimes in very unexpected ways, to draw us closer to the Lord, increase our faith, strengthen us, encourage us, delight us and most especially to bring all Glory and Honor to God.

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness.  For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.  
Romans 8:26-27


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

It seems the hardest answers to wait upon are prayers for salvation of a loved one, and prayers for family, trials and matters of health.  Whether we are praying or not, it's hard to be in difficult situations no matter what they are.  We want results whether it be an answer to prayer or for the bad circumstance to end.  In our flesh, it's hard to see past it, past the clouds...

On an absolutely cloudy dreary day, sitting in a plane on a runway waiting to take off, it's hard to believe you will see the sun in just a few minutes.  The plane takes off, climbing higher and higher, breaking through the clouds.   And there it is!  The bright sun, where it has always been...

And so it is with the Son...  

God is always on His throne.  

For the eyes of the Lord go to and fro throughout the whole earth, 
to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless toward Him. 
 2 Chronicles 16:9

If you are in a circumstance where you feel like the Lord is silent, please be encouraged - silence does not equal inactivity of God or the absence of God.   God's Word promises us that:

For  I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord,
 plans for welfare and not for calamity
 to give you a future and a hope.  Jeremiah 29:11


It is the Lord that goes before you.  He will be with you; 
He will not leave you or forsake you. 
Do not fear or be dismayed.  
Deuteronomy 31:8

Be encouraged, just because the land is barren with no inhabitants {to be a witness}, does not mean that God has not sent the rain onto the parched land to make the tender grass shoot spring up...  Job 38:26-27

Do you remember a time in your own life when the Lord had revealed something to you that He had done in secret which increased your faith?  I'd love to hear about it.