How did we get into April? I am loving the lilacs, lawn mower sounds, and general themes of new life and beginnings. If nothing else happens in April, I was giddy to be over March. That was a tough month full of adversity and challenges.
What made things extra hard was that they were not my challenges. Both our kids were facing things that left them hurting and asking God why. I’ve faced prayer times that I thought were difficult, but seeing their pain nearly broke me.
One night we grieved and prayed together. We asked God tough questions and requested wisdom, discernment, and direction.
Not everything has changed, but here are three things God whispered to my heart to prepare for and to apply to the challenges.
- Close the current door with grace. We had an opportunity that we knew wasn’t working. It was time to leave, but feelings were raw and the true defeated one was trying to leave us in a quake of anxiety and depression. It would be easy and tempting to walk away angry and bitter. God’s whisper was to close the door with grace. More than that, the same manner we close one door is the exact way we open the next. We definitely wanted to act wisely.
- Use your voice. It doesn’t seem like a big deal, but “praying in your head” doesn’t have the power that praying out loud does. I don’t think God is looking for us to stand in the middle of a park and start talking in King James Bible translation, but when we use our voice and pray, heaven moves and hell quakes. I’ve seen it. As I prayed with the kids, that phrase kept coming back. They needed to push back fears and bring down heaven’s promises to earth with declaration. That takes a voice, and in their hard times, I believe God is developing a powerful voice to speak on His behalf.
- Hands off. They are toddler rules, but I need to hear them. It is my personality to run way ahead of God, turn around, and ask Him how I’m doing. I call it living, “Sarah, Plan B,” and it is not a lifestyle you want to emulate. Sarah ended up with an “Ishmael” of a problem. I hate seeing the kids hurt, but I’ve been around long enough in faith to know that what’s happening is a refining fire. He’s taking everything that isn’t going to work in serving Him and melting it away through affliction. What’s left is pure Him. In their hard times I’m seeing a new level of faith from them. They are pressing in, going to Him and not giving up. I can’t orchestrate that or manipulate it. I’m not going to lie, being an observer of the process was one of the hardest things I’ve come up against as a parent.
I believe with this season and God’s whispers, the kids will look back and credit the time as a spiritual marker—a time they mark as when God changed everything.
Have you gone through a searing time of adversity where God whispered to you?
FINDING FREEDOM THROUGH SURRENDER-A 30 Day Devotional features the characters and issues from ENTRUSTED, ENTANGLED, and ENGAGED to encourage you as you let go of fear, loss, change, regret and dreams. I also share my own stories where I was broken and in need of surrender. If you’ve read my contemporary romance series, you’ll be familiar with the characters and inspired. If you’re new to my writing, the devotionals will introduce you to characters and situations you can relate to. Purchase HERE.
I’ve never bragged about being the brightest crayon in the box.
Sometimes it takes me a few times to get a lesson through my head.
Like when I kept going to the same store.
What’s wrong with visiting the same establishment?
Unless it closed down.
It wasn’t a store in my neighborhood, and the first time it was on my way back from a birthday party. I parked, saw signs in the storefront and the appearance that it was open, but upon pulling on the doors to no avail, saw the thin layer of dust.
That store hadn’t been open in quite some time.
You’d think I’d keep that little fact in my head.
But nope, I went back.
This time I debated with myself.
Was this open, or not? It looks open. Same signs and posters in the lobby. Some traffic in the lot (which were vendors using the corner of the lot and their customers.)
So off I went, and no matter how hard I tried, those doors weren’t going to open. The dust was thicker and this time I got it.
No matter how many times and no matter how many ways, I wasn’t going to get those doors to open.
You know what? I’m like that with God.
There have been situations in my life He has given a resounding no and I just can’t get that answer through my brain. So I leave the car, walk to the storefront and pull on the doors like crazy. And they never open.
There have been times when I not only pull on the door, I bust it down.
And you know what I find?
God’s not going to be in my disobedience, and that’s a pretty lonely feeling.
If there is something you’ve been praying about and it has been obstacle after obstacle and deep down you know that door closed, back away. Return to your car and look for a store that’s open. There you’ll find bright colors, lots of choices, peace, and fulfillment.
May you find open stores, and doors!
photobucket image is random, not a closed store that I’m aware of.