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Monday, December 30, 2013

2013 is almost over, and I rejoice that I can put a painful year to rest with the message of Hope that God is working in my life.

Many of you know each year in December God focuses my heart in prayer on a word or phrase for the coming year. My word for 2012 was Family. That was the year my husband left us.

I learned that year what family really is and what the love of children, the love of my parents and siblings, and the love of my Christian family can do.

It can save a heart and pray hope from a flicker into a flame.

My word for 2013 was Faith. And my faith has been stretched and broken and rebuilt throughout an agonizing twelve months of heartbreak.

But faithful.

A bruised reed He won't break. Instead He picks up His bruised and battered little ones and surrounds them with friends who hold them up and believe God for them when they feel like faith is impossible.

In addition to friends and provision and victory, God also stirred in my heart a renewed calling. Many times in the last two years I've felt useless, like the circumstances of my life that were out of my control had stolen any place I could find to serve.

But God...had a plan.

Every tear He captured in His bottle, every pain He held me through, even when I tried to push Him away. He is faithful.

I haven't written much more than lesson plans for my classes for well over a year. I've wanted to, but exhaustion and pain have a way of deadening creativity.

But God...had a purpose for it all.

God was pouring in lessons and prayers and smiles through the tears all along. Then a few weeks ago I sat down and began typing out a book idea. In fifteen minutes, I'd outlined an idea that made my heart sing again. I talked it over with my agent and got the green light to begin a project like nothing I've ever done.

So get ready because you all are a huge part of this project of prayer!

My phrase for 2014 is praying dangerously to the God of the impossible.

I long for 2014 to be a year where we see God do amazing things because we are joining Him in praying for impossible things for all who need the God of the impossible to work in their lives.

Remember... Prayer isn't what you do when you can't do anything else. Prayer is the work.

So let's begin our journey together in 2014 through prayer. The God of the impossible and the God of immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine is inviting us.

1 Thessalonians 5:17  Never stop praying.

John 6:29 Jesus told them, "This is the only work God wants from you: Believe in the One He has sent."

Ephesians 3:20 Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory...

Let's pray and believe in Him and see Him do what only He can do!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Looking Ahead

I'm dusting off my good old blog here and hoping there are still some folks out there listening...

Life in 2012 was hard. There were amazing days, but also very dark, painful days. My word for 2012 was FAMILY. I had hoped and prayed that meant healing of my marriage and my home.

To God, apparently, it meant the opposite of what I prayed. In March, I found out my husband had lied to me about so much of our life together it seemed as if it was all a lie. In fact, it was. He moved out in May and has never looked back, intending to file for divorce.

But what the enemy has meant for evil and destruction, God has used for good. My home is now filled with peace instead of the turmoil addiction brings. My children and I are healing. And there is hope.

Is it still hard? Absolutely. There are tears and wishes for the healing we had all hoped would happen.

But we have learned that even when life is unfair and wrong and painful, God is still very, very good. He loves us with a love no human love can match.

And we have a promise that life here is not what it's all about. We have a forever home in Heaven and that’s where we fix our eyes~ on Jesus, who is preparing a glorious place for us where we will see Him face to face forever.

Even the good in life here pales in comparison.

Our light and momentary troubles are creating for us and in us something far greater than we can imagine. They are growing us up in Christ and showing us that faith is the only way to live.

FAITH is my word for 2013. I really didn't want a new word for the year since the last words have been painful in their being lived out in my life.

But starting with the gift of a beach trip for my children and me over the holidays, we've begun to see that to have faith in God is to hope, to see Him do more than we can ask or imagine.

One clear picture from our trip stands out as a symbol I hold onto for this year. It started at Christmas when my precious kiddos gave me this gorgeous charm bracelet. On it were seven charms~ three depicting my special names for my children, one with three keys because they hold the keys to my heart, a wolf, a globe for missions, and a dolphin.

Now, I love dolphins and we have always enjoyed seeing them when we're at the beach, but they aren't really a favorite animal I'd put on a charm bracelet.

While we were in Daytona Beach, we saw sting rays and tons of birds, but no dolphins. On January 3rd, the day before we were headed home, the four of us were sitting on my bed praying and looking out over the ocean.

I'd just started praying about the stories of faith I'd read in the Bible that morning: Abraham, Hannah, Jehoshaphat, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and how these men and women walked in faith and not fear and God delivered them.

I happened to glance out to the ocean as I prayed and was stopped mid-sentence.

There were dolphins!

A whole pod of them, dancing and leaping in the waves. We just watched and smiled.

Then I realized why God had my oldest include a dolphin charm on my bracelet~ to remind me that to walk in faith is victory. Joyful, hopeful, dancing victory.

We are still walking in the valley of the shadow of death. But as Psalm 23 says, we have nothing to fear because God is close beside us.

With his dancing, leaping, joyful victory in store for us.

And the picture of His beautiful dolphins to remind us to walk in faith with a joy that can only come from Him.

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