By Nancy Strackany

 

 

For me, finding quiet time alone with God is difficult. I have struggled to find consistent devotion time for years. Over a year ago I committed to getting up a half an hour earlier in the morning. I am often sleepy but willing.

 

When I started to wake up earlier, so did my husband. By the time I snuck out of the bedroom and made coffee and settled into my favorite chair, my husband was up and wanting to connect. So, I started to set up the coffee the night before. While I talked to God the coffee brewed and I had just enough time to open my Bible. My good intentions were there but I knew I was still not getting enough from my study time.

 

At the Beautiful Fearless Conference, I attended the breakout session on studying the Word. From that session, I learned about and began doing an online bible study app called First5. Every day I read a chapter in the Bible, right now the book of Judges, and then read a short discussion on it.

 

For the first time, I feel I am getting the entire story instead of bits and pieces like I had before. One of my favorite parts is the comment section. What I realize is these women are just like me. They sometimes fail and they are often unsure of what God is saying to them.  Like mine, their lives aren’t always easy just because they’re a Christian. We are all on a faith journey, asking God for big changes and taking the small steps to get to where he wants us to go.

 

I believe that God is with us through this journey, as He was with the Israelites, and no problem is too big or too small for God. If it’s Gods will, He will assure that it happens. I want to do all I can to know and be obedient to His will.

 

So, even though the chair in my open family room is comfortable, and the study engaging, distractions are a problem. My mind wanders to what color I want to paint the walls or that I should get something out for dinner or my husband wants to chat. I decided to take my study to the guest bedroom where I have a desk.

 

When my son came at Christmas and we moved the desk under the window to fit the crib for my granddaughter and it stayed there. Now, sitting at my desk, with a view of my garden, the one I had dedicated to God, it suddenly felt right.

 

Big Changes Start with Small StepsLittle changes, faithfulness to God’s will and perseverance, all combined to allow God to fix my little Bible study problem, just like that. God knows our needs even when we don’t and I believe He worked it out so I could see the solution. He knew what it would take to get me where I needed to go.

For three weeks now, every morning, I have a time, a place, and a fresh cup of coffee. Most importantly I have the presence of God. Ladies, when you love God and are striving to do His will, He will ensure that everything will eventually work together to achieve it.

by Stephanie Haile

 

Oh no! My 7 year-old received another “N” on his paper. My older son gasped when he saw it. We have never seen such grades in the Haile house before. My mind starts racing… should we get him a tutor, test him for special needs, change his school, change his teacher, change his discipline, punish him? The list continues until my imagination takes over and I see him sitting in a juvenile court blaming his mother for not getting that tutor he needed.

 

Unfortunately, the crazy doesn’t end there folks. The next couple of weeks I observed that my son was not eating his lunch and would come home and gobble down treats all afternoon. He was grumpy and peeing a lot. My mind was made up. “My little fella had diabetes”, I thought. (My dad has juvenile diabetes, so I guess it’s not too far of a stretch).

 

Well, before I know it, I have him at the doctor and he is sitting on the sanitary paper with a needle in his arm and a pee test and finger prick under his belt. Poor fella. I get a call a couple days later, and it’s all negative. What! I was sure he had a real problem. This kid is grumpy, moody and steals candy from the drawer like a mad man. Nope, it was just a phase.

 

It's Just a PhaseIsn’t that life? One problem goes and another comes like clockwork. We conquer a mountain, then we trip over an ant hill. We worry until God fixes it, then we worry about the next thing. It never ends.

 

The other day I was reading Ecclesiastes 3 and saw how King Solomon spoke about the phases of life. Seasons came and went back then, just as they do now. People have always had a choice to trust God or not. Of course, back in Bible times they did not have as many resources. When a problem came, they could not send little Obadiah to the local tutoring school to get his writing grade up, but they could trust God back then, just as we can today.

 

I really did not know what to do to help my 2nd grader succeed, so instead of relying on all the resources out there, I first prayed and asked for God to give me wisdom and help my little “Obadiah”. I had to choose not to worry and remind myself that seasons come and go, but God is constant. He wants to help me with the big mountains and the little ant hills in life. All I have to do is choose to ask for help and trust he will do it.

 

By the way, yesterday I opened my sons backpack to find a paper with a big “S” on it (for those of you who don’t know, that’s a good thing). Also, he has been eating like a horse. I guess I freaked out for nothing.

 

Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.”
Ecclesiastes 3:11

By Robin Walls

 

 

Something that always amazes me is how God knows me so personally.   He knows what I need and when I need it and He delivers it in just the way that I need to hear it.  He knows me.

 

I’ll give you an example… A few months ago, at church, it was the beginning of new series.  I was feeling emotional since I had been supporting a close family member who had been dealing with a difficult health issue and I had been letting fear rule me in regards to his condition. I was exhausted and felt weak and broken down by this fear.

 

I was sitting in the sanctuary between two friends waiting for the sermon to begin.  The worship band started and to my surprise, the very first song had the words “no fear” in the lyrics.   I chuckled and said to myself “I hear you, Lord.” I love when He sends me a little bit of love like that.

 

The band played a few more songs and then we were told that we could sit down.  As I sat down, I grabbed the bulletin and the enclosed papers off my seat.  As I glanced at the bulletin, I saw the title of the new series…. “Why Are You Afraid?”  Are you kidding me? God was speaking to me, to my heart.  As I’ve felt so many other times at Grace, I felt like this message was clearly just for me.

 

He Knows MeAs the sermon started, I glanced at the cards that were with my bulletin and noticed a beautiful purple card with the following words: YOU DROWNED MY FEARS IN PERFECT LOVE.  What?!  Everyone must have gotten this with their bulletins, right? I asked my friend on my left if she’d gotten one of these cards on her seat. She said no and started looking around to see if she had in fact gotten one.  I turned to my friend on my right and asked her if she had one in her seat.  She said no.  I was stunned.  I turned my attention to the stage but for a few minutes, all I could think about was how that card had gotten on my seat.

 

Then it hit me.  I realized it didn’t matter how it had gotten to me, only that it had.  God had used someone and something to get His message to me, the exact message I needed to hear.  And our God, the Almighty King of Kings, knows ME so well and knows how stubborn and hard headed I am that he delivered that message not once, not twice but THREE times in just a few minutes.

 

He says it clearly in Isaiah 41:10:

 

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

 

I found out later that my friend to the right had printed up a bunch of cards with encouraging sayings to leave in the bedrooms of her teenagers and she had placed one on my seat. Here’s the thing though…she had printed up several, not just about fear but all kinds of different sayings and that is the one that ended up on my seat.  God used her to bless me that day and I’m grateful.

 

I’m grateful that in this big world full of so many people who love and worship Him, our big God finds ways to let me know how personal our relationship is and that He loves me.